Boosted by an impressive-looking son of Storm Cat, which fetched a final bid of $2 million, the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale ended its two-night run in New York Aug. 5 with an increase in average price from 2007. The gross revenue dipped slightly, and the buy-back rate rose.
“We came in here hopeful that we would equal last year with the economy and different things going on in the world, and I didn’t know if it was attainable, but I am tickled to death that it was,” said Fasig-Tipton president Walt Robertson. “By the middle of the sale tonight, this thing was a lot of fun.”
According to Fasig-Tipton, 122 horses were sold for $36,080,000. The average was $295,738, and the median was $227,500. The buy-back rate was 25.6%.
Compared to last year, the number of horses sold decreased 14.1% and the gross fell 12.2%. The average increased 2.2% while the median remained the same.
“In July (at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky select yearling sale), the upper part of the market did well,” Robertson said. “There was still plenty of market for the right horse here and when you added some pedigree in, it was electric.”
Last year, the 142 horses sold grossed $41,082,000 and averaged $289,310. The buy-back rate was 24.5%.
The sale-topping son of Storm Cat was purchased by Michael Vincent Magnier of Coolmore Stud from Ben Walden’s Gracefield consignment. The colt, Gracefield's lone Saratoga offering, was bred in Kentucky by the partnership of Walden, Philip Steinberg, and Racehorse Management.
“The lads thought he was a very good horse, and we have supported Storm Cat for a very long time. He has been a sire of sires over here and in Europe for a long time,” said Magnier, who added it was too early to determine whether the colt would remain in the United States or would be sent to Europe. “We just loved the horse, and he has a fantastic pedigree.”
The colt was produced from the stakes winning Mr. Prospector mare Get Lucky and is a half-brother to grade II winner Daydreaming, grade III winner Accelerator, and stakes winner Harborage. He is also from the family of grade I winner Bluegrass Cat.
Walden and Steinberg purchased the Phipps family-bred Get Lucky, in foal to Monarchos , for $300,000 at the 2002 Keeneland November breeding stock sale from the consignment of Claiborne Farm, agent. Walden and Steinberg still own Get Lucky, who has a 2-year-old A.P. Indycolt, owned by Darley, that is currently in training at Saratoga with Kiaran McLaughlin. She produced a full brother to the sale topper this year and is not in foal for 2009.
When asked why he chose to bring the colt to Saratoga instead of waiting for the Keeneland September yearling sale, Walden said: “I just felt he had a special quality, and there are a lot of nice horses that go to the September sale. I just thought he had a chance to shine up here.”
Walden said the colt has always been a standout. “He was an absolute star the way he handled things,” Walden said. “He was really a pure Storm Cat from day one and he has really evolved into a bigger Storm Cat. He looks so much like his sire, and he is a true Storm Cat without some of the disposition issues.”
Trainer Nick Zito went to $750,000 to secure a son of Mr. Greeley and the Deputy Minister mare Arcadiana for Robert LaPenta’s Whitehorse Stable. The dark bay or brown colt was consigned by Eaton Sales, agent.
Olin Gentry purchased the colt for $350,000 at the 2007 Keeneland November sale.
During the final session, the 62 horses sold grossed $17,920,000 and averaged $289,032. The median was $225,000, and the buy-back rate was 21.5%. During the second and final session of the 2007 sale, 66 horses sold for $21,215,000. The average was $321,439, and the median was $235,000.