The Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall sale’s late spot on the yearling auction calendar used to make it a place where consignors offered young horses they couldn’t get sold or ready to sell in time anywhere else. But in recent years, the sale’s reputation has improved dramatically.
Champion Big Brown , who captured the Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Preakness (gr. I) in 2008, is a graduate of the fall yearling auction and so is Canadian champion and 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird. Other distinguished alumni include champion Dubai Majesty, who scored in the 2010 Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (gr. I), and Banned, a three-time graded winner on grass in 2011.
The latest edition of the fall sale is scheduled for Oct. 24-26 at Fasig-Tipton’s Newtown Paddocks complex in Lexington.
“I’ve been very optimistic about this sale all year long,” said Bayne Welker, Fasig-Tipton’s vice president of sales. “As we went around doing our inspections for our Kentucky July and Saratoga (select) yearling sales, we saw horses that were being held back for the fall sale specifically. I think people are using the sale in October a little bit more strategically than they have in the past.”
Because it is the year’s final major yearling auction, the fall sale “gives a later foaled and/or later maturing yearling more time to get to its optimum best,” Welker said. “Also, with its success producing runners over the years, the October sale is able to attract a pretty big buying pool.”
Fasig-Tipton cataloged 1,007 yearlings for the fall auction. They include full or half siblings to such grade or group I winners as Here Comes Ben, Honor in War, Ice Box , Military, Pathfork, Request for Parole, and Summer Bird. Pathfork was a 2010 champion in Ireland and Summer Bird was the champion 3-year-old male of 2009 when he won the Belmont (gr. I), Shadwell Travers (gr. I), and Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) stakes.
“I feel like the sale’s quality this year is at an all-time high,” Welker said. “Because we knew the quality was high, we have recruited for this sale on the buying end just as we would have for our July or Saratoga select sales. We’ve made visits to all the major racing jurisdictions -- and even to some of the smaller racing jurisdictions – to pass out catalogs and make personal introductions. The response has been very good.”
Last year, when 690 yearlings were sold, the fall auction’s gross revenue grew nearly 20% to $9,395,300. The average price declined 2.4% from the previous year to $13,616 while the median price fell 16.7% to $5,000.
A 21.9% increase in the number of horses that were sold (to 690) made it more difficult for the average and median to improve.
But there is a smaller catalog this year, with the number of horses listed down 13.8% from 2010's total of 1,169 yearlings. It also should help that the yearling market overall is stronger.
“We’re pretty optimistic in light of the uptick at almost all yearling sales this year,” Welker said. “We’re starting to rise up a little bit from the very bottom.”
Each session of the fall auction will begin at 10 a.m. EDT. Following third session Oct. 26, a dispersal of yearlings owned by the Estate of Carl Lizza Jr.’s Flying Zee Stable will be held. Hidden Brook will consign the Flying Zee horses.