After a slow start that saw the first four horses and five of the first seven fail to meet their reserve prices, the second session of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale Aug. 5 saw steady momentum gains that led to the third million-dollar horse of the sale.
While the number horses failing to meet their reserves (RNAs)--20--was nearly three times the seven that did not meet reserves on the sale's first night Aug. 4, the average price of the second session was up 7.5% over last year's corresponding session to $300,340, with the median decreasing slightly, down 5% to $237,500.
"The RNAs crept up, and that had to be expected," said Fasig-Tipton's president and CEO Boyd Browning. "For the combined sale, it was under 20%, and we had a very successful two-night sale. Overall, it's a very healthy market."
The session was bolstered when Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas signed a ticket on behalf of Willis Horton, who went to a sale-topping $1.25 million for Hip 150, a War Front filly out of the Seeking the Gold mare Charming. Eaton Sales consigned.
The filly's second dam is Take Charge Lady, a multiple grade I winner who has produced 2013 champion 2-year-old male Will Take Charge , winner of the 2013 Travers Stakes and Clark Handicap (both gr. I) and runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), and Take Charge Indy , winner of the 2012 Florida Derby (gr. I). Horton also owns Will Take Charge.
Darley was once again an active buyer, purchasing four horses in the name of John Ferguson for a total of $1.4 million. Hip 112 was the second-highest priced horse of the night at $800,000, a colt by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoums's Central Kentucky sire Bernardini out of the Unbridled's Song mare Tweeter. The bay colt, consigned by Gainesway, agent, is from the family of 2003 champion 3-year-old filly Bird Town and 2004 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner and sire Birdstone .
Three of Darley's purchases--Hips 112, 118, and 122--were by Darley stallions, Bernardini, Elusive Quality , and Street Sense , respectively. The fourth, Hip 126, is a Kitten's Joy filly out of the winning War Chant mare Wild Chant. The final bid was $350,000 for the New York-bred filly, who was bred by Gallagher's Stud and consigned by Craig and Holly Bandoroff's Denali Stud.
Barbara Banke's Stonestreet Stables purchased two Awesome Again offspring for a combined $1.3 million. Sold for $600,000 in the Taylor Made Sales Agency consignment, Hip 100 is a bay filly out of the A.P. Indy mare Sweet Charity. Banke went to $700,000 with George Bolton for Hip 130, a colt out of the Lord At War mare Zambezi Belle offered by Bluewater Sales, agent.
Over the two nights, receipts on 114 horses sold totaled $33,284,000, up 4.4% from the 2013 sale when six fewer horses were sold. The average price of $291,965 was off only slightly compared with last year, and the median was down 5% to $237,500. Twenty-seven didn't meet reserves this year, compared with 29 in 2013.
"There's a level of understanding between buyers and sellers," said Browning. "The sellers are realistic, and buyers are willing to bid realistic amounts."
He said he was most encouraged by the strength and depth of the market, from horses that sold for $100,000 to those that sold for $1 million or more.
"It's an awfully, awfully special place to sell a quality horse," he said.