Witness at the sales

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A yellow taxi drops off a could-be buyer. Leslie Deckard scans the Internet. One man crosses his leg and peruses his catalogue in the top row.

Calisto, the big gray horse on the wall, hovers exactly where we last saw him. Tire kickers sample the art along the balcony. The boys in valet parking fiddle with their white shirts and practice golf swings.

Alex Matz and the Clancy Boys, all adorned in free hats hustled from consignors, settle into three seats – thinking someday, someday.

Three ladies, dressed for the Oscars, stride to the bar. A couple of tourists cup their hands to the glass windows looking for the buzz. Fasig-Tipton July is analyzed and compared to Saratoga 2008.

Audio check – one, two . . . one-two-three.

Four spotters climb out of a white Chevrolet and slide dinner jackets over their shoulders. Peter O’Callaghan paces. Tommy Eastham and Mark Toothaker lounge in two chairs, watching the traffic. Mark Reid Jr. hopes he betters his 3-for-4 from the night before. Tracy Farmer arrives.

Jackson Morris thinks about the “bank payment,” a colt who could make the difference. The Bluewater Sales ice-cream cart gets dusted.

Another rake goes over another patch of stonedust. Oliver Brown gazes over five red-clad Eaton grooms primping two fillies. Seth Benzel takes one last look at a sleek bay filly at Denali. Taylor Made’s crew of ants build their kingdom, all talking about a Smarty Jones colt, who is all that. Elizabeth Voss talks about her dad.

A big black Clydesdale pulling a carriage strolls down Madison Avenue. Gene Stevens beeps his horn at pedestrians – not sure if it’s to get out of the way or to say look at me – and then slides to a stop with the driver-side door open. Barbara Livingston shows up in a dress.

Hip 31, the $1.2 million colt, has already left his base at Hunter Valley’s consignment. Spring Street delivers four pizzas to Paramount Sales.

The 2008 Fasig-Tipton grounds crew – legends in the making – pose for a photograph. Reiley McDonald strides to the Fasig-Tipton offices for final tweaks. Michael Hernon, Bayne Welker, Brian Graves, Jonathan Thorne begin the mamba line to the office. Consignors on a mission.

Tom Goff looks around and wonders where everybody went from the first night. The first barflies meet the bartender. A novice reporter looks for a spotter, any spotter.

Kiaran and Erin McLaughlin settle into two seats. Live Oak Stud takes its place two rows from the back. Dr. Carr checks his watch. Dan Pride leads three navy-blazered boys into the pavilion. Arthur Hancock checks for his name on the seats and instinctly pedals through his catalogue – another sale, another catalogue.

Tim Kelly readies his sales sheet. Press row fills up with laptops and writers. Jack Brothers takes an aisle seat. A paper rack’s supply dwindles. Walt Robertson walks through the crowd in his tuxedo – about to be game time.

Spotters take their marks. At 7:09, Terence Collier mans his post on the podium, “Good evening ladies and gentlemen, begin to take your seats, the sale will . . . ”

Collier pages Nick Zito, Robert LaPenta and Starlight Stable and Robertson hands off magnums of champagne to the people who made the right bids on Da’ Tara, Commentator, Monba.

Riley Mott clutches his clipboard. The Fasig-Tipton boys – Bill Graves, Max Hodge, Dennis Lynch and Peter Penny – carve another notch into their section in the balcony. Mike and Britt Mulligan, active the first night, tie in for another battle.

John Stuart, in his stable pink, slides into the top tier. Eddie Woods, his mind on the next Big Brown, chews gum and waits.

Hip 99, a chestnut filly with some specs of flaxen in her mane, strolls into the ring. Off and running. She gets hammered down at $140,000.

Jay Rogers, “a new guy,” buys the first real horse, Hip 100. Legends Racing goes again, hits Hip 101 for $325,000. Then a big one, $750,000 for Hip 102, a colt by Mr. Greeley goes to Whitehorse Stables.

For another night, the games have begun . . .