Adena Springs Broodmares on the Block; Half-sister to Peace Rules Leads the Way

Young mares in foal to young stallions were on display at the Adena Springs annual broodmare sale Thursday evening at Fasig-Tipton's Newtown Paddocks in Lexington, Ky.

Owner Frank Stronach offered patrons a hot buffet meal on a crisp fall night, though noticeably absent from the auction fare was a strong contingent from Awesome Again , who dominated last year's receipts.

"It went O.K.," said Stronach after the final gavel. "The market always tells you what you have. Our point was to have many of our stallions represented by as many mares as we can."

As is customary, included in the purchase of each mare was a no-guarantee, 2006 season to a designated Adena Springs stallion. Buyers were also offered the option of applying a credit--half the advertised fee of any designated Florida stallion--toward the fee of any Adena Kentucky-based stud should they opt to breed their newly purchased mare, or one meeting the farm's approval, to one on that roster instead (excepting Congaree  who is owned independently of the farm).

The key statistics for the evening's auction were:

--56 head sold for a gross of $2,206,000, down 2.1% from 2004 when 66 head grossed $2,252,500.
--The average of $39,393 was up 15.4% from last year's $34,129 average.
--The median jumped to $31,000 from $19,500 last year, good for a 59% rise.

Also noteworthy, the night marked the first time Adena Springs placed reserve prices on their horses. Twelve, or 17.6% of the 68 offered, were bought back. Twenty of the 88 horses catalogued were pulled out prior to the sale.

In all, just three horses met the six-figure mark. By comparison, in 2004, mares in foal to Awesome Again alone accounted for six. This year, the son of Deputy Minister was the covering sire for three mares (two sold, one bought back for $245,000), sired three, and was the accompanying 2006 season promise on another.

It took the brunt of the evening before the sales-topper stepped into the ring, Hip No. 285 (288 was the last), a 10-year-old Once Wild mare out of the Hold Your Peace mare Hold to Fashion. The bay mare, Wild Fashion, is a stakes-winning half-sister to multiple grade I winner Peace Rules. She was carrying a foal by 2001 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Red Bullet and came with a no-guarantee season in 2006 to Awesome Again.

"We liked the pedigree, the race record, who she was in foal to, and who she was going back to -- everything," said Las Vegas' Mike Abraham, who signed a $175,000 ticket on behalf of his partner, Albuquerque resident Pierre Amestoy. "If she were selling today across the street (Keeneland) she would have brought twice that."

The second-highest price came early, when Californian Ed Hudon, owner of Sierra Farm near Lexington, went to $150,000 to purchase 6-year-old Ennui, by Gone West, out of the grade I-winning Citidancer mare Urbane and half-sister to grade II winner Suave.

"I liked the pedigree and I like how they (Adena) supported her with the stallions they gave her," said Hudon. "I know the trainer of Urbane and he was very high on her. I also think Suave ran very well in this year's Breeders' Cup."

Urbane is in foal to Golden Missile and came with a 2006 option to be bred back to Touch Gold.

"The market was fine," said Boyd Browning, Fasig-Tipton's executive vice president and chief operating officer. "This sale has a following of its own. Obviously the Adena Springs program has a proven record of success both from a commercial and from a racing standpoint. People like the added 2006 season--it's a two-for-one package that offers real value."

"The game is good right now," said Fasig-Tipton president Walt Robertson. "It's as simple as that. Young mares are selling (well) everywhere."