Sweet! That's what Steve Stewart of Hunterton Sales Agency—the sponsor of Backstretch With Gordon—told me told me last night after Hip 2 sold at the opening session of the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale at Fasig-Tipton.
As soon as I arrived, sales manager David Reid came up and said, "What's up ‘Backstretch?'” I moved over to where Steve and Cindy Stewart were watching the bidding on the Muscle Hill filly that was the second sold go higher and higher, finally stopping at $260,000. A group from Diamond Ridge Farm in Indiana, where the filly was raised, came right over and shook hands with Steve. "When's the last time #2 went for $260,000?” Steve asked me with a big smile.
Although I made some rounds around the ring, I was back near Steve and Cindy when Hip 49, a full brother to 2010 Horse of the Year Rock N Roll Heaven and recent Bobby Quillen Memorial winner Clear Vision, sold for $100,000. It got even better for the Stewarts a few horses later when a Lucky Chucky colt who is a half brother to Hambletonian winner Muscle Massive sold for $450,000 to brothers John and Tom Cancelliere. It was while the Stewarts were watching the bid board on Mr. Lucky Luke that I snapped today's photo.
I did plenty of walking and talking last night. I saw Brent MacGrath, of Somebeachsomewhere fame, and his wife, Rhonda. Trainer Tony Alagna came by so he and Brent talked a few minutes about Captaintreacherous, a son of SBSW. I was standing near the ring and realized I was next to Greg Wright, so he and I talked about the Pirates-Reds game that was being played last night (won by the Pirates, so they advance). I saw Bernie Noren standing with Ake Svandstedt, the Swede who is moving to the U.S., so I asked if I could take a picture, and they obliged. Curtis Larrimore, a co-owner of Snow White, came over to say hello and we talked about Snow White's world record getting toppled this year. Curtis told me he had just come from dinner with Brian Sears at Malone's and actor William Shatner--who lives in the area--was next to them.
I also was fascinated by all the bidding on the sale topper, a Brittany Farms-bred full brother to Pastor Stephen and Father Patrick, who went for $475,000 to trainer Jimmy Takter.
I saw Jimmy this morning at The Red Mile and he told me he was prepared to go even higher to get the colt. Jimmy said he bought nine last night, which included "a lot of pacers.” I saw Jimmy's associate Perry Soderberg a few minutes after I left the barn and asked if his hand was tired with all the bidding last night, and he smiled and said it was Jimmy's head that was probably hurting since he was doing the bidding by nodding.
Although it seemed quiet when I first made it to the backstretch, things quickly picked up. There were a couple of big groups of Scandinavians walking around. The Canadian Sportsman's Dave Briggs and Dave Landry were wandering about, so I stopped and chatted with them for a few. Julie Nash, who along with her husband Cotton, sister-in-law Francene, and the Stewarts, owned the abovementioned Artistic Vision, came by and told me she had just come back from the Burke barn as she wanted to get her picture taken with Clear Vision, who she hadn't seen since the colt was a baby. She said the Burkes were more than gracious in taking Clear Vision out of his stall for her.
I stopped by Chuck Sylvester's barn to ask if he had made any bids on the $450,000 Lucky Chucky colt as he trained Lucky Chucky. He said he had some early interest, but never made a bid.
A few people I saw this morning asked about the weather. It was cloudy this morning and now they are calling for thunderstorms the next couple of afternoons. I guess when it's October and it's still above 80 degrees and humid, that's what you get. Right now it's supposed to be 85 here on Saturday. And while earlier the predicted Sunday high was 67, it's now been raised to 74, although rain is again in the forecast.
One thing I better mention is some roadwork being done on Red Mile Road. Track president Joe Costa told me the city never informed him of the milling and paving of the road, which had traffic backed up into one lane. I tried to get out on Red Mile Road when leaving but when I saw the jam-up, I turned around and weaved my way through the new apartments that sit on the former site of Tattersalls and came out on Broadway. Not sure if the work will be done by tomorrow, but I'm certainly hoping by Friday as it could get dicey out there for the afternoon race cards.
And I appreciate all the emails telling me about gas prices where you live. But here in Lexington this morning it was $3.19 and $3.24 at the stations nearest The Red Mile.