Fasig-Tipton offered two 2010 Breeders’ Cup winners and the dam of another along with numerous other attractive prospects with and without Breeders' Cup connections. But they didn’t bring in enough money during the Kentucky November select mixed sale to boost three important key business figures above last year’s numbers.
The gross revenue suffered the least damage Nov. 7 in Lexington, declining 3.1%. The average price fell 12.9% while the median price dropped 23.5%.
“This is still a struggling economy that we’re in, and it applies to everybody,” said Fasig-Tipton chairman and senior auctioneer Walt Robertson, who announced earlier this fall that he would retire from the company following the auction. “I don’t think that you can go back comparing three or five years ago to today without taking a hard look at every other industry that is trying to sell luxury items right now. It’s not easy.”
The 89 horses that sold grossed $27,996,500 and averaged $314,567. The median price was $130,000. Last year, when 80 horses were sold, the gross was $28,905,000. The average was $361,313 and the median was $170,000.
The buy-back rate was 33.1%, up from 27.9% in 2009.
Nine horses brought seven-figure prices. The top seller was Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) winner Awesome Feather, who commanded a final bid of $2.3 million after triumphing at Churchill Downs Nov. 5. Multiple Eclipse Award-winning breeder and owner Frank Stronach purchased the undefeated bay 2-year-old in the name of Adena Springs and plans to continue to race her.
“I just hope she carries on,” said Stronach, who described Awesome Feather’s 2 1/4-length Breeders’ Cup win as “pretty impressive.”
A daughter of Awesome of Course out of the stakes-winning Gone West mare Precious Feather, Awesome Feather has won four other added-money events in her six-race career. Running at Calder Casino & Race Course, she captured the J J’sdream Stakes and swept the three-races in the filly division of the Florida Stallion Stakes -- the Desert Vixen, Susan’s Girl, and My Dear Girl.
“She looked so nice; she has a good disposition; she was very calm,” Stronach said. “Her record speaks for itself.”
Hidden Brook consigned Awesome Feather to the Fasig-Tipton auction for her breeder, Fred and Jane Brei’s Florida-based Jacks Or Better Farm.
“She’s a tremendous filly and I’m glad she’s staying in our country,” Fred Brei said. “What else can I say? Frank will get her where she needs to go.”
“We don’t race much out of Florida,” Brei continued, “and when it comes to going up North, where certainly she belongs in the grade Is that will be coming up when she’s a 3-year-old, it’s just best for the filly and best for us that she’s in somebody else’s hands.”
Awesome Feather, while being trained by Stanley Gold, earned $1,495,746. The Eclipse Award for outstanding 2-year-old filly is probably in her future. She is a half sister to the winner Brooks ’n Down (by Montbrook), who finished second in the 2008 Naked Greed Stakes at Calder and third in the 2009 Oak Hall Stakes at Evangeline Downs.
“It (the price) is never enough,” Brei said, “but it was enough to make me smile. It wasn’t much over the reserve. I probably wouldn’t have let her go for under $2 million.”
Broodmare prospect Careless Jewel, who captured the 2009 Alabama Stakes (gr. I), sold for the second-highest price of $1.95 million. Eric Guillot signed the sale ticket for the 4-year-old daughter of Tapit for Mike Moreno’s Southern Equine Stables.
John Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, agent, consigned Careless Jewel, who raced for Donver Stable. She also won the 2009 editions of the Fitz Dixon Cotillion Stakes (gr. II) and the Delaware Oaks (gr. II).
“Mike and I are all about having foundation mares and this is one that fits our bill," said Guillot, who is Southern Equine's trainer and general manager. "Her body, her length, her pedigree, and her race record are what we look for. She’s going to be a nice addition to the Southern Equine broodmare band.”
Careless Jewel is out of the unraced Hennessy mare Sweet and Careless, who is a half sister to grade I winner Subordination (by Mt. Livermore) and added-money winner Domination (by Prized).
Other horses selling for prices of $1 million or more included the following:
* Racing or broodmare prospect Serious Attitude (by Mtoto), a group I winner in England and a grade I winner in Canada, brought $1.85 million from Teruya Yoshida’s Japan-based Shadai Farm. Sweezey and Partners, agent, consigned the 4-year-old filly.
* Playa Maya (by Arch ), the dam of 2010 Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner Uncle Mo (by Indian Charlie), brought $1.65 million from M.V. Magnier, whose father, John Magnier, is the managing partner of Coolmore Stud. Craig and Holly Bandoroff’s Denali Stud, agent for Respite Farm, consigned the mare, who is in foal to Broken Vow.
* Grade I winner Gabby's Golden Gal, who finished 10th in this year’s Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (gr. I), brought $1.25 million from Teruya Yoshida’s Japan-based Shadai Farm. Winter Quarter Farm, agent, consigned the 4-year-old daughter of Medaglia d'Oro .
* Dubai Majesty (by Essence of Dubai), the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner, brought $1.1 million from Katsumi Yoshida, who owns Northern Farm in Japan. The 5-year-old mare's consignor was Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent.
“The top of the market appears to be strong still,” said Wayne Sweezey of Sweezey and partners. “There are plenty of people here willing to pay money for good horses. For quality, they’re there. But the middle of the market is a scary place to be right now. I think this sale has been really spotty overall. I’m really fearful. We scratched a mare today here that I thought was going to bring a little bit of money because she got no play.”