The only real break consignors at the Fasig-Tipton Texas summer yearling sale got Tuesday were cloudy morning skies that kept temperatures from soaring into triple digits as it had done the day before. No such breaks were available inside the sale pavilion adjacent to Lone Star Park between Dallas and Fort Worth.
Gross sales fell 7% to $2,702,500, the average dropped 8.1% to $10,354, and the median slipped 10.7% to $5,000 for the two-day sale. Out of 381 offered, 261 sold or three more than last year. The buyback rate dropped slightly from 32.1% in 2001 to 31.5%.
The results were discouraging but not unexpected.
"We were hoping to be even, but we expected a modest decline and that is what we got," said Boyd Browning Jr., executive vice president and chief operating officer for Fasig-Tipton. "People are just bidding more conservatively. That can mean two or three bids per horse, which at this sale could be $15,000."
The sale-topper sold late on Tuesday. An $85,000 daughter of Tale of the Cat, out of Winthrop Arms (by Val de l'Orne), was bought by John Adger, racing and bloodstock manager for Robert and Janice McNair's Stonerside Stable.
"I liked her because she was very athletic-looking, and Tale of the Cat looks like he'll be a good 2-year-old sire," Adger said. The big bay filly will go to the McNair's farm in Kentucky first, then be shipped to their training center in South Carolina.
Highclere Farm near Lexington owned and bred the filly. Farm owner Jeffrey Morris bought Winthrop Arms for $27,000 at the 1999 Keeneland January mixed sale. He also owns Valarone, who is Winthrop Arms' only stakes winner and leading earner with more than $277,000 in purses.
"My dad was fortunate to buy the mare before the family got good, but he seems to be really good at that," said Stuart Morris, who handled the Highclere consignment. "We had a solid group of horses, still we felt she was the best we had."
The second best selling yearling of the day and session's top colt was a son of Tactical Cat, out of Actinella (by Seattle Slew), who pinhooker Mike Mulligan bought for $60,000. The colt was sold by Kathryn Earley Thoroughbreds.
Mulligan said the colt would be aimed for the Fasig-Tipton select 2-year-old in training sale at Calder Race Course.