Hip 64 by Giant's Causeway was the session topper at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October sale.

Hip 64 by Giant's Causeway was the session topper at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October sale.

Fasig-Tipton Photo

F-T Kentucky October Sale Soars at Start

Gross, average, and median all increase from a year ago. Buy-back rate falls.

The Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October sale is the last major yearling auction of the year. But 2012’s generally upbeat market didn’t show any sign of fatigue during the sale’s opening session in Lexington Oct. 22.

The number of horses that were sold and the gross rose 32.6% and 50.3%, respectively, from a year ago. In addition, the average price grew 13.3% while the median price increased 8.3%.

“It felt to me like a pretty buoyant, healthy horse sale,” said Florida horseman Nick de Meric. “The prices were all over the board because the horses were all over the board (in quality). But I think this sale is gathering momentum and I think we are going to see it appeal more to both buyers and sellers going forward.

“The dates are kind of attractive to yearling sellers; it gives them more options,” de Meric explained. “And now that the 2-year-old sales have been pushed back a little bit (from earlier in the year), it doesn’t preclude pinhooking (reselling the horses as juveniles). I think it’s a sale that is becoming increasingly attractive to all of us and I thought the shopping was correspondingly aggressive on the more attractive lots.”

Fasig-Tipton reported that 293 yearlings were sold for a gross of $7,230,200. The average was $24,676 and the median was $13,000.

The buy-back rate fell to 20.6% from 25.1% on 2011’s first day.

A son of Giant's Causeway  topped the session, commanding $200,000 from de Meric, who bought the chestnut yearling for Klaravich Stables. Headed by hedge fund guru Seth Klarman, Klaravich often races horses in partnership with William Lawrence.

“We loved the physical specimen, and we loved his balance, his athleticism, his correctness, and his soundness,” said de Meric of the colt. “But I think what particularly appealed to me about him was that while he looked like the sort of colt that you could bring out early if you chose to, he also looked like a horse that would train on to be a lovely kind of 3-year-old and two-turn type. For me, he had a versatile look that made you think he would fit in whatever kind of program you wanted to put him in. He just had that poise and presence that set him apart from the rest of his peers. We were delighted to get him.”

Bred by the Lerici Syndicate in Kentucky, the yearling is the third foal out of the winning Woodman mare Lerici. He is from the family of grade I winner Folk Art, Irish and Italian champion Mashaallah, and grade III winners Grasshopper  and Turf War.

“He’s an end user racing prospect at this time,” said de Meric. “But nothing is written in stone; we keep our options open. At the moment, Plan A would be to include him in the stable (instead of reselling him as a 2-year-old).”

Gainesway, agent, consigned the colt after scratching him from the Keeneland September yearling auction.

A Virginia-bred son of Smart Strike was the session’s second-most-expensive horse, bringing $190,000. Kip Elser’s South Carolina-based Kirkwood Stables, agent, bought the chestnut yearling from Kitty Taylor’s Warrendale Sales, agent.

The colt is half brother to Rap Tale (by Tale of the Cat ), who captured the 2009 Brookmeade Stakes at Colonial Downs. Their dam, the winning Pleasant Tap mare Rap and Dance, finished third in the 2000 Holly Beach Stakes at Laurel Park.

Rap and Dance is a half sister to grade I winners Another Review and No Review, who is a stakes producer. Rap and Dance also is a half sister to grade II winner Dance Colony.

The Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October yearling auction runs through Oct. 24, with each session beginning at 10 a.m. (EDT).