A small catalogue of boutique offerings combined with a dash of confidence from sale company officials and consignors could be just the right recipe for the 2008 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November select sale. The one-day auction begins at 3 p.m. Nov. 2 at the sale company’s Newtown Paddocks near Lexington.
“It is a great group of horses, and there has been a great deal of interest, and I believe it will be a great horse sale,” said Boyd Browning, Fasig-Tipton chairman.
Last year, the Fasig-Tipton November sale grossed $52,036,000 from 107 horses sold. The average was $486,318 and the median was $180,000. The buy-back rate was 25.7% with 37 horses failing to sell. The sale was topped by grade I winner Round Pond, who brought $5.75 million from Sheikh Mohammed’s bloodstock advisor John Ferguson.
In an auction filled with jewels, one of the many highlights of the 2008 sale will come at the very end when Kentucky Broodmare of the Year, Better Than Honour, enters the ring. The dam of back-to-back Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winners Jazil (2006) and champion Rags to Riches (2007) is being offered as part of a dispersal of the joint holdings of Southern Equine and Hill 'n' Dale Farms. She will sell as hip No. 188, the last offering through the ring.
“She is special and unique and we have high expectations for how she will be received,” said John Sikura of Hill 'n’ Dale, who owns 30% of Better Than Honour in partnership with Mike Moreno’s Southern Equine, who owns 70% of the broodmare who is selling not in foal. “Traditionally, when you have upheaval in the economy people look for assets that are global in currency and these kinds of horses are. The stock market is speculative and the banking business is speculative and horses are something that over time evolves and holds value. I am comfortable and confident that she (Better Than Honour) will set a new standard. What that will be, I don’t know.”
Said Tommy VanMeter of Eaton Sales,: “I have been telling everyone it is a great time to buy a mare, and the foals are going to be as strong as they ever will. It is going to be pretty bullet proof. The last mare in the book (Better Than Honour), those guys (her current owners) are bidding on 50-cent dollars. She is going to bring a lot of money, and I think there are going to be plenty right underneath her that are going to bring $1 million to $2 million, where maybe last year they would have brought $2 million to $3 million, but there is still good money for them. I think it is going to be plenty strong. It has got to be.”
Aside from Better Than Honour, who is expected to generate excitement, consignors are optimistic that the quality and selectiveness of the catalogue will stand up against the current world financial crisis.
“It will be the same story it has been for the last few months,” said Barbara Vanlangendonck of Summerfield. “The good horses are going to stay at the top and with some of the quality that is here. It is going to make everybody happy. These are once-in-a-lifetime horses they are selling. But with the horses that are not Better Than Honour and (grade I winner) Madcap Escapade, I think you have to be realistic with your prices.”
Mark Toothaker of Legacy Bloodstock echoed Vanlangendonck. “You would hope that with a catalogue of this quality that this sale would hold up very well. I am going to be very disappointed if it does not,” he said. “If this sale does not hold up well, then we are really going to see it drop off at Keeneland, especially after the first few days. I am going into it optimistic; Fasig-Tipton has put a tremendous catalogue together. I don’t know if it is going to be setting any records or anything like that, but if it will stay anywhere close to what they did last year it will be a job well done. This is the best of the best. If these mares don’t sell well, then we are in trouble, the market is in trouble.”
While many consignors are thinking positive, others are being cautious due to the sluggish world economy.
“Consumer confidence is down around the world, so I am afraid it is going to be reflected in the horse sales,” said Case Clay of Three Chimneys. “The one thing that might be a little different here is that this is the first (mixed) sale (of the season). There is some really good quality here and hopefully it will be a nice spark. The realist in me says consumer confidence is down, and it is very difficult to value these mares and we will have to wait and see and cross our fingers.”
Speaking about the sluggish world economy, Browning said, “Traditionally, whether it is in the horse business or the art world or any market, quality has been the safest place to be and we certainly have a lot of quality. A lot of these fillies and mares, people want to own them. I think there is some insulation (from the sluggish economy) with the quality of horses that we put in the catalogue, and we have a limited number of horses. We are not trying to serve the entire market here in November which might make it a little easier for us.”
In addition to Better Than Honour, the sales features such standout grade I winning and grade I producing mares as:
Hip no. 2- Madcap Escapade (Hennessy-Sassy Pants, by Saratoga Six), Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, agent. In foal to A.P. Indy.
Hip no. 25- Panty Raid (Include - Adventurous Di, by Private Account), Four Star Sales, agent. Selling as broodmare prospect.
Hip no. 34- Point Ashley (Point Given-Golden Thatch, by Slew o’ Gold), Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, agent. In foal to Distorted Humor .
Hip no. 42- Pure Clan (Pure Prize-Gather the Clan, by General Assembly), Lakland Sales Agency, agent. Selling as racing or broodmare prospect.
Hip no. 65- Stardom Bound (Tapit -My White Corvette, by Tarr Road), Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, agent. Selling as racing or broodmare prospect.
Hip no. 82- Unbridled Girl (Unbridled- Sound Wisdom, by Pirate’s Bounty), Summerfield, agent. The dam of grade III winner Denis of Cork, selling in foal to Harlan’s Holiday.
Hip no. 93- Zaftig (Gone West-Zoftig, by Cozzene), Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent. Selling as racing or broodmare prospect.
Hip no. 94- Zoftig (Cozzene-Mrs. Marcos, by Private Account), Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent. Dam of grade I winner Zaftig. Selling in foal to Hard Spun .
Hip no. 108- Blushing Ogygian (Ogygian-Fruhlingshochzeit, by Blushing Groom), Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, agent. Dam of grade I winner Street Boss. Selling in foal to Half Ours.
Hip no. 155- High In the Park (Ascot Knight-Czar’s Princess, by Czaravich), Property of EMFO Racing. Dam of grade I winner Divine Park. Selling in foal to Medaglia D’Oro.
Hip no. 161- Irish Smoke (Smoke Glacken-Added Time, by Gilded Time), Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent. Selling as racing or broodmare prospect.
Hip no. 175- Honey Ryder (Lasting Approval-Cuando Quiere, by Affirmed), Four Star Sales, agent. Selling in foal to Giant’s Causeway.
Hip no. 182- Lear’s Princess (Lear Fan-Pretty City, by Carson City), Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, agent. Selling as broodmare prospect.