Signs Positive for Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Juvenile Auction

Riding a wave of positive publicity, Fasig-Tipton officials are optimistic going into their Midlantic sale of 2-year-olds in training, which starts at Timonium Tuesday, two days after the Preakness Stakes (gr. I). Preakness winner Afleet Alex was sold last year at the auction for $75,000, and his success is a great promotion for this year's edition.

"You hope like heck a horse that you sell wins a classic race, and how much more perfect can it be for it to happen two days before your sale?" said Boyd Browning, Fasig-Tipton's executive vice president and chief operating officer. "It doesn't get any better than that."

But even if Afleet Alex doesn't come through with a Preakness win, there have been positive signs that the Midlantic auction could build on last year's sale records for gross revenue, average price, and top individual price.

"We've had a tremendous amount of interest in the horses on a pre-sale basis," Browning said. "The consignors have brought us some quality product, and the sale continues to produce good runners at all levels, including the very top."

The catalogue is the auction's largest ever, with 656 horses listed. There wasn't enough stabling at Timonium to house all the 2-year-olds entered, so Fasig-Tipton had to erect two tents. Stallions with offspring entered in the auction include such well-known sires as Storm Cat, A.P. Indy, Elusive Quality , Fusaichi Pegasus , and Unbbridled's Song.

Last year, 354 horses were sold for a gross of $13,227,800, an average of $37,367, and a median price of $22,000. A Silver Deputy – Livia B filly, now named Lady H, topped the sale when she brought a record price of $450,000.

The 2004 selling season was a stellar year for the entire juvenile market, but the financial growth at many sales of 2-year-olds this year has slowed down and some figures have fallen short of last year's hot pace.

"Is it as easy as it was last year? No," said Fasig-Tipton president Walt Robertson. "Is it good? Yes. Is it as easy as it was two years ago? Absolutely."

This year's auction lasts for two days, with both sessions beginning at 11 a.m. (EDT).