The 2006 Fasig-Tipton Texas Summer yearling sale is scheduled to kick off its two-day run Monday and sales company officials are optimistic about positive returns."I'm pretty optimistic," said Tim Boyce, director of sales for Fasig-Tipton Texas. "I think we have a good catalogue of horses and some very nice individuals physically. We have some new buyers here and the top four buyers from last year have returned." The sale will be conducted Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 28-29, at Lone Star Park near Grand Prairie, Texas. Both sessions begin at 10 a.m. (CST).The two-day sale, which sales company officials are billing as the 'premier yearling sale of the Southwest', features 439 yearlings, down from last year's number of 545 when the sale grossed $3,335,100 with 323 horses finding new homes. Last year's average was $10,325. The median was $4,500. Of the number offered, 175 (35.1%) failed to find new homes."I think this catalogue, more than any of the past, represents the best of the Southwest," Boyce said. "We really tried to emphasize that more this year than in past years."The auction is again showing a marked increase in the number of Louisiana-breds offered with 152 consigned--up from 147 last year. There are nine New Mexico-breds and 16 Oklahoma-breds listed in the catalogue. Texas-breds dominate the catalogue with 176 consigned."Texas breeders are really in the middle of some great purses," Boyce said. "Texas-breds have proven they can run anywhere and with the purses increasing in Louisiana, New Mexico, and Oklahoma, there will be some great value to this sale."Consignor Mark Toothaker of Kentucky-based Liberty Bloodstock said he has seen a lot of action at his barn over the past three days. "We've been really busy showing horses," he said. "There are a lot of people out looking who seem to be very interested."Louisiana-based consignor Firal Ryder of Ryder River Ridge Farm said, "There are more people out looking around than I remember in the past. The catalogue looks better than it has before, and I am more pleased with my consignment than I have been in years past. I'm expecting a really good sale."While sales company officials and consignors seem to be optimistic about the sale, they are hurting on the inside after hearing word that Kentucky-based consignor Dan Mallory, owner of Meadow Haven Farm near Lexington, was among the 49 passengers who died following the crash of Comair Flight 5191, a CRJ-200 regional jet, about a mile from Lexington's Blue Grass Airport. Mallory was scheduled to sell three horses during the Texas summer sale. "My heart just goes out to Dan's family," Boyce said. "What a tragic event."