The Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall yearling sale bucked the prevailing negative trends in the Thoroughbred marketplace to post increases of 9.1% in median price and 5.7% in gross revenue during its three-day run that ended Oct. 28 in Lexington.
In addition, the number of horses sold rose 2.4% while the average price grew 3.2%. The buy-back/no bid rate fell from 35.6% last year to 25.1% this year.
“It’s had a little vibrancy and a little bounce, and it’s been a little bit better than expected,” said Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning. “We’re pretty pleased overall with the results.”
Fasig-Tipton officials announced this past March that they were canceling the Kentucky fall yearling sale, but after buyers and consignors complained loudly, the auction was put back on the sale calendar.
“We thought we had made a well-intentioned decision, but we quickly became aware that we had made a mistake based on the feedback that we got,” Browning said. “If you ask the vast majority of people here who were buying and selling horses, they would say they feel like it serves a needed function in the marketplace and we’re happy to provide it. If a horse happens to get injured and miss one of the select sales or if you have a later-maturing horse, it gives you another opportunity to sell him later in the year.”
The 566 yearlings that sold grossed $7,895,400 and averaged $13,949. The median was $6,000. In 2008, the 553 horses that sold grossed $7,471,900 and averaged $13,512. The median was $5,500.
There was a three-way tie for the auction’s most expensive horse after the prices for Dynaformer and Candy Ride colts, which were offered during the third session, equaled the amount of $150,000 brought by a Tapit – Frans Lass colt on the sale’s second day.
The $150,000 Dynaformer colt is out of the 20-year-old Native Prospector mare Knight Prospector, who captured the Rancho Bernardo Breeders’ Cup Handicap (gr. III) at Del Mar and the Porterhouse Handicap at Hollywood Park in 1993. He is a half-brother to six winners, including Estreno (by Holy Bull), who finished second in the 2002 Hyogo Championship (Jpn-III).
Bloodstock agent Julie Cauthen purchased the colt for Donegal Racing, a partnership that Iowa attorney Jerry Crawford is putting together. She was sitting in the Fasig-Tipton sale pavilion with Franklin G. Smith, who will break the dark bay or brown yearling in South Carolina.
“He has beautiful balance, and he’s a ‘scopey’ horse; he looks like a two-turn, classic type of horse,” Cauthen said. “We were lucky to get him. I’m delighted.”
Dale Romans, who trains horses for Crawford, arrived on the Fasig-Tipton grounds soon after the colt went through the sale ring.
“He’s a little racier-looking than most of the Dynaformers, and I thought he was the best horse in the sale,” Romans said. “Jerry has put together a partnership and we bought several horses for it at Keeneland, but we kind of needed a marquis horse, and I think he fits the bill.”
Robert and Blythe Clay’s Three Chimneys Sales consigned the colt for Takeshi Fujita, who bred him in Kentucky.
“He’s a lot more refined than most Dynaformers, and he has a great head on him; he’s beautiful,” said Elizabeth Voss, the director of sales for Three Chimneys Farm. “He did everything just right. The owner usually races everything, but he decided at the last second to sell him and that’s why he (the colt) is here. He had a nice, low reserve, and we had a lot of action on him.”
The $150,000 Candy Ride colt is the first foal produced from the 8-year-old Family Calling mare Midwife, who won the 2004 Palo Alto Handicap at Bay Meadows and finished third in the Yerba Buena Breeders’ Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Golden Gate Fields and two other added-money events. Lynden Branch, who manages country singer Toby Keith’s Dream Walkin’ Farms in Oklahoma, purchased the bay yearling from Viking Stud, agent. Richard and Connie Snyder, who live in New Mexico, bred the colt in Kentucky.
"He's a really nice colt," said Viking Stud owner Pam Littrell. "Everything fit, and he has the size you want. He's not huge, but he's a good-sized horse. Because of the kind of colt he was, we weren't surprised by his price."
During the Fasig-Tipton sale’s final session, the 197 yearlings that sold grossed $3,112,800 and averaged $15,801. The median was $5,500, and the buy-back/no bid rate was 21.2%.