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Breeders Cup 2015

HRN Original Blog:
Toasting with Andrew Champagne

Previewing the Paddock Sale


With the beginning of Del Mar’s racing season comes another tradition, the annual Paddock Sale. This Sunday’s auction, run by the folks at Barretts, will see 39 horses of racing age parade through the sales ring, and several of these thoroughbreds are longtime stalwarts of the Southern California racing scene.

The most notable entrant in the sale is probably Handsome Mike. A two-time Breeders’ Cup participant, Handsome Mike’s last victory came in the 2013 Commonwealth Stakes at Keeneland, and the 5-year-old son of Scat Daddy is less than $30,000 shy of becoming an equine millionaire.

The auction also boasts a Grade 1 winner who could fetch a pretty penny. Heir Kitty captured the 2013 La Brea Stakes, and was most recently favored in the Grade 2 Great Lady M. Stakes at Los Alamitos. The 4-year-old daughter of Wildcat Heir has won four of 18 lifetime starts and could have plenty of races left in her before going to the breeding shed.

Another graded stakes-winner up for bids is Ciao Bella Luna, who captured the 2013 Beaumont Stakes at Keeneland. Now a 4-year-old, the daughter of Tribal Rule won a restricted stakes race earlier this year at Santa Anita and ran fifth in a pair of graded races going down the hill at the Great Race Place.

The sale also includes a number of flashy 2-year-old prospects. Topping that group is Shh She’s Ours, who broke her maiden at first asking on Independence Day at Los Al. She figured to be the second choice in the Cinderella Stakes later in that meet, but she was scratched due to her antics in the paddock. Her pedigree is exceptional (by Tiz Wonderful, out of a Forestry mare), and she showed tons of early speed in her debut victory, which saw her run a scorching opening quarter of :21 1/5.

A complete sales catalog can be seen here, complete with pedigree information, replays, and past performances. The sale will begin in the Del Mar paddock at approximately 6:30 p.m.


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Meet Andrew Champagne


A native of upstate New York and a graduate of Ithaca College, Andrew Champagne fell in love with horse racing at a very early age on summer trips to Saratoga. His turf writing credits include time spent as a sportswriter, weekly columnist, and handicapper at The Saratogian, a summer working for The Saratoga Special, and "field research" at OTB facilities in Saratoga Springs and his hometown of Kingston. He also spent two years in the athletic communications office at Siena College, and interned with NBC Olympics at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.

Andrew moved to Pasadena, Calif., in October of 2013, and now serves as an Associate Producer in HRTV's Digital Media department and Horse Racing Nation's Southern California writer. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewChampagne, and email him at andrewdchampagne@gmail.com.

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