By Jeff Scott
With concerns about the struggling economy still very much on everyone’s minds, interested parties approached this year’s Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred preferred yearling sale with a certain amount of apprehension.
Interpretation of the results from the first night of the two-night sale Aug. 9 depend on which index one chooses to focus on. On the positive side, the average sale price jumped to $62,979, an increase of 19.4% over the $52,737 opening-night figure for 2007. Median price also rose significantly, from $37,000 to $52,000. Gross sales fell slightly to $2,960,000, from last year’s $3,006,000.
On the down side, more than half of the horses that were led into the ring--52 of 99, or 52.5%--failed to meet their reserves. Last year’s buy-back rate was 43.6%.
"The top was as good as it has ever been," said Fasig-Tipton president Walt Robertson, speaking of the session as a whole. "We sold seven horses for over $100,000. But below $50,000, it was a pretty tough sell. That’s the way it was in Kentucky (in July)."
The session-topper was Hip No. 274, a son of Exchange Rate out of Star One One, by Caller I. D., that sold for $250,000. The bay colt was consigned by McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds as agent, and was purchased by Buzz Chace, agent for West Point Thoroughbreds.
"He’s a beautiful horse," said Joe McMahon of McMahon of Saratoga. "He did everything right the whole time he was here. He’s a very bright horse, very attractive, very well-balanced and correct. When the stars all line up, there’s plenty of money for the right horse."
The second-highest seller was Hip No. 222, a daughter of Songandaprayer out of the Known Fact mare Naughty Natisha. The Denali Stud-consigned filly--a half-sister to multiple New York (and grade III) stakes winner Naughty New Yorker--was purchased by agent Debbie Easter.
Denali led all consignors on the first night, selling 13 of 16 horses offered for a gross of $991,000 and an average of $76,230.
The session-topping Exchange Rate colt was the only one of nine McMahon Saratoga yearlings Aug. 9 that found a new owner. The other eight all failed to meet their reserve.
"I don’t understand why these New York-breds aren’t more sellable," said Joe McMahon. "They’ve proven time and time again that they’re good financial investments. Purses in New York are huge, and now there’s a real good possibility of getting VLTs. Why there’s such a drop-off in the market tonight is a little perplexing to me."
"The last two sales--(Aug. 9) and the July sale--we knew it was going to be pretty tough below $30,000," said Robertson. "We hope it gets better as we go down the pike, but right now I think the economy is having an effect on that segment of the market."
The Saratoga preferred sale concludes Aug. 10, with the first horse scheduled to be brought into the ring at 7 p.m.