Prices tumbled at the the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky winter mixed sale Feb. 9 in Lexington, following the downward trends that have been seen at other recent auctions. The average price dropped 42.8%, while the median price fell 28.6%. A much smaller sale catalog than in 2008 contributed to the 62.9% decline in the gross revenue.
One bright spot was the buy-back rate, which declined from 24.5% in 2008 to 15.6% this year.
“It’s good to see horses are changing hands,” said Josh Pons of Country Life Farm in Maryland. “You’ve just got to be realistic. Our two horses brought more than their reserves by comfortable margins, which tells you that we set reasonable reserves on them. We did OK; we were satisfied. We had a short yearling that was shown 32 times yesterday and 15 today, and she was bought by a nice guy who is going to race her in Canada.”
The gross revenue for the 206 horses that sold was $2,392,900. The average was $11,616, and the median was $5,000. Last year, the 318 horses that sold grossed $6,452,400 and averaged $20,291. The median was $7,000.
There were 306 horses in the 2009 catalog compared to 510 in 2008 when the auction was a two-day event.
Solarana, who was offered as a racing or broodmare prospect, topped the sale, bringing $130,000 from Dr. Naveed Chowhan. A group II winner in Argentina, the 6-year-old daughter of Mutakddim, has finished second or third in six added-money events in this country. In her most recent race, Solarana finished third in the Feb. 7 Likely Exchange Stakes at Turfway Park.
Chowhan, a Kentucky oncologist, had a team of people at the auction to assist him, including trainer Bernie Flint and Steve Castagnola, the director of client development for Taylor Made Sales Agency.
“We didn’t have anything particular in mind,” said Chowhan when asked if he would race or breed Solarana this year. “I like the way she goes, and she’s got potential. She has a lot going on in her family. Right now, we’re happy that we got her, and we’ll decide on that (whether to retire her from competition or not) in the next couple of days."
Produced from the winning Southern Halo mare Sorpresiva, Solarana is a half-sister to So Shiny (by Indygo Shiner), who captured the GPD Investments U.A.E. One Thousand Guineas in Dubai Feb. 6 and also is a group I-placed performer in Argentina. Their other siblings include Sortija (by Luhuk), a winner who has finished second in two Argentine added-money events.
“You’ve got a big pedigree update there with So Shiny, who was super impressive,” said Castagnola. “Indygo Shiner has proven to be, down in the Southern Hemisphere, a world class sire, and I think ‘Doc’ (Chowhan) possibly would consider maybe breeding her (Solarana) to a horse like Indygo Shiner. She’s a big, pretty mare with a lot of class.”
Meg Levy’s Bluewater Sales, as agent, consigned Solarana to the auction. The mare had been racing for Gary Biszantz’s Cobra Farm. Bluewater offered Solarana the 2008 Keeneland November breeding stock auction, but bought her back for $110,000.
“For her to sell for $130,000 with some little updates, that’s nice in this market because, obviously, the economy hasn’t changed a whole lot (for the better),” Levy said. “She came in third in a little stakes recently, and her half-sister, So Shiny, won really nicely the other day and has a chance to be a group winner. It (the price) is about what we thought it would be. We’re happy.”
Spectacular Moon, winner of the 2003 Astarita Stakes (gr. II), brought the Fasig-Tipton winter sale’s second-highest price of $125,000. She was purchased by Craig and Holly Bandoroff’s Denali Stud, agent, from Mike Aker’s Dapple Stud, agent.
An 8-year-old daughter of Migrating Moon and the winning Spectacular Bid mare Doctor Danielle, Spectacular Moon is in foal to Speightstown . The mare had been a $110,000 buy-back last November at Keeneland.
Joyce Ann, with her recently born Speightstown foal at her side, sold for $120,000. Consigned by Paramount Sales, agent, the 10-year-old daughter of Pine Bluff was bought by William Shiveley of Dixiana Farm. Joyce Ann, a winner, finished second in the 2004 Suthern Accent Stakes at Louisiana Downs.
Forest Whispers, a full-sister to 2005 Carter Handicap (gr. I) and 2004 Bay Shore Stakes (gr. III) winner Forest Danger, was bought back for $180,000. A 3-year-old winning daughter of Forestry, Forest Whispers was consigned by Viking Stud, agent for Helen Andrews of Twin Hopes Farm.