F-T Winter Mixed Sale Has Quality Stock

Sale company officials hopeful the market has stabilized.

The Fasig-Tipton Kentucky winter mixed sale isn’t one of the premier auctions of its type. But there are horses in its catalog that should be appealing to horsemen shopping for broodmares and broodmare prospects in Lexington Feb. 8.

Scheduled to be offered, as of Feb. 5, were three mares—Lucky Flyer, Rgirldoesn’tbluff, and Royal Parade—in foal to the hot sire Medaglia d'Oro , whose daughter, Rachel Alexandra, was the 2009 Horse of the Year. Rgirldoesn'tbluff already has produced her offspring, a filly. Other horses in the catalog included stakes winners Julia Tuttleand Rate of Exchange, both racing or broodmare prospects, and broodmare prospect Lavender Sky, a winner who finished second or third in four added-money events.

Julia Tuttle, a 5-year-old daughter of Giant's Causeway , has won four of 20 career races, and she finished second in the 2009 Light Hearted Stakes at Delaware Park and third in the 2008 Virginia Oaks (gr. IIIT) at Colonial Downs. Rate of Exchange, a 5-year-old daughter of Exchange Rate, won the 2009 Connie Ann Stakes at Calder Race Course. Lavender Sky, a 6-year-old winning daughter of Mt. Livermore, finished second in the 2008 San Gorgonio Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita Park and 2007 Audrey Skirball-Kenis Stakes at Hollywood Park. She also was third in the 2007 Dahlia Handicap (gr. IIT) at Hollywood and 2008 Santa Ana Handicap (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita.

“Even though this is a late sale (on the 2009-2010 mixed auction calendar), it’s a bit refreshing because there are certainly marketable types of pedigrees in the catalog that people will come in for and there are some young horses with vibrant futures,” said Bayne Welker, an account executive for Fasig-Tipton.

“We told consignors in our Kentucky October yearling sale and the Kentucky winter mixed sale that if they wanted the sales to be better, they needed to provide a little bit better quality stock and we would certainly do a better job of promoting those sales. As far as the sale company is concerned, you’re only as good as the horses you have standing in your stalls, so we’ve just tried to take steps to get a little bit better quality.”

In 2009, the Kentucky winter mixed sale, like many other Thoroughbred auctions, struggled in the midst of a severe American recession and a global financial crisis. The gross revenue for the 206 horses that sold was $2,392,000, down 62.9% from 2008. The average price of $11,616 was down 42.8%, and the median of $5,000 was down 28.6%. One bright spot was the buy-back/no bid rate, which fell to 15.6% from 24.5% in 2008.

Going into this year’s auction, Welker is hoping there won't be any more dramatic setbacks. The downward trends at many mixed auctions late last year and early this year were less steep than they had been, and some statistics held steady.

“I think we have reached at least a point of stability right now in the market, and the statistics will be up or down just a tick from where they were (in 2009) if the quality of horses remains about the same,” Welker said. “Compared to where we were last year, it (the auction environment) seems better because at least people are talking about buying horses and there isn’t the fear that there was. I think people have accepted where the market has landed. There seems to be a bottom, and they are willing to work with that and moved forward. Does everybody like where we are? No. But at least I think we all realize where we are, and everybody is willing to try to work on that and improve it. Last year at this time, nobody knew how far down the market was headed and we hadn’t reached any point of stability.”

The Kentucky winter mixed auction starts at 10 a.m. (EST) at Fasig-Tipton’s Newtown Paddocks campus.