AUGUST = $ARATOGA

People still go to Saratoga to spend money. They go for other reasons too, but thankfully for the horse biz “spending” remains a popular past time. Last night at the Fasig-Tipton sale, 76 yearlings brought in $19,867,000 for an average of $261,408 each. The gross was up and the average down, but the session offered and sold 16 more horses that at last year’s opening round. The night’s topper was a $1.05 million colt by Unbridled’s Song out of champion Riboletta.

Sunday night was an entirely different animal when the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation presented The Flavors of Bobby Flay. While it may simply be impossible to ultimately retire every racehorse to a TRF or other rescue facility, the TRF folks are giving it their best, raising $435,000 in a 20 item live auction as part of an event that grossed over $700,000. We were lucky to be the guest of Great American Insurance as the $400 ticket price would have stopped us cold, but over 400 other guests stepped right up to the plate (pun intended). The night was enhanced by cool weather that felt down right cold to Virginians just arrived from the brutally hot and parched Commonwealth.

Bob Flay prepared all the food – and it was great. There was an opulent raw bar and passed hors d’oeuvres that included tuna tostada and lamb tenderloin. The entrees were spectacular as you might expect, and general consensus from the Southerners in the crowd was that the lobster potato salad was the runaway winner.

Live auction items included Fighter Pilot for The Day (two – one for $15,000, one for $14,000), Movie Premiere and VIP Party for Rendition which stars Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhall and Meryl Streep ($7,000), The American Cinematheque Black-Tie Gala honoring Julia Roberts ($7,000) and all inclusive trip to the Dubai World Cup ($65,000).

Unfortunately, our host Ken Standlee and Great American forgot to stake us like a poker game for the live auction!