A Louisiana-bred Tejano Run ridgling sold for $130,000 Monday to top the opening session of the Fasig-Tipton Texas yearling auction at Lone Star Park. Jimmy and Kathy Davis of Oklahoma purchased the muscular chestnut for Dallas resident Jack Sweesy, who races the ridgling's half-brother, Crawfish King. A son of Just a Cat, Crawfish King captured the Pioneer Stakes at Louisiana Downs in July."He's a bigger, stronger horse at this age than Crawfish King was, with a little more hip," Kathy Davis said. "Only time will tell if he's as good."Sweesy, who is in the oil and gas business, owns Saturday's Arlington Breeders' Cup Sprint Handicap winner Gold Storm in partnership with Keith McKinney. Sweesy also owns one-third of Ticker Tape, winner of this year's American Oaks (gr. IT) and second in the recent Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT).Terry Gabriel of Gabriel Thoroughbreds consigned the Tejano Run ridgling, who is out of the 8-year-old stakes-placed mare To Geaux (by Zuppardo's Prince). Gabriel owned the session topper in partnership with his father, retired trainer Leo Gabriel."We would have been more than happy to get $50,000 or $60,000; that would have been a home run on him," Terry Gabriel said. "But when we got here and we saw the action that we had and the people who were on him, our expectations started to rise."Gabriel, who lives in Folsom, La., cut a deal to purchase the session topper privately from his breeder, Paul Sita, as a suckling last year and took possession of the ridgling not long after he was weaned. Sita is Gabriel's neighbor and a friend.We made a serious profit," said Gabriel, who declined to reveal the ridgling's weanling purchase price. "I talked to Paul on the phone (after the session topper sold); he's very happy for us."In all, 132 horses were sold for a gross of $1,849,900, an average price of $14,014, and a median price of $7,750. The buy-back rate was 30.2%.Compared to the results for the one-day sale of a year ago, the average was up 13.9% and the median grew 46.2%. The figures for 2003 were a gross of $2,694,000, an average of $12,301, and a median of $5,300 for the 219 horses sold."I'm pretty much happy with what we did," said Tim Boyce, Fasig-Tipton's director of sales. "With the VLTs (video lottery terminals) not getting here (in Texas), there was worry about that on the consignors' part, but I felt like it really wasn't going to affect us (negatively). There's racing all around us (with bigger purses) being generated by VLTs."The sale's second and final session is scheduled for Tuesday, beginning at 11 a.m. (CDT).
Bolstered by the revival of racing in Oklahoma and the continued increases in purses in Louisiana, there is “guarded optimism” among Texas breeders and sales company officials on the eve of the Texas summer yearling sale.