In what has proved to be a robust season for 2-year-olds in training sales, buyers continued to demonstrate a willingness to spend on quality juvenile prospects during the final session of the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-olds in training sale in Timonium, Md.
A total of 128 horses sold for a gross of $9,440,000 on the second and final day of the sale May 21, compared to 156 head sold for $9,378,500 during the corresponding session last year. The session's sale average rose sharply to $73,750, a 22.7% increase over a second-day average of $60,119 last year. The median price was $46,500 compared to $30,000 the year before, and only 17 horses were listed as not sold in the session compared to 48 in 2012.
Over the two days, the sale saw 249 head sold for $16,675,000, virtually identical to last year's gross sales of $16,721,000 on 312 horses sold. The sale average increased nearly 25% to $66,968 from $53,593 a year ago, and the median price was $40,000 compared to $28,000 in 2012. Buy-backs dropped substantially in the sale as only 43 horses failed to meet their reserves this year, compared to 102 last year.
"This was a strong sale," said Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning Jr. "We had quality throughout the catalog. Any sale is only as good as the horses that go through the ring. Consignors brought the right horses here, and they were rewarded."
Topping the final session and the sale on a bid of $450,000 was Hip No. 396, a Malibu Moon colt consigned by Eddie Woods, agent. Trainer Gary Contessa signed the ticket on behalf of Chip McEwen's Wounded Warrior Stable. The outfit also bought one of the top sellers from the sale's first day, paying $240,000 for a Distorted Humor colt.
"Chip said he wants to buy the best horses. I think we got two of the best in the sale," said Contessa. "He wants to get to the big show. I like everything about this horse. He has a great walk and a great heart. We had his heart scanned. This is a 1 1/4-mile horse."
The colt, who worked an eighth in :10 2/5 at the under-tack preview, was produced from the Premiership mare Partyship, and is a half brother to eight winners, including stakes winner Barrier Reef and stakes-placed Artic Party and Kissin Party.
Bred in Kentucky by Matthew Herbener, the colt is no stranger to auction rings. He sold for $290,000 in the 2012 Keeneland November sale out of the James Herbener Jr. consignment, and then failed to meet his reserve the next two times through the ring. He was a $370,000 RNA at last year's Fasig-Tipton August sale and also was bought back for $145,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Florida 2-year-olds in training sale at Palm Meadows in March.
Trainer Nick Zito, bidding on behalf of owner Joseph Moss, went to $360,000 to secure the bid on the second-highest price of the day, a Malibu Moon colt consigned as Hip No. 364. Bred in Kentucky by Spendthrift Farm, the colt was a $165,000 yearling purchase by FHMB out of the consignment of Warrendale Sales at last year's Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale. The colt, consigned by McKathan Bros., agent, is out of the unraced Broad Brush mare Miss Moonlight and is a half brother to stakes winner More Moonlight and stakes-placed Mystical Moonlight.
"He's one of the best horses in the sale," said Zito of the colt who breezed an eighth in :10 3/5 at the under-tack show. "He's a late foal, and I like late foals."
Zito was busy at the sale, signing for eight head—all colts—on behalf of Moss, including a son of Unbridled's Song at $330,000, the first day's session topper, and a $300,000 Harlan's Holiday colt, Hip No. 293, from the consignment of Northwest Stud.
"Mr. Moss is a great guy and he would like to participate in the big races next year," said Zito. "He called me up this winter and asked me to identify some nice horses for him. He wants to do this, and I like going to the sales. We're looking for two-turn horses to get him to the big races."
Moss, a Thoroughbred owner for two years, did not attend the sale, but is excited about his growing racing stable.
"We hit the sale pretty hard," said Moss, a retired Delta Airlines captain who was a fighter pilot in the South Pacific for the United States Marine Corp. during World War II. "The races are very enjoyable for me and my wife. Horse racing has been my favorite sport for many years, and I follow it closely."
On his association with Zito, Moss said: "Nick is a very fine man. I consider him to be one of the best trainers in the country. I like what he does with the horses, and I'm really excited about the horses we just bought. We've had some nice wins together and experienced some losses. I'm looking for better results, and I'm hopeful we'll get them with these horses."
The top-priced filly of the session and the sale, hammered down at $315,000, was Hip No. 392, a daughter of Northern Afleet . Agent David Ingordo signed the ticket on behalf of JWS Racing.
"She looks fast," said Ingordo, who indicated the filly will ship to trainer John Sadler in Southern California. "She has size and scope."
Bred in Kentucky by Jaime Allende-Marin, the filly was purchased last year by Brian Morgan for $200,000 from the Paramount Sales consignment at the Keeneland September sale. Out of the Unbridled's Song mare Pacific Ocean Song, the filly worked an eighth in :10 1/5 at the under-tack preview for her consignor, Grassroots Training and Sales LLC, agent.
Dennis O'Neill signed for a $300,000 Giant's Causeway colt, Hip No. 334, on behalf of owner J. Paul Reddam. Consigned by De Meric Sales, agent, the colt named Silicon Valley cost Nick de Meric $200,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton October sale where he was consigned by Gainesway Sales. Produced from the Woodman mare Lerici from the family of graded stakes winner Grasshopper , the colt breezed a quarter at the under-tack show in :22.
"I fell in love with him at the breeze show," said O'Neill, who was an active buyer over the sale's two days. "I was a little scared (about the bidding) because he also has pedigree. We got shut out at Keeneland, so it was time we got a few. The top end here is easier for us. This is more of a middle-market sale, but it's been very competitive. A lot of people are buying, and that's a good sign for the business."