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STANDARDBRED HORSE SALE OPENS WITH BIG DAY

-- Ken Weingartner/Harness Racing Communications/USTA

HARRISBURG, PA -- November 8, 2016 -- Led by trotting sire Muscle Hill and pacing sire Somebeachsomewhere, the Standardbred Horse Sale enjoyed one of its strongest opening days in recent memory --- if not ever --- on Monday at the Pennsylvania State Farm Show Complex.

A total of 170 horses sold for an average of $78,676, providing the sale with a 41-percent increase compared to last year. Muscle Hill-sired colt Story Time Hanover was the day’s highest priced yearling, going for $410,000 to Sweden’s Melby Gard AB, with Jimmy Takter as agent.

Muscle Hill had the four-highest priced yearlings on Monday, including $400,000-selling colt Hey Jock to Montreal-based Determination stable, while Somebeachsomewhere led the pacing side and had four yearlings in the top nine. Colt Dramatic Point, purchased for $260,000 by Toronto’s Scott Horner, was the top pacer.

For the day, 18 Muscle Hill-sired yearlings sold for an average of $168,833 while 39 Somebeachsomewhere-sired yearlings sold for an average of $88,538.

A total of 40 yearlings sold for at least $100,000, an increase of 48 percent compared to last year despite 88 fewer horses passing through the auction ring this year.

Standardbred Horse Sales Company Chairman Russell Williams said he could not remember the sale ever having a better day in terms of average sale.

“It was a great day,” Williams said. “Hip No. 1 (Cantab Hall-sired filly Pulse Hanover) started at $150,000 and it just went on from there.

“The auctioneers shouldn’t get paid for today because they hardly had to work,” he joked.

Williams said the sales company was optimistic for a strong sale following the success of sales elsewhere, including a record-setting Lexington Selected Yearling Sale in October.

“We were fairly confident,” Williams said. “It turned out better than we hoped. The confidence came from the quality of the catalogue and from the strong sales that everyone else has been having. They always go together.”

Last year’s opening day in Harrisburg saw 258 sold for an average of $55,781 and was hampered by a Pennsylvania budget impasse that threatened to halt racing in the state. The sale’s first day saw an 8.49 percent drop in average sale compared to 2014.

“Not having the governor threatening to end racing in Pennsylvania gave us a big advantage this year,” Williams said. “We appreciated that. We’re grateful to be overlooked this time.”

This year’s sale also saw fewer yearlings auctioned on the first day.

“We wanted to create momentum the first day,” Williams said. “You always arrange your yearlings to best advantage, but by having a little bit less today we hoped to have more sizzle and momentum going forward.”

Story Time Hanover is out of the mare Shared Past, who was the New Jersey Sire Stakes champion in 2013. The family also includes millionaire Dejarmbro and stakes-winners Armbro Vanquish and Manofmanymissions. Takter trained Armbro Vanquish.

“Jimmy loved Armbro Vanquish,” said Perry Soderberg, who handled the bidding on Story Time Hanover. “(Story Time Hanover) was the right size. He was the right type of Muscle Hill and has a great pedigree. He was probably the most complete horse in the sale among the trotting colts; conformation, the way he moved in the paddock, and the pedigree. He had a little bit of everything for sure.

“There are just a few of these type horses in the sale and this is the one we thought was the best.”

Soderberg also was the agent for buying Muscle Hill-sired colt You Know You Do, out of the 2012 New York Sire Stakes champion You Want Me, for $350,000. The price was the day’s third highest. You Know You Do’s family includes Peace A Pie, the dam of Dan Patch Award winner Pizza Dolce.

“He’s got the size and the power,” Soderberg said about You Know You Do, who will be trained by Takter for a to-be-determined ownership group. “I saw him at (consignor) Peninsula Farm and he really had that punch that I’m looking for in the paddock.

“The two top trotting colts in my opinion were (Story Time Hanover) and this one. We’re very happy.”

Hey Jock, the day’s second-highest priced yearling, is out of the mare Sugar Wheeler. His family includes Dan Patch Award winner Wheeling N Dealin and stakes-winner Quick Credit.

“He is a very nice horse, that’s why we would buy him,” said Luc Blais, who will train the colt for Serge Godin’s Determination stable. Godin also owned Wheeling N Dealin. “For sure he liked that pedigree. Yeah, it’s pressure (to buy a horse for that price) but I like challenges. That’s a good challenge.”

Dramatic Point, the top-selling pacer, is out of the stakes-winning mare Heather’s Western, and is a half-brother to this year’s North America Cup and Little Brown Jug winner Betting Line.

“He looks like a really nice horse,” Horner said. “And the pedigree, it’s not only Betting Line. To be frank, the chance of getting another Betting Line are slim and none. That’s not why we bought him. We bought him to buy a nice horse. And we liked the back pedigree on (Somebeachsomewhere).”

Owner Jeff Snyder came away with two of the Top 10 sellers on Monday, Muscle Hill-sired colt Abs Hanover for $245,000 and Somebeachsomewhere-sired colt Thomas B Hanover for $230,000.

Abs Hanover is out of the mare Are You Ready and the family includes stakes-winner Blenheim, Hambletonian Oaks winner Personal Style and Dan Patch Award winner Almost An Angel.

Thomas B Hanover is out of the mare Trim Hanover and is a half-brother to Dan Patch Award winner American Jewel and stakes-winners Luck Be Withyou and Source Of Pride. Snyder co-owns full-sister Tori Hanover, who last month won a Breeders Crown elimination.

“I loved the pedigree,” Snyder said about Thomas B Hanover. “I thought he was the best Somebeachsomewhere in the sale. (Trim Hanover) has already produced two million-dollar winners. What’s not to like? He’s by the hottest sire in harness racing.”

The sale resumes Tuesday at 10 a.m. and will look to pick up where it left off. Trotting colts (33 sold) went for an average of $98,424 while trotting fillies (44) went for an average of $84,545. Pacing colts (57) sold for an average of $74,719 and pacing fillies (36) for an average of $59,667.

“All the sires in today’s sale have something to be happy about in the stats,” Williams said. “I don’t see a pattern of pacers versus trotters, colts versus fillies; what was on the page people were buying. It was a great day. That momentum, we hope, will carry on through Tuesday and beyond.”

More information on the sale may be found at www.theblackbook.com.

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