The Fasig-Tipton July yearling sale session that just ended started slowly today under cloudy skies and rain but brightened considerably this afternoon, at least for some. It did for Greg and Beth Burchell’s Crossroads Sales Agency about an hour and a half ago when Hip 118, a Jazil colt from Spanish Cat, by Hennessy, conceived on a $12,500 stud fee in 2008, brought $210,000.
This particular colt had been a favorite among the Twitter crowd in attendance at the sale because of his handler, Stuart Dillender, who moonlights as @Stu108 on Twitter and is a lively late-night presence as a nightwatchman (that yellow-skinned disco cat is his avatar). Stu, like everyone else, was apprehensive yesterday, but he’d told me via Twitter that they were quietly confident. “Nice individual, right people in the hunt, fingers crossed, reminds me a little of STG [Seeking the Gold, sire of Jazil], who we had for a Keeneland 2yo summer,” tweeted Stu, who runs horses for the Phipps stable at Keeneland and was the first to alert me to the Phipps colt Parading, who retired this year to Claiborne. (I would end up breeding my lone mare to Parading on Stu’s recommendation.)
Stu went to high school with Greg Burchell, a Monty Roberts disciple who with his wife had done time at Taylor Made and Adena Springs, and said that the Burchells have a close relationship with Taylor Made but have scaled back somewhat and are “waiting for the upturn.” That happened today because the Burchells are co-breeders of the Jazil colt with Don Amos, who had purchased the dam as a yearling for $230,000 in 2001.
The Crossroads yearling also got the sire, Jazil, off the mark nicely as a sales sire. It was once the kiss of death for a sales stallion to have the Belmont Stakes at 12 furlongs on his resume, but recent Belmont Stakes winners and successful sires Birdstone, Empire Maker, Lemon Drop Kid, and the surging Afleet Alex have muted that blight. Plus, Jazil, who won the Belmont in 2006, is not just any Belmont winner; he’s out of the fabulous Deputy Minister producer Better Than Honour, who also dropped the 2007 filly Belmont winner Rags to Riches. She defeated none other than Curlin in an epic, too.
Jazil is a small colt with a huge pedigree. Aside from his dam, his third dam is the Blue Hen Best in Show, whose descendents include the very best of stud books the world over. His sire is Seeking the Gold, whose sire line is thriving in Europe these days through Dubawi—at this point an exceptional young stallion with his first crop only 3.