Fasig-Tipton’s Kentucky fall yearling sale isn’t as fancy as the company’s Saratoga and Kentucky July select auctions, but as a producer of Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brand (gr. I) winners, it stands out. Big Brown , who captured the Run for the Roses in 2008, and Mine That Bird, who scored in the first leg of the Triple Crown this year, both are graduates of the October sale.
Big Brown, who won an Eclipse Award as 2008’s champion 3-year-old male, brought $60,000 during the auction’s 2006 edition, and Mine That Bird, a Canadian champion, sold for $9,500 in 2007.
The 2009 edition of the sale, which will be held Oct. 26-28 in Lexington, has 972 horses in its catalog. The number is down 10.8% from last year’s total of 1,090.
“In recent years, there has been some strength at the top of the sale, and there have been horses that have sold well,” said Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning. “I think people have a higher level of confidence about bringing a little bit better horse to the October sale than they have in the past. You can flip through the catalog and see that there’s real legitimate sire power in there. We’ve got yearlings by Awesome Again , Unbridled's Song, Medaglia d'Oro , Distorted Humor , and Dynaformer.”
Nearly all the yearling auctions this year have struggled, and Browning is anticipating another tough market during the Kentucky fall sale.
“I think we’re going to continue to find the market to be very discriminating as we have at most of the yearling sales this season,” he said. “But I thought that our Midlantic sale (in early October in Maryland) was in some ways encouraging because there was still a lot of demand for the quality horses. There was much less demand for the average horse, and that’s the biggest change we’ve seen in the yearling market this year.”
Even though many yearling buyers reduced their spending in 2009, “there has been a pretty reasonable amount of interest in the October sale, so far,” Browning said. “People have called us and said they are going to be at the sale, and when we’ve been out hustling and handing out catalogs, there seems to be interest.
"I would be very surprised if we don’t tell you at the end of the sale that there was good demand for quality. Buyers are going to say it wasn’t easy to buy a good horse, and sellers are going to say it was easy selling a few of them, but it wasn’t easy selling most of them.”
Last year, the 553 yearlings sold grossed $7,471,900 and averaged $13,512. The median price was $5,500, and the buy-back/no bid rate was 35.6%. Compared to 2007, the gross fell 29.5% while the average dropped 27.8%. The median plunged 45%.
Each session this year will begin at 10 a.m. EDT.