A Carson City ridgling led the way Sunday on the opening night of the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred yearling sale, bringing $165,000 from Michael Marceda, a financial adviser from New Jersey. Accompanied by trainer Sal Russo, Marcedo held off Florida pinhooker Becky Thomas to snare the muscular bay.
The first session's key business figures did not differ dramatically from last year's results. The 55 horses sold in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., grossed $2,484,000, up only about one percent 2004's total of $2,462,000. The median price increased 5.3%, from $38,000 last year to $40,000 this year. The average price dropped 2.8%, from $46,453 to $45,164.
"We don't feel that there has been much change in this market since 2004; the figures are virtually identical," said Terence Collier, Fasig-Tipton's director of marketing. "It was a bit like one of the New York stallions; it was 'Good and Tough.'
"We feel -- and obviously our judgment will be vindicated tomorrow -- that there are a stronger group of horses in the second session. The way the catalogue has fallen, I think you are going to see pretty healthy growth tomorrow night. We weren't surprised by it (the lack of change in the market) nor disappointed by it. It was very predictable. We were able to move a lot of horses, and that's a critical thing in this particular sale."
The buy-back rate decreased from 43.0% last year to 38.9% this year.
The Carson City ridgling was among six yearlings that sold for $100,000 or more.
"We looked at a lot of horses, and he was at the top of our list," Russo said. "He just gave me a good feeling. He really looked like a racehorse. He carried himself well, and he had a great walk. He was very athletic, and he was well-balanced.
"We didn't think he would be that expensive," Russo added. "He had a cut in behind his ankle that he got on the farm. We thought it was superficial, but it didn't look like a pinhooker would want him because of that."
Produced from the 14-year-old unraced Relaunch mare Careful Approach, the ridgling is a half-brother to Shaky Town, winner on Saturday of the Evangeline Mile Handicap at Evangeline Downs in Louisiana. Shaky Town (by Peaks and Valleys
) also won the Bob Johnson Memorial Stakes in July at Lone Star Park in Texas.
"There's a lot of good horses that have been 'rigs,'" Russo said. "Hopefully, we won't have to cut him. But if we do, it won't be the end of the world."
Francis and Barbara Vanlangendonck of Summerfield consigned the ridgling on the behalf of his breeder, Mrs. Gerald A. Nielsen.
The cut was located on one of the ridgling's front legs, and he bumped the other one while being shipped from the Vanlangendoncks' Florida base to New York. He had to be shown in bandages. But the injuries were minor, and the yearling was such an impressive physical specimen that buyers didn't hold his problems against him, according to Barbara Vanlangendonck.
"He looks really quick, and he has a beautiful head," she said.
The New York-bred sale's final session is scheduled for Monday, beginning at 7 p.m. (EDT).