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ELiTE Sales’ Season Map Leads to More Keeneland Success

By Claire Crosby

BloodHorse, January 8, 2018

Liz Crow and Bradley Weisbord of ELiTE Sales didn’t have decades of experience to fall back on when they planned their initial foray into the commercial marketplace last year, but they did have drive, dedication, and a strategic plan that continues to pay off as the fledgling consignment forges ahead into a new season.

At the Keeneland January horses of all ages sale Jan. 8, ELiTE ended the opening session with a $283,333 average—the leading consignor in that category (minimum three offered), including $350,000 Majestic Quality and $300,000 Lady Fog Horn, both purchased by Shadai Farm.

“I’ve been studying the market for 10 years, not 100. I’m not the oldest guy in the room, but we try to pay really close attention,” Weisbord said.

“When we made our map for this (first) year, we wanted to hit July with a ton of racehorses, we wanted to hit November with horses that could carry over form, and we wanted to hit January with good physicals that were probably going to get overlooked in November. And both Lady Fog Horn and Majestic Quality had that.”

Multiple graded stakes-placed Majestic Quality led the early action Monday until Steve Young’s $485,000 purchase of Bellavais took over in the afternoon.

Consigned as Hip 127 by ELiTE Sales, Majestic Quality—a 4-year-old Quality Road  racing or broodmare prospect out of the Lost Solider mare She Nuit All, from the family of grade 1 winner Octave—was scratched from the Keeneland November sale in order to stand out in the January market.

A few hips earlier, Shadai also went to $300,000 to take home two-time Indiana Horse of the Year Lady Fog Horn, consigned as Hip 102, with farm veterinarian Yuki Shimomura signing the ticket for both during Monday’s opening session of the winter mixed sale.

“I liked them before, I like them a lot more now,” joked Weisbord in regard to Shadai buying two horses from his consignment.

Majestic Quality raced for Big Chief Racing, Rocker O Ranch, and trainer Keith Desormeaux. In addition to breaking her maiden, she was second in the Rachel Alexandra Stakes (G2), third in the Summertime Oaks (G2), and third in the Indiana Oaks (G3). Bred in Kentucky by C. Kidder and N. Cole, she was a $40,000 purchase by Big Chief Racing from Gainesway’s consignment to the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale.

“Keith Desormeaux buys as many good and good-looking horses as anybody under $100,000,” Weisbord said. “This is one of his success stories. He got her to be grade 2-placed. Unfortunately she had a little hiccup over the summer, but they got rewarded (here). The market’s very strong. I thought the mare was very well-positioned here. She got a chance to shine.”

Lady Fog Horn was another who fit in well at the January sale. Consigned as Hip 106, the 6-year-old daughter of Zavata earned $824,273 and ran to a 14-4-4 record from 26 starts. Among her wins were seven stakes, including the Falls City Handicap (G2) at Churchill Downs. The Elkstone Group homebred is out of the stakes-placed Northern Spur mare Titia.

“(The price was) a little bit on the higher end of what we thought she would bring, considering the stallion and the age,” Weisbord said. “We had a reserve just over $200,000. It’s very important, especially for a young sales company like ourselves, to have like-minded sellers that want to sell their horses. They came with a realistic reserve and she was a gorgeous physical … she was a total runner—dirt and turf.”

ELiTE’s other offering was the Florida-bred Speightstown  filly Discovery Bay, a 4-year-old out of multiple graded stakes winner Harmony Lodge. Gainesway picked up the filly, consigned as Hip 9, for $65,000.

“Loyal supporters, sharp buyers—physicals sell, (plus) runners that had the page,” Weisbord summarized. “The buyers are happy, the sellers are happy, the sales company is happy, I’m happy … let’s go home.”