Resellers and racehorse owners alike helped pump up the market Oct. 22 at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky's October yearling sale, which a second consecutive day of gains in gross and average and a median level with last year's figure of $18,000.
Trainer Mark Casse, representing Ernie Semersky and Dory Newell's Conquest Stables, secured the $400,000 sale-leader Tuesday night in the second session's waning hours, the Baccari Bloodstock agency's Street Cry colt out of Never Is a Promise, by Capote. The gray or roan colt is a half brother to grade I winner Ever a Friend.
Overall, the second of three sessions at the Lexington auction sold 282 yearlings for a combined $10,416,700, a 4% increase over last year's total for 273 horses. Average, too, improved a tick, climbing 1% from last year's $36,723 to $36,939. Buybacks, however, went up as well for the second night, but they still remained a moderate 18%, as compared to 15% a year ago.
Cumulatively, the first two days of the three-day auction have sold 545 horses for $19,373,300, an 11% gain on last year's total for 531, and the overall average price is also up strongly at $35,547, 9% higher than last year's average at the same point. The cumulative two-day median of $18,000 is 6% ahead of last year's $17,000.
Cumulative buybacks are up, too, rising from 18% at this point in 2013 to 24% at the close of business Tuesday night.
"Another very solid day of sales today," said Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning. "I thought the overall market continued to be strong, competitive bidding. Probably the most encouraging thing continues to be the diversity of buyers, really at all levels. You see diversity even at the less expensive, under-$10,000 levels, as well as quite a spread of buyers above $100,000."
The session-topping Street Cry colt was bought back twice before his success at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky on Tuesday night. Last year, the Feb. 26 foal was offered as a weanling at the Keeneland November mixed sale but went home on a $240,000 hammer price. He returned to Keeneland at last month's September yearling auction, where he went through the ring as part of Book 1. Bidding ended that time at $270,000, and again he had not reached his reserve. More mature by October, he impressed Casse, who bought him minutes before leaving the sale grounds for Churchill Downs.
"I felt he like he was going to be expensive," Casse said. "I thought he was just a really good colt. He's the first one we really went after, and I liked him a lot. To me, he looks like a classic horse, and we're always trying to find those. He'll go to Florida to get broken."
The Street Cry colt's price toppled the previous sale-leader from the high spot. That was the Crestwood Farm agency's $370,000 Super Saver ridgling out of Crocodile Tuff (Petionville ), who sold to Oussama Aboughazale's International Equities Holdings at Monday's opener.
Chris Baccari's Baccari Bloodstock, meanwhile, came back even later in the session to sell a $200,000 Candy Ride colt out of the stakes-placed Chester House mare Not in My House; the April 5 foal, a half brother to two winners so far, sold to Super Horse Inc.
It was an end-user turned pinhooker who bought Tuesday's second highest-priced lot. Rick Porter, in the name of his new pinhooking venture Pegasus Bridge, went to $320,000 for a Jan. 8 Tiznow colt out of the A.P. Indy mare Lasting Appeal, a winner-producing full sister to Jump Start . Lane's End was the consigning agent.
Pegasus Bridge was a vigorous bidder at Tuesday's session, picking up six yearlings for $920,000, and 10 for $1,390,000 over the first two sessions together.
Among their other Tuesday purchases was a $200,000 colt by leading freshman sire Super Saver . The Warrendale Sales agency consigned that March 29 son of Five Star Holding, a stakes-placed Five Star Day mare who is a half sister to grade I-placed stakes winner Indian Winter and graded winner Sindy With a S. The chestnut colt is a half brother to two winners, Stourbridge Lion and Corsa Di Cavalli.
Porter said Tuesday that his representative Victoria Keith would be the primary bidder for the entity and that Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito has been busy scouring the grounds for good equine prospects.
Pinhooker Mike Ryan, agent, paid $295,000 for a More Than Ready colt consigned by Hermitage Farm near Louisville.
The More Than Ready colt, a Feb. 23 foal, initially was cataloged to the Keeneland September sale's tony Book 1 segment, but Hermitage was forced to scratch him when he colicked.
A son of the Kris S. stakes winner Kiss the Devil, the nearly black colt is a half brother to a pair of graded-placed stakes winners, Kiss Mine and Kiss Moon.
Nick de Meric, another formidable yearling-to-juvenile pinhooker, got the ball rolling early when he paid $240,000 for a Curlin colt from Blake-Albina Thoroughbred Services.
The May 5 colt is out of Langfuhr's daughter Fi, a winner who so far has produced a stakes-placed winner in Moreno's Mine. Fi, meanwhile, is a half sister to Dawn of Forever, who won multiple stakes in restricted company.
"He was a later foal, and we decided we'd rather have him stand out and let him grow the extra time," said Ron Blake, who co-owns the Blake-Albina Thoroughbred Services agency with Hanzly Albina. "We wanted to put him in a sale he'd stand out in. This is his first sale, he hasn't been through the ring before, and the owners, Rowland Hancock and Dick Walker of Bottom Line Stable, allowed us to do that. It all worked out."
De Meric also bought the session's most expensive filly, a $200,000 Temple City half sister to 2008 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Preakness (gr. I) winner Big Brown , who was that year's champion 3-year-old male. Monticule, which bred Big Brown, also bred and consigned Tuesday's top-priced filly, a May 18 daughter of Mien. She's also a half sister to group-placed Afonso de Sousa.
High-end pinhookers often found themselves in competition with their potential future buyers at the top of Tuesday's market, as racehorse owners looked to add to their own holdings. David Wilkenfeld's Pick Six Racing, which owns multiple graded winner Vyjack, had an understandable interest in that runner's yearling half brother by first-crop sire Gio Ponti and bought him from the Select Sales agency for $260,000. Vyjack obligingly won the grade II Kelso Handicap between the catalog's publication and the sale, providing a vivid update.
And Ed and Susie Orr, who campaign about a dozen horses in Kentucky, California, and in their home state of Colorado, bought a $255,000 Malibu Moon colt out of graded winner Kettleoneup, by Victory Gallop. The Feb. 19 foal sold as part of the Denali Stud consignment.
"We're gonna race him," Ed Orr said. "We've had what we think is some success here in the past, so we're glad to come back. I couldn't call this a bargain; we just hope it turns out to be a bargain."
Orr said the Malibu Moon colt likely would run in Kentucky next year.
The Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October sale continues through Oct. 22 at the company's Newtown Paddocks complex in Lexington. Wednesday's session begins at 10 a.m. EDT. The Blood-Horse will stream the session live at www.bloodhorse.com/fasigtipton.