Lion Heart colt, brought top price at Monday's Fasig-Tipton Kentucky yearling sale.

Lion Heart colt, brought top price at Monday's Fasig-Tipton Kentucky yearling sale.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Lion Heart Yearlings Top Opening Session of Fasig-Tipton Sale

Canadian-based Bear Stable went to $350,000 for a bay colt from the first crop of Lion Heart to top Monday's first session of the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky yearling sale in Lexington.

Canadian-based Bear Stable went to $350,000 for a bay colt from the first crop of Lion Heart to top Monday’s first session of the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky yearling sale.

Hip-by-hip Results

The session topper was produced from the Deputy Minister mare Aim for the Moon and was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, on behalf of breeder White Fox Farm.

Trainer Reade Baker, who assisted Bear Stable owner Danny Dion in the purchase, said the colt “is a very special horse. He has great balance.”

Baker said he believed the colt would cost substantially more if he had been consigned to the Keeneland September yearling sale.

FTK officials reported 177 horses sold Monday for a gross of $15,811,000, an average price of $89,328, and a median of $75,000. The 90 horses that did not sell represented a Reserve Not Attained rate of 34%. During the same session one year ago, 154 horses averaged $108,610 from a gross of $16,726,000, with a median price of $75,000. The RNA rate was 27%, with 56 not sold.

The first yearling sale of the year, the first day of the FTK sale has a special niche within the equine auction marketplace since it has a “New Sire Showcase” for stallions whose oldest horses are 2-year-olds of this year.

With the session average down 17.8%, FTK officials noted that direct comparisons between this year’s first session and the opening day last year are misleading due to the nature of the type horses in the Day 1 catalog.

In 2006, 15% of the first day’s yearlings were sired by proven sires, with only New Sire Showcase yearlings offered Monday. Additionally, the Tuesday final session will kick off with more New Sire Showcase horses.

“The proven sires helped day one last year,” said FTK executive vice president and COO Boyd Browning.

He acknowledged, however, that when compared with only the New Sire Showcase last year, Monday’s session average was down 14%, indicating some market weakness. He added that 2006 was a particularly strong year for all auctions.

“I think there’s a sense of relief,” said Boyd Browning Jr., the company’s chief operating officer. “The market’s still pretty healthy. It was a hell of a market we enjoyed in yearling sales in 2006, and if we’ve lost a little bit of that, we haven’t lost a huge chunk of it.”

"You are going to see it throughout the entire auction arena,” Browning said of the decrease, noting that there are a lot more hoses being offered for sale. “I think it is safe to say there has not been a substantial growth in the buyer base.”

“We all hoped it would be better, but if you look back at the spring and what’s gone on, I don’t feel bad at all about today’s average,” said FTK president Walt Robertson. “I cannot say I’m surprised about it. That’s kind of the way it’s been all spring. Is it a gauge of too many horses? Possibly. Is it a gauge of the market? Possibly. Is it all of the above? Probably.”

Second-highest price on the day was the $300,000 bid from agent Buzz Chace for a Lion Heart colt consigned by Green Willow Farms, as agent, The Maryland-bred colt was bought by Chace as agent for L and F Stables, a new pinhooking venture for veteran owner Lewis Lakin and West Point Thoroughbreds. Bred by his consignor, the colt was produced from V V S Flawless, a stakes-placed daughter of Deputy Minister.

Chace said he believes the new owners will be able to make a profit on the colt, "if he looks in February like we believe he will progress."

Chace and West Point Thoroughbreds president Terry Finley said they believed it was a good time for new participants in the pinhooking game, in which horses are bought with the intention of being resold later. As a fallback position, West Point operates a successful racing stable and would be in position to race any horses that do not achieve their reserve prices when offered at auction.

"The point is for them to sell," Chace said.

Among the other purchases Monday by Chace for the West Point-Lakin pinhooking partnership was a Strong Hope  colt, bought for $210,000. Consigned by JLT Bloodstock, the colt was produced from the grade III-winning Lord at War mare Lady Dora, the colt was bred in Kentucky by F. E. Dixon, Jr. and had been purchased by JLT for $30,000 at this year’s Keeneland January mixed sale.

The demand for Lion Heart colts continued when Hip No. 232 was led into the ring, bringing a final bid of $250,000 from agent Nick Demeric. Consigned by Three Chimneys Farm, agent, the colt was bred in Kentucky be Eddie Marshall, Desmond Ryan, and Kittys Stable. The colt had been purchased by Bloodstock Management for $180,000 at the 2006 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November mixed sale.

Also bringing a top bid of $250,000 was a Perfect Soulcolt from the first crop of Canadian champion and garde I winner Perfect Soul. Consigned by Darby Dan Farm, the colt was purchased by Racing Partnership Canada.

Next on the list of six-figure yearlings was a Domestic Dispute colt, purchased by Maurice W. Miller III for $240,000 from the consignment of Michael and Julia O'Quinn.

A filly from the first crop of Argentine champion Candy Ride was sold for $230,000 as the session's fourth-highest priced offering. Consigned by John Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, the filly was purchased by trainer John Kimmel, on behalf of internet entrepreneur Drew Rayman. Purchased by Robsham Farms for $105,000 at last year’s Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s October sale, the filly is the first foal produced from the Pentellicus mare Pellicus Affair. She was bred in Florida by Dr. Alice Russell.

"She's a good-sized filly from the first crop of a real racehorse," Kimmel said. "Nobody knows just how good Candy Ride was because he could never make a sustained campaign. This filly is very physically appealing, and she fits into what we want to do."

Kimmel said the filly will join a pinhooking operation being set up by Rayman, who races as Rayzin the Bar Stable. If she and other horses bought to be resold as 2-year-olds do not bring the prices Rayman is seeking when sent back through the ring, they will be raced by the owner.

Rayman is CEO and chief creative officer for i33, an Internet marketing firm.

Also purchased by Kimmel on behalf of Rayman was the first foal sired by champion Smarty Jones  to sell at auction as a yearling. The filly, consigned by Perrone Stables Ltd., was purchased for $150,000. Produced from the Lord at War mare Must Be a Lady, the filly was bred in Kentucky by B. P. Walden and B. M. Kelley and did not attain his reserve of $125,000 at the 2006 Keeneland November sale.

The sale concludes Tuesday with a session that begins at 10 a.m.