“It wasn’t spectacular, but it was OK, and that was better than I expected,” said consignor Mark Taylor, summing up the performance of the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July select auction.
The first major event of the 2011 yearling selling season generated a median price that increased 20% from a year ago. In another encouraging development, the buy-back rate declined to 26.8% from 28.7% in 2010.
But the average price fell 7.8% July 12 in Central Kentucky while the gross revenue tumbled 27.5%. The decline in gross wasn’t a surprise because the catalog was 25.6% smaller than 2010’s book and, as anticipated, fewer horses ended up being sold.
“We’re getting most of our horses moved and the people we’ve gotten horses sold for seem happy enough,” said Taylor, who is the vice president of sales for Taylor Made Sales Agency. "I really was expecting to feel very disheartened right now because of the smaller catalog. I thought that people, in general, might say, ‘Only 303 horses, the economy is dicey, let’s just wait until the Keeneland September sale and see if we want to buy something then.’ But that didn’t happen. There have been people here wanting to buy horses and we had plenty of traffic in the sale barns. From that standpoint, the sale has been good.”
The final results included a gross of $13,349,000 for the 191 yearlings that were sold. The average was $69,890 and the median was $60,000. Last year, when the sale ran for two days, the 243 horses that were sold grossed $18,414,500 and averaged $75,780. The median was $50,000.
"Overall, it was a similar marketplace to last year, which was what we all truly expected," said Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning. "But in talking to both buyers and consignors, we felt it was better in some ways and it felt better to them, too. The buyers had a harder time buying this year and the consignors felt like they had a little bit more solid base on most of their horses."
A handsome colt by Harlan's Holiday commanded the auction’s top price of $310,000 from Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet operation and George Bolton. Banke is the widow of wine mogul Jess Jackson, who died earlier this year. Stonestreet and Bolton race 2010 Iroquois Stakes (gr. III) winner Astrology in partnership.
Sheikh Mohammed’s bloodstock manager John Ferguson was the immediate underbidder and trainer Dale Romans also tried buy the sturdy bay yearling.
“He’s a nice horse, a real pretty horse by a good stallion,” said Kentucky bloodstock agent and Stonestreet advisor John Moynihan. “He’s a beautiful mover and he looks like he’ll be sound.”
The colt is the first foal out of the 7-year-old winning Include mare Acrosstheborder, who finished third in the 2007 Green Oaks Stakes at Delta Downs. Crossroads Sales Agency, agent, consigned him to the Fasig-Tipton July auction.
“He’s always been a nice horse–a beautiful colt–and he just grew up at the right time,” said Greg Burchell, the managing partner of Central Kentucky-based Crossroads Sales Agency and Crossroads Farm. “It’s just like with any other horse, whether you’re pointing it for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) or for a sale, it has to peak at the right time, and we were fortunate that he peaked at the right time.
“He’s a January foal and he’s very mature; that helps when you’re trying to get a yearling to the July sale,” Burchell continued. “He looks fast and durable and he has a lot of bone and a beautiful walk, so he has all the qualities that people are looking for in a racehorse.”
Burchell, in the name of Old Friends Stable, purchased Acrosstheborder, carrying the Harlan’s Holiday colt, for $85,000 at the 2009 Keeneland November breeding stock sale. Burchell was acting on behalf of a client whom he was reluctant to identify. But according to The Jockey Club’s records, Alvin D. Haynes bred the $310,000 yearling, which was foaled and raised at 140-acre Crossroads Farm.
“When we got here at the sale, I thought that if we got $150,000 we would be doing good,” Burchell said. “But the closer we got to selling this colt, the more of the right people we had on him. We had been told more than once that we had either the best horse in the sale or one of the best horses.”
Burchell’s wife, Beth, and the couple’s adopted daughter, Bella Zanotti, found Acrosstheborder for Burchell, including the mare’s name on a short list of about eight horses that they put together at the Keeneland November auction. Zanotti was actually the one who spotted the mare first when inspecting the horses in Select Sales’ consignment.
“I told Beth, ‘This is a really pretty horse; you have to go look at her,’ ” Zanotti said.
Beth Burchell was impressed.
“She was a big mare with scope, a kind eye, and good substance and bone,” she remembered. “We were looking for a young mare that was decent on the racetrack that we could breed and get commercial value out of. The Harlan’s Holiday (foal in utero) was a nice inclusion in the package, but it wasn’t the biggest factor in buying the mare at that point.”
The Fasig-Tipton July sale’s second-most expensive yearling and the most expensive filly was a flashy daughter of Tapit that brought $300,000. Winchell Thoroughbreds, which raced Tapit, purchased the chestnut yearling, with the operation’s longtime manager, David Fiske, signing the sale ticket.
“It (the price) was about what we expected,” Fiske said. “She was the only one we came to bid on. She’s big and she’s got a lot of length; she’s a nice filly. Given what (a success) Tapit is (as a sire), I thought she was probably well worth the money. Nobody loves Tapit more than we do.”
According to Fiske, Winchell Thoroughbreds, headed by Joan Winchell and her son, Ron, still is significantly involved in the ownership of Tapit, which stands at Gainesway Farm near Lexington.
The $300,000 filly is out of the 9-year-old winning Vicar mare Easily and is a half sister to the winner Vicarious Moon (by Malibu Moon ). Easily is a half sister to four added-money winners, including grade III winners Til Forbid (by Temperence Hill) and Hold Old Blue (by Seattle Song). Til Forbid is the dam of grade III winner Scoop (by Gone West). Other family members include grade II winner Softly (by Binalong) and grade III winner Coragil Cat (by Forest Wildcat).
Gainesway’s sales division, as agent, consigned the $300,000 yearling to the Fasig-Tipton July sale and Gainesway Thoroughbreds bred her.
“She is a very, very special filly,” said Gainesway president Antony Beck. “She moves incredibly well. She has a wonderful female family that produces a lot of high class filly runners. She sold very well, and I’m very happy. She deserved it.”