The Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October yearling sale concluded with a record-setting flourish in Lexington. The gross, average price, and number of horses sold all reached unprecedented heights for the auction. In addition, the median price was the highest ever posted since The Blood-Horse started tracking that statistic.
“It’s been a hell of a horse sale,” said Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning Oct. 24 as the auction neared the finish line of its three-day run. “It started strong; two of the first 10 horses brought more than $100,000 (apiece), and now we’re almost 1,200 horses in and we just sold one for $350,000. There’s been strong demand throughout.”
The 880 yearlings that were sold grossed $22,991,600 and averaged $26,127. Their median was $12,750. Compared to a year ago, the number sold and gross increased 23.9% and 34.9%, respectively. The average rose 8.8% and the median grew 6.3%.
The prior marks, all established in 2011, included 710 for the number sold and $17,046,800 for the gross. The others were an average of $24,010 and a median of $12,000.
The buy-back rate fell to 19.6% this year from 19.8% last year.
While the October sale benefited from a general upswing in the Thoroughbred auction business, Browning believed that there was another important factor in the sale’s success.
“We had better horses this year and they sold very well,” he said. “The consignors brought us a better quality product, and the market certainly accepted that product and embraced that product.”
The number of yearlings selling for six-figure prices more than doubled, advancing to 47 this year from 23 in 2011. A $440,000 Speightstown – Betty's Pet colt topped the auction, selling during Oct. 23’s second session.
A sleek son of Arch was the third session’s most expensive horse, bringing $350,000 early in the evening. Ahmed Zayat’s Zayat Stables purchased the dark bay or brown yearling, which was the sale’s second-highest-priced horse. David Ingordo of Lane's End Bloodstock signed the sale ticket.
Dr. Gary Knapp’s farm, Monticule, bred the colt in Kentucky and consigned him to the Fasig-Tipton October sale. The yearling was highly regarded by Knapp and his staff, and the price he commanded was “very close” to the reserve they set, according to Monticule’s farm manager, Dominique Tijou.
“We broke a sweat, but we got it done and we’re very happy about it,” he said. “He’s very correct and has a good mind; he was easy to deal with. The boss (Knapp), he measures horses and he works with Equix (a Lexington-based consulting firm). This horse measured extremely well and he (Knapp) likes the way he looks and he likes how the pedigree comes together. It’s a family of runners.”
The colt is the second foal out of the winner High Priestess (by Mt. Livermore). She is a half sister to three added-money winners, including 2006 Stan James Horris Hill Stakes (Eng-III) winner Dijeerr (by Danzig).
Entered in this year’s Keeneland September yearling sale, the colt was scratched after being cataloged as Hip No. 2,986.
“We didn’t want to be in the back part of the Keeneland sale, which was where we were going to be. With everybody being tired, that was not going to work,” Tijou said. “We came up with the idea of just selecting for Keeneland and taking the rest of the horses to Fasig-Tipton. People are refreshed here and there are still good horses. It works out well – not always, but sometimes. It did this time.”
An Indian Charlie colt was the third session’s second-highest-priced horse at $250,000. Mark Reid of Pennsylvania-based Walnut Green signed the sale ticket, purchasing the bay yearling for Charles Zacney. The colt's new owner was the managing partner of Cash is King, the stable that raced 2005’s champion 3-year-old male, Afleet Alex. A son of Northern Afleet , Afleet Alex won the Preakness (gr. I) and Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
“He’s nice colt. He looks like a big, two-turn horse to me,” said Reid of the yearling. “That was a little more than we thought we would have to bid for him, but we’re happy. Chuck is (in racing) by himself right now. We’ve been buying two or three every sale to replenish his racing stable. He’s trying to buy some classic-type colts and this guy really fit the bill.”
Reed added that the colt probably will be trained by Tony Dutrow.
The yearling is the second live foal out of the High Yield mare Diamondsareforesta, who finished second once in two career races. His second dam is grade II winner Foresta (by Alydar). Her offspring included the winner Fordyce (by Cox's Ridge), who produced grade II winner Victory U. S. A. (by Victory Gallop).
Tony Holmes and Tom VanMeter bred the $250,000 colt in Kentucky. Woods Edge Farm consigned the yearling to the Fasig-Tipton October auction.
Last year, Walnut Hill Stables bought the colt, as a weanling, for $210,000 from VanMeter Sales, agent, at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale. He was a $170,000 buy-back when consigned by Woods Edge to this year's Keeneland September yearling auction.
During the third session, 289 horses were sold for a gross of $7,772,500. The average was $26,894 and the median was $12,000. The buy-back rate was 19.5%.