Fasig-Tipton October Harvest Shows Market Color

Amid continued high buyer demand, the expanded Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale concluded Wednesday with the auction house posting across the board gains when compared to its two-day cataloguing last year. Held over three days, cumulative figures showed substantial improvement over the company's 2004 sale in gross, average, and median prices.

"Up, up, and up--three ups is always good news," said Fasig-Tipton president and auctioneer Walt Robertson. "The demand is high and this market is still pleasantly, unexpectedly strong. Getting quality horses sold is the key, and each year consignors are more willing to let us sell quality horses at this venue. We squeezed in every horse we could."

Key figures for the third and final session show 207 horses sold for a gross of $3,376,000, an average of $16,309, and a median price of $8,000. Eighty-one yearlings went unsold Wednesday. Since there was no third day last year, comparative figures for each session are unavailable.

Trade was once again strong at the top of the market with four six-figure yearlings sold, headlined by a son of Giant's Causeway  that brought a session-high $200,000. Hip No. 749, consigned by Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency, agent, sold to BBA (Ireland) Limited and was the sole representative of the former European Horse of the Year and North America's current leading sophomore sire in the 999-horse book.

Bred in Kentucky by Five Horses, the March 2 chestnut colt is the second foal out of the stakes-winning 10-year-old Mining mare Prospectress, a winner in both England and North America, including a score in the La Prevoyante Handicap (gr. II) for career earnings of $226,694.

Prospectress' first foal, Gravinsky, a Theatrical colt, is unraced at two. The mare produced her third foal, a colt by Vindication, earlier this year.

Coming in just behind that one was a son of Deputy Minister out of the stakes-winning 8-year-old Carson City mare Squall City. Consigned by Viking Stud (Pam Littrell), agent, the Jan. 26 foal secured a bid of $175,000 from O & H Bloodstock Partners.

A total 610 horses sold over the entirety of the three-day event, good for a gross of $11,099,100 (up 33.4% from last year), an average of $18,195 (up 11.7%), and a median figure of $8,500 (up 6.3%). Two-hundred and forty-six (246)--or 28.7%--of the yearlings went unsold this year.

In 2004, 511 horses were purchased for a gross of $8,317,200, an average of $16,276, and a median of $8,000. One-hundred and ninety-eight (198) horses went unsold a year ago representing a 27.9% buy-back rate.

Fourteen yearlings brought six-figure sums on the gavel (compared with 10 last year), including the sale's topper, a bay colt by Distorted Humor  that fetched $600,000 from California vintner Jess Jackson for his Stonestreet Stables during the second session.

"This was another diverse group of buyers," said Fasig-Tipton's executive vice president and chief operating officer Boyd Browning. "There were groups here from Russia and California, and this sale has traditionally been well-supported by our Canadian friends and that was the case again this year.

"This was a legitimate middle and upper market," said Browning. "There were seven or eight bidders on the sale-topper--Jess Jackson himself was here. We've shown you can bring in a legitimate horse and find the money for it."

"With everything up, we hope it brings us strong into the next sale in November," said Robertson. "We've got a good book coming up."