Taylor Made Farm stallion Unbridled's Song.

Taylor Made Farm stallion Unbridled's Song.

Tony Leonard

Unbridled's Song Filly Tops Opening Session of Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale

A gray Unbridled's Song filly with a fancy pedigree brought $280,000 Monday to top the opening session of the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale of 2-year-olds in training, which was basking in the glow from the Preakness (gr. I) success of its graduate, Afleet Alex.

Trainer and former jockey Gregg McCarron, representing Elizabeth Moran's Brushwood Stable, purchased the expensive filly, outlasting Tim Ritchey, the trainer of Afleet Alex, who sold for $75,000 at last year's edition of the Maryland-based auction.

Ritchey signed autographs, and the Alex's Lemonade Stand booth set up in the sale pavilion was busy. The charity, which supports pediatric cancer research, receives funding from some of Afleet Alex's earnings.

"I've never seen as a big a turnout for any sale here," said Florida horseman Steve Silver. Two hours into the auction, cars were being turned away from valet parking at Timonium because there was no more room.

In all, 194 horses were sold for a gross of $9,035,500, an average price of $46,575, and a median price of $30,500. Compared to a year ago, when 175 horses were sold, the gross increased 38% while the average and median rose 25% and 45%, respectively. The figures for 2004 were a gross of $6,543,000, an average of $37,389, and a median of $21,000.

"We're very pleased," said Boyd Browning, Fasig-Tipton's executive vice president and chief operating officer. "The sale felt very, very good. There seemed to be a lot of depth in the buying base. It was a very positive day."

The buy-back rate rose from 22% last year to 24% this year, but was still well below the level where it is at most juvenile auctions.

The session-topping Unbridled's Song filly is out of the 8-year-old Seeking the Gold mare Girl of Gold, who is a half-sister to grade I winner Fantastic Look (by Green Dancer) and three other stakes winners. Fantastic Look is the dam of three added-money winners, including grade I winner Designed for Luck (by Rahy).

"It (the price) went a little higher than I thought it would," said McCarron of the session topper. "I thought she would bring $220,000, $230,000 -- something like that."

Prior to the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic auction, the filly worked a quarter-mile in :22.

"The bloodlines, the dam's side," said McCarron, when asked what impressed him and Mrs. Moran about the filly. "And Mrs. Moran likes Unbridled's Song."

Florida pinhooker Nick de Meric consigned the filly as agent. LRK Stable purchased her for $175,000 at the 2004 Keeneland September yearling sale. According to trainer Rick Violette, LRK is a partnership of "a few businessmen in Boston." He declined to provide their names, but one of the New York-based trainer's major clients is Seth Klarman.

Earlier in the day, LRK purchased an Aptitude – Devine Pet colt for $240,000 from Niall Brennan Stables, agent.

"We kind of traded dollars a little bit," Violette said. "We bought the colt and decided to try and get a profit on the filly. She's a really well-balanced filly, but she didn't grow a whole lot and we were kind of hoping for that. She's medium-sized. She's a good mover, and obviously, she's fast. She has a wonderful pedigree. She'll have a great home going to Mrs. Moran."

Said de Meric: "It was a nice price for a lovely filly. I loved her balance and athleticism, but as much as anything else, I loved her disposition. She showed 42 times yesterday, and she still would come to the front of the stall when you walked in with the shank at the end of the day."

The second and final session of the sale is scheduled for Tuesday, beginning at 11 a.m. (EDT).

Results from Fasig-Tipton