Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning said the yearling selling season was off to a “solid” start after the Kentucky July select auction ended its two-day run in Lexington with an average price of $75,780 that was down only 2.5% from a year ago. Another good sign, in his opinion, was a buy-back rate that declined to 28.7% from 36.8% in 2009.
“Are we in the midst of a dramatic recovery? No. Are we in the midst of a significant downturn? No. But we seem to have reached some stability at a reduced level in the marketplace,” Browning concluded July 14 as buyers and consignors left the sale grounds.
The number of horses sold July 13 and 14 fell 9.3% to 243 while the gross revenue dropped 11.6% to $18,414,500. The median price decreased 9.1% to $50,000.
“Good horses sold real well, but everybody is awfully careful with their money right now -- real careful -- and it’s not just at a certain level of the market,” said Fasig-Tipton chairman Walt Robertson.
A $350,000 Medaglia d'Oro filly was the most expensive horse sold during the final session. The elegant bay yearling also was the auction’s highest-priced female and second-highest-priced horse, trailing only a $450,000 Medaglia d’Oro – Beright colt that went through the sale ring opening day.
Virginia bloodstock agent Debbie Easter purchased the filly for Wick and Carter McNeely, who operate Morrowdale Farm in Viriginia.
“I’m very psyched,” Easter said. “She’s by Medaglia d’Oro and is a half (sister) to a grade I winner. That’s hard to beat, isn’t it? He (Medaglia d’Oro) is probably the hottest sire right now, and I figured there would probably be some other good folks (bidding) on her. She has a big, huge walk and a lovely neck and shoulder. I didn’t know if I could get her. That (the final price) was about as far as I could go, so that was great.”
Produced from the winning Ascot Knight mare High in the Park, the filly is a half sister to Divine Park (by Chester House), who triumphed in the Metropolitan (gr. I) and Westchester (gr. III) Handicaps in 2008 and the Withers Stakes (gr. III) in 2007.
The McNeelys race Funny Moon, who captured the 2009 Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) and this year’s Shuvee Handicap (gr. II). Funny Moon was a $175,000 purchase at the 2007 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling auction.
“We’re trying to slowly build a broodmare band by buying some yearling fillies,” said Easter of the McNeelys’ shopping strategy. “Funny Moon was the first yearling we started on that program with, and we’ve been buying two yearling fillies a year. It’s worked out pretty well so far.”
Brereton Jones, a former Kentucky governor, bred the $350,000 Medaglia d'Oro filly in the Bluegrass State, and she was consigned to the auction in the names of Jones and Airdrie Stud. The filly's grade I-winning half brother, Divine Park, stands at Airdrie, the Central Kentucky nursery that is owned by Jones and his wife, Libby.
“A couple of years ago, there were probably more high fives at this sale, but we are absolutely thrilled with $350,000,” said the Joneses’ son, Bret, who works in a bloodstock services position at Airdrie. “She’s just been a great filly to be around. She’s done everything we’ve asked her to do. Her sire has done everything we could ask him to do. And her half brother has done everything we could ask him to do. We’re very, very happy.”
Brereton Jones purchased High in the Park, carrying the Medaglia d’Oro filly, for $205,000 at the 2008 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November select mixed sale from EMFO Racing, agent.
“That was a nice turn of luck there,” Bret Jones said, “because when we bought her, we were speculating that Medaglia d’Oro could be a very good sire and obviously, he’s gone beyond those expectations.”
Divine Park also was a factor in High in the Park’s purchase, Jones said, because “we knew how talented he was and our expectations were high for him (as a stallion), too.”
The Fasig-Tipton July sale’s final session results included a gross of $9,757,000 for the 125 horses that sold. The average was $78,056, and the median was $55,000. The buy-back rate was 26.9%.
The revised opening day statistics, after Fasig-Tipton’s staff added in private sales completed following the session’s end, included a gross of $8,657,500 for the 118 yearlings that sold. The average was $73,369. The median stayed the same at $50,000.