By Michael Compton
Fasig-Tipton's Florida Sale on Monday, March 25, at Palm Meadows Training Center in Boynton Beach, Fla., featured plenty of highlights throughout the one-day auction but clearly saved the best for last. Of the final four horses to sell, two brought seven figures and one other sold for just shy of the $1 million mark.
Topping the sale at $1.6 million was Hip No. 131, a Bernardini colt who was signed for by Steven Young, agent for Robert LaPenta.
"He's got a great shoulder and great alignment," said LaPenta moments after securing the bid on the strapping colt. "You can apply all of the right adjectives to this colt. I was hoping he would go for less than that. I like everything about Bernardini. I have been a fan since his first crop. This colt looks a lot like Bernardini. We expected him to be the grand finale of the sale."
Consigned by Hartley/De Renzo Thoroughbreds, agent, and bred in Kentucky by Masaichiro Abe, the colt is out of the Forestry mare Hishi Aspen from the family of grade I winner Northern Aspen. Hartley/De Renzo Thoroughbreds bought the colt as a yearling for $250,000 out of the Taylor Made Sales Agency consignment at last year's Fasig-Tipton July sale.
"He's an amazing horse," said Dean De Renzo of the colt who drilled an eighth in :10 1/5 at the breeze show. "Very few horses do everything right. This colt does everything right.
"If you bring the right horses to this sale, buyers have proven they will pay for them," De Renzo added. "Buyers come here looking for Derby-type horses and this is where they find them."
The second-highest-priced horse of the auction and top filly was Hip No. 124, a daughter of A.P. Indy out of the multiple stakes-winning Mr. Greeley mare Foxy Danseur who went to Barbara Montanye's Green Hills Farm for $1.1 million. Montanye is fond of A.P. Indy and has some experience with progeny of the stallion. Green Hills Farm owns Love and Pride, by A.P. Indy and a multiple grade I winner of nearly $1 million. Green Hills also campaigns Hightail , winner of last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint.
"The filly looks a lot like A.P. Indy and moves like Love and Pride," said Montanye, who indicated the filly will be trained by Todd Pletcher. "I would have gone even higher for her. She just glides over the track. She has a great way of moving and has great bloodlines. I am looking forward to racing her."
Consigned by Stephens Thoroughbreds, agent, the filly was purchased by Mayberry Farm from her breeder, Clearsky Farms, out of the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale. The filly turned in a co-bullet furlong in :10 at the breeze show.
Green Hills also bought Hip No. 102, an Exchange Rate colt, for $375,000. The gray/roan colt worked a co-best eighth in :10 at the breeze show and was consigned by Wavertree Stables (Ciaran Dunne), agent.
Demi O'Byrne went to $950,000 for Hip No. 130, a Bernardini colt from the Wavertree consignment. The colt failed to meet his reserve during the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale last year where he was consigned by Gainesway Farm and was bought back for $525,000. Produced from the Exploit mare Heart of Grace and from the family of millionaire Very Subtle, the colt worked an eighth in :10 3/5 at the breeze show.\
O'Byrne also went to $625,000 for Hip No. 87, a Tapit colt from the consignment of Hoby and Layna Kight, agent. Hoby Kight bought the colt for $110,000 out of the Taylor Made Sales Agency consignment at last year's Keeneland September sale. Named Turn On the Tap and out of the graded stakes-winning Roy mare Winter Garden, the colt breezed an eighth in :10 3/5 at the breeze show.
"He is by a good stallion," said O'Byrne of the only Tapit colt in the sale. "He's a nice horse and he breezed well. He should be a good one."
Nat Rea's Regis Farms bought Hip No. 19, a Smart Strike filly, for $700,000. Consigned as agent by Hartley/De Renzo Thoroughbreds, which acquired the filly for $250,000 out of the Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency consignment at last year's Keeneland September sale, the filly worked in :10 2/5 at the breeze show. She is out of the Unbridled's Song mare Music Room and is from the family of multiple grade I winner Music Note.
"I'm glad she stepped to the stage like she did," said De Renzo of the filly. "I'm glad she's going to a new owner in the business. I believe the new owners that bought out of this sale are going to be pleased with their purchases."
Solis Bloodstock and Three Chimneys Sales, agent, signed for Hip No. 93, a $650,000 Bernardini colt out of the Honor Grades mare A Precious Memory. Consigned by Sequel Bloodstock (Becky Thomas), agent, the colt, from the female family of champion Little Current, was acquired by Thomas for $200,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton August sale.
"He's a big colt and he has all the right pieces," said Alex Solis II, who said the colt was bought for an undisclosed client new to the industry. "We were looking for a Derby-type horse and he fits the bill."
John Moynihan, on behalf of Barbara Banke's Stonestreet Stables, signed for two youngsters--Hip Nos. 16 and 43. Stonestreet went to $625,000 for Hip No. 16, a Malibu Moon filly from the De Meric Sales consignment and bought Hip No. 43, a colt by Malibu Moon for $550,000 from the Classic Bloodstock (Danzel Brendemuehl) consignment.
"She's beautiful," said Moynihan of the filly who worked a co-bullet eighth in :10 at the preview. "She worked great and had been prepping beautifully down here. I really liked the way she was getting over the track."
About the colt, who also boasted a co-best furlong breeze in :10 at the preview, Moynihan added, "He looks like he could be a nice one for us next year. He has the look of a horse that should be able to go long. He's fast but he could be a real nice two-turn, 3-year-old."
Steven Young, agent, led all buyers at the sale, signing for four and spending $2,480,000.
All told, 46 head changed hands, generating gross sales of $17,725,000, a 7.8% decline on total sales of $19,215,000 from 60 head sold last year. Average price rose 20.3% to $385,326 from $320,250 a year ago. Sales results showed 32 head failed to sell in the ring this year compared to 24 in 2012. Median price increased 31.9% to $300,000 from $227,500 last year.
"I thought it was a pretty typical 2-year-olds in training sale," said Boyd Browning, Fasig-Tipton president. "Horses that worked well, had a good video, and vetted well sold extremely well.
"Horses at the upper end of the market face tremendous scrutiny," Browning added. "The ones that are able to jump through all the hoops sell well. Buyers are very selective and they continue to prove there is significant demand for quality horses.