Continuing the trend with the season’s previous yearling sales, the 2008 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern Fall yearling sale ended its three-day run at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, Md., Oct. 1 with downturns across the board and an increase in the buy-back rate.
The sale was topped by a $320,000 son of Holy Bull, consigned by Herb Moelis’ Candyland and purchased by Pennsylvania builder Ed Stevenson.
“You never want to be down, but everything in the world is down, especially this segment of the market,” said Walt Robertson, chairman of Fasig-Tipton. “We knew it was going to be tough below $30,000. It has been all year, and the activities this week sure could not have helped anything.”
Robertson said the 2008 edition of the sale lacked the lower-level trainers who have been known to frequent this auction and pick up solid horses in the middle-to-lower end of the market.
“That is the very guy that is hit by gas prices and anything else that you want to look at,” he said. “The economy hits the guy that operates day-to-day. That is the guy that has played here for years, that we have counted on, and there are fewer of those guys here today.”
For the sale, Fasig-Tipton reported 483 horses sold for $8,211,600, a decrease of 15.9% and 38.4%, respectively, from last year. The average was $17,001,a decrease of 26.8%, and the median fell 10% to $9,000 compared to one year ago.
At the close of the 2007 sale, 574 horses sold for $13,331,400, to average $23,225. The median was $10,000.
The number of horses not sold totaled 270 or 35.9% of the 753 yearlings that went through the auction ring. Last year, 193 or 25.2% of the 767 hips that were offered failed to sell.
The sale and third-session topper was produced from the stakes-placed Citidancer mare Disco Darlin' and was bred in Pennsylvania under the name Classic Thoroughbred XVII. Disco Darlin has three foals of racing age, two of which are winners.
“He went well above our expectations, but he is a very nice colt, strong, sturdy, one of the smoothest Holy Bull’s I have ever seen,” said Mike Palmer of Candyland. “I knew everybody was on him, but I really didn’t ralize that it would be this amount of money that he would bring.”
Stevenson, who signed the ticket for the bay colt, said his uncle, Donald Stevenson, purchased the colt as a gift for him. The two men own and operate Stevenson Builders in Bedminster, Pa.
The two men came to the sale looking to purchase an offspring of Holy Bull after having their first horse, Holy Okie Dokie, claimed away for $25,000 when finishing second at Delaware Park Sept. 30. Holy Okie Dokie (Holy Bull-Anita Garibaldi, by Honour and Glory) was purchased by Stevenson for $12,000 at the 2007 Midlantic Eastern fall yearling sale. She has earned $28,010 from a record of 1-1-1 from four career starts.
“We never expected to go this high on this colt, but he (Donald Stevenson) just said go ahead and buy it,” Stevenson continued. “We thought he might bring $60,000 to $70,000 in today’s market. My uncle did not start bidding until $200,000, and I asked him if he was serious and he said 'yeah.' He (the colt) just kept looking better and better every time we looked at him.”
The colt will go to Ocala, Fla., to be broken and then will be trained by Philadelphia Park-based Guadalupe Preciado.
For the final session, 157 horses sold grossed $2,659,900. The average was $16,942, and the median $8,000.