Fasig-Tipton’s Kentucky fall yearling sale soared at the start, and company officials expected the market to remain upbeat throughout the auction’s three-day run in Lexington.
“The last three years we’ve seen a better catalog each year, and this one is by far the best,” said Bayne Welker, Fasig-Tipton’s vice president of sales, following the Oct. 24 opening session of 2011’s last major yearling auction. “The catalog is deeper as far as the quality individuals out there, and that’s being reflected in the results.”
Gross revenue rose 50.5% from a year ago even though 5.2% fewer horses were sold. The average price increased 58.7%, while the median price grew a whopping 140%.
“We’ve gotten to the bottom of the yearling market and we’re starting to see it creep back up,” Welker said. “People are more comfortable with the way things are; there’s no fear factor. It also helps that sellers, especially at this time of year, are very realistic about their stock. They’re here to sell and that creates a good buying atmosphere.
"Buyers can bid with confidence, knowing that they’re bidding to buy a horse. They’re not bidding against the horse’s owner or the reserve.”
The first day’s final figures included a gross of $4,741,900 for the 220 yearlings that were sold. The average was $21,554 and the median was $12,000.
The buy-back rate was 25.4% compared with 29.3% in 2010.
A robust Medaglia d'Oro colt was the session-topper, bringing $200,000 from Virginia-based bloodstock agent Debbie Easter.
“He’s a big colt with scope; he’s a lovely horse by what is arguably one of the best sires around,” Easter said. “You always hope to get one for less, but I thought it was a good price. I’m tickled to have the horse. It was a nice deal.”
Produced from the unraced Coronado's Quest mare Especially Me, the bay yearling is a half brother to the winner Friends N Secret (by Friend’s Lake). Especially Me is a half sister to 2005 Tempted Stakes (gr. III) winner Better Now (by Thunder Gulch).
Easter said she was acting on behalf of Peter Deutsch and “another gentleman” who own Adirondack Summer, winner of this year’s Dania Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Easter bought the 3-year-old son of Thunder Gulch for $38,000 from Denali Stud, agent for Sarah J. Leigh, at the 2009 Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling auction.
“They seem to be nice gentlemen and they’re stepping it up,” Easter said. “They both live in the New York area and they’re excited about what’s happening with New York racing. This (Medaglia d’Oro) colt will go to Christophe Clement (the trainer of Adirondack Summer).”
Denali, which is owned by Craig and Holly Bandoroff, consigned the $200,000 yearling. Bert Welker and Don Ameche III bred him in Kentucky.
Earlier this year Allied Bloodstock, in which Welker is a partner, sold the colt (as agent) for $175,000 at the Keeneland January horses of all ages sale. S.F.D. Stables was the buyer. He was entered in the Keeneland September yearling sale by Denali, but ended up being scratched.
“He’s big and he’s pretty and he’s a really good-moving horse; he was kind of an obvious standout here,” Craig Bandoroff said. “But he was a late foal (born in June 2010) and he kind of went through a growth spurt in August that most other yearlings go through in April or May. We had to take our foot off the gas pedal and it all worked out.”
Denali e-mailed a link to a video of the colt to about 50 people and also featured the video in its online advertising. He was Hip No. 16 in the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky auction's catalog, and that early position “hurt his price,” Bandoroff said. “A sale needs a chance to get rolling, but it turned out OK. You always want a little more, but it was a good enough price to sell him.”
The colt was owned by a partnership at the time he was sold, according to Bandoroff. He declined to identify any of the partnership’s members.