Gross Drops 19.2% at F-T Midlantic Sale
Photo: Lydia A. Williams
Colt, Lion Heart - Bye the Bye by Balzac, topped the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic preferred sale of 2-year-olds in training, selling for $575,000.

The Fasig-Tipton Midlantic preferred sale of 2-year-olds in training finished Tuesday with downturns of 6.6% in the number of horses sold and 19.2% in gross revenue from 2007. The average price declined 13.5%, and the median price dropped 18.8% during the auction’s two-day run at Timonium in Maryland.

“The market was a little softer, and it probably was a reflection of a downturn in the economy,” said Boyd Browning, Fasig-Tipton’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “Buyers continue to be more discriminating at almost all levels, too.”

Fasig-Tipton reported that the 327 juveniles sold grossed $15,757,400 and averaged $48,188. Their median was $28,000. Last year, the 350 horses sold grossed $19,498,700 and averaged $55,711. Their median of $34,500 was an all-time high for the auction.

The buy-back rate rose from 28% last year to 34.1% this year.

According to Fasig-Tipton president Walt Robertson, the Russian, Korean, and Philippine buyers that had helped the lower levels of the auction’s market in recent years didn’t shop at the sale in 2008.

“I didn’t see those people at the end of last week, and I knew we needed them,” he said.

The sale’s most expensive horse, a dark bay or brown colt from the first crop of Lion Heart, sold Tuesday, bringing $575,000 from Jeff Puglisi’s Puglisi Racing.

“He was our pick of the sale,” said trainer Steve Klesaris, who was sitting with Puglisi in the sale pavilion. “He displayed brilliance on the racetrack, and it superseded anything else that we saw. To me, it was what you would call outstanding.”

Produced from the 24-year-old Balzac mare Bye the Bye, the colt is a half-brother to Shossberg (by Broad Brush), winner of the 1993 Jerome Handicap (gr. I) and the 1995 Philip H. Iselin (gr. I) and Salvator Mile (gr. III) Handicaps. The 2-year-old also is a half-brother to Canadian stakes winner San Romano (by Cool Victor) and stakes-placed winner and stakes producer Wilusa (by Vigors).

Crupi’s New Castle Farm, agent, was the colt’s consignor. Jun Park purchased him for $190,000 from Eaton Sales, agent, at the 2007 Keeneland September yearling auction. The colt worked a quarter mile in :21 prior to the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale, and his clocking was the fastest that Fasig-Tipton officials could remember at that distance for the auction.

A Storm Cat colt named Hands Team sold for $360,000 Tuesday to become the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale’s second-highest-priced horse. John Stuart of The Stallion Co. signed the sale ticket, saying the 2-year-old was for a “prominent New York owner.” Stuart declined to identify his client, but the Kentucky horsemen was seen on the sale grounds with Jeff Singer, who was a partner in the graded winner Teuflesberg  .

Eddie Woods consigned Hands Team as agent. The 2-year-old, which worked an eighth of a mile in :10 1/5, was bred by Bill Casner and Kenny Troutt’s WinStar Farm and the Young family’s Overbrook Farm. Maverick Racing, an entity associated with WinStar, was listed as the purchaser of Hands Team when he was sold for $400,000 at the 2007 Keeneland September yearling auction.

Hands Team is the second foal out of the 10-year-old stakes-winning Dehere mare Descapate.

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