Fasig-Tipton Kentucky kicked off the 2006 yearling sale season on a strong note Monday as a Forestry colt was purchased by agent John Ferguson for $1.2 million, the first six-figure offering at the auction in Lexington, Ky., since 1983. Having been looked at by potential buyers some 200 times during the days leading up to the sale, the colt was highly anticipated as the session topper. There was a large crowd in rear walking ring as the colt was led into the sale pavilion during the final hour of the sale session. Ferguson, who was representing the Maktoum family of Dubai, said he made his first bid at $1 million while standing in the rear ring. The final bid was only his second one, as Californian B. Wayne Hughes, seated inside the air-conditioned pavilion, was the underbidder. Ferguson said he had first inspected the colt in April and had followed his physical development up until buying him Monday. "He has continued to thrive; I have always liked him," Ferguson said. "He is not a particularly heavy horse. He has the physical credentials and also family." The colt, bred in Kentucky by longtime Taylor Made clients Aaron and Marie Jones, was conceived in 2004, when Forestry's fee was $50,000. It has since doubled to $100,000 for the 2006 breeding season.
Alizea's Song, the unraced Unbridled's Song mare who produced the session topper, was bought by the Joneses for $850,000 from the Taylor Made consignment to the 2000 Keeneland July yearling sale. Second dam Alizea, a winning daughter of Premiership, is the dam of Fountain of Youth (gr. I) winner Songandaprayer and the stakes winners Lifeisawhirl and Island Emperor. Despite the oppressive heat, the colt handled the pre-sale inspection regimen with aplomb, according to Taylor Made's Mark Taylor. "He held up pretty well. He has got a strong constitution."FTK reported 154 horses sold for a gross of $16,726,000. The $108,610 average represented an increase of 14.2% over the session average a year ago when 184 horses were sold for a gross of $17,503,000. The median dropped slightly from $80,000 last year to $75,000 Monday. Importantly, the buyback rate fell considerably as the 56 horses not sold Monday represented 26.6% of the total through the ring, compared with an RNA rate of 38.2% when 114 went unsold. FTK president Walt Robertson labeled the session a "good sale" and attributed the increases to a cutback in the number of horses offered."Last year we had over 600 horses and we felt we had too many horses who didn't fit and we tried to tackle that problem by having fewer horses that didn't fit. We are certainly moving in the right direction. By and large, I thought there was some real strength across the board, especially for the quality."Robertson said the middle market – from $125,000 to $250,000 – was good and the "upper middle" was "great."The session's second-highest price of $375,000 came during the "New Sire Showcase" portion of the sale when Zayat Stables went to that level to acquire a Harlan's Holiday colt from the Gainesway consignment. Produced from the winning Bold Ruckus mare My Sweet Country, the colt is a half-brother to stakes winners Patriot Love and Deputy Country.
During the "New Sire Showcase," in which yearlings sired by new or unproven sires are featured in a segmented portion of the sale, the offerings averaged $103,867, up 9% over the 2005 auction.The final session of the sale begins at 10 a.m. Tuesday.Leading Buyers, Consignors, and Sires (Session One)Hip by hip results from Fasig-Tipton