The $2.1 million sale-topper; Hip #55 (colt; Street Cry - Sage Cat by Tabasco Cat).

The $2.1 million sale-topper; Hip #55 (colt; Street Cry - Sage Cat by Tabasco Cat).

Joe DiOrio

Fasig-Tipton Sale Suffers Setbacks

Average price falls only 2.2%, but gross drops 19.5% at Fasig-Tipton 2-year-old sale

The Fasig-Tipton Florida select juvenile auction has lost momentum following a glorious run that peaked with a series of world records in 2006 and 2007.

This year's edition of the auction, held Tuesday, Feb. 26, at Calder Race Course, suffered downturns from 2007 of 17.7% and 19.5%, respectively, in the number of horses sold and gross revenue. The average price declined 2.2%, and the median price fell 8%.

"I think we’ve seen a change in buying philosophy at the top end of the marketplace," said Boyd Browning, the chief operating officer and executive vice president of Fasig-Tipton. "There is more rationality and less emotion. It’s a natural progression when a market has risen dramatically for a pretty long period of time. You can't continue to sustain the growth at those high levels."

The 102 horses sold this year grossed $35,100,000 and averaged $344,118. The median price was $230,000. Last year, the 124 horses sold grossed $43,622,000 and averaged $351,790. The median was a world record for a juvenile auction of $250,000. In 2006, the auction established world marks for a sale of 2-year-olds in training with its gross of $62,187,000 and average of $403,812. In addition, Fasig-Tipton sold The Green Monkey that year for a world record Thoroughbred auction price of $16 million.

This year's buy-back rate was 40.4%, about the same as last year's 40.7%.

"Once again, like last year, we didn't have Darley and Coolmore hook up in any significant bidding skirmish," Browning said. "You've also seen a little adjustment in the bidding levels where certain players who used to be over $1 million are now more comfortable spending $500,000 or $750,000 for a horse."

A strapping son of Street Cry was the sale topper, bringing $2.1 million from Sheikh Mohammed's bloodstock manager John Ferguson. Street Cry and another son, 2007 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Street Sense, both stand at Sheikh Mohammed's Darley operation in Kentucky.

Scanlon Training Center consigned the Street Cry 2-year-old as agent. Produced from the 10-year-old winning Tabasco Cat mare Sage Cat, he is a half-brother to Ellie Cat (by Crafty Prospector), who captured this year's Chou Croute Handicap at the Fair Grounds.

Paul Pompa Jr. of New York purchased the bay colt for $425,000 at the 2007 Keeneland September yearling sale. He worked an eighth of a mile in :10 2/5 prior to the Fasig-Tipton Florida auction.

"He was a good-looking yearling," Ferguson said. "He trained well at David Scanlon's this winter, and he came here and move beautifully on the racetrack. The great thing about buying horses at the 2-year-old sales is you're that much farther down the line. You can see how they  act and how they perform on the racetrack, and this horse really performed well."

Trainer Steve Klesaris was the immediate underbidder.

"We thought he was one of our top prospects coming into the sale," said Scanlon Training Center's David Scanlon of the colt. "He's by the right sire, and he has such good size and scope. He's a great physical speciman. After he got going on the track and performed, we knew he really had some talent."

Three other horses sold for seven-figure prices.

Irish agent Demi O'Byrne, saying he was acting on behalf of Coolmore Stud managing partner John Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith, bought a Speightstown  — La Comete colt for $1.7 million from Mike and Britt Mulligan's Leprechaun Racing, agent, and a Storm Cat — Country Romance colt for $1.5 million from Ricky Leppala, agent for himself, Carl Bowling, and Jill Julian.

Eric Guillot of Southern Equine Stables purchased a Fusaichi Pegasus  — Silver Tornado colt for $1 million from Hoby and Layna Kight, agents.

The top-priced filly, at $900,000, was a daughter of Medaglia d'Oro  out of Irish Cherry. Trainer Barclay Tagg signed the sale ticket for Roy and Gretchen Jackson's Lael Stable. The filly's consignor was Crupi's New Castle Farm, agent.