If the close of the opening session of the 2008 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale is any indication, the upper level of the Thoroughbred marketplace is alive and well.
Topped by a pair of seven-figure horses, the average and median price posted 16% and 13% increases, respectively, over last year’s figures. The average was $302,667 and the median $235,000.
Walt Robertson, president of Fasig-Tipton, said he was pleased with the results of the sale. “The upper level of the Kentucky sale in July performed well and there were not a lot of surprises with this sale.”
The opening session saw two offerings, a Storm Cat filly and an A.P. Indy colt, sell for more than seven figures. The filly brought $1.5 million from Barry Irwin of Team Valor and the hammer dropped on the colt after a $1.2 million bid from Will Farish of Lane’s End Farm.
After signing the sales ticket, Irwin called the market "pretty damn strong."
“There is less competition here for a top horse,” Irwin said. “I think a filly like this, at the next sale, might look like a pretty good deal.”
Irwin wasn’t the only buyer who believed the market to be strong. Satish Sanan of Padua Stables said it was very hard to buy horses and the struggles in the current economic climate did not come into play at this auction.
“I think it is very overpriced right now,” Sanan said. “We were the underbidder on a few horses . In my opinion, it is very hard to buy horses right now, it is over what we expected. When you look around here and look at the people, I don’t think the economy impacts them that much. Honestly, I think it is the lower end of the market where people have a limit and can not pay more than $100,000 or $150,000 for a horse and there is a lot of competition there. I think that is where the market is impacted, not at the million dollar or $900,000 mark because another $100,000 or $200,000 doesn’t make a big difference to those guys at that point.”
Farish judged the market as doing very well. “Right now, I don’t know how many RNAs (reserves not attained) there are, but it seems to be doing very well. I think maybe the market is a little soft right now and we might have gotten a little bit of a bargain.”