"We had a $4.5-million horse last year, and that had a big effect on the average," he said. "The average could be down a little bit this year, and it would still be a strong sale."At this stage prior to the Fasig-Tipton auction, it may be a little bit more difficult to sort out the talent in the catalogue than it has been in the past. The first under tack show for the auction, held on Feb. 20, was conducted under far from ideal conditions. The times probably weren't as many fast times as there could have been because the horses worked into a stiff headwind, which Browning estimated at 15-20 miles per hour. In addition, the wind made it difficult to keep the track moist, and some horses didn't handle the deep, dry surface well. As a result, more 2-year-olds than usual probably will be working back during the second and final under tack show scheduled for Sunday, beginning at 10 a.m. (EST). The sale starts Tuesday at 11 a.m. (EST).The Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. got the juvenile selling season off to a solid start on Feb. 19 at Calder. Even though the average grew less than 1%, it achieved a sale record high, and the median soared 37.1% from 2004 to set another sale record. The gross suffered a small setback.
The top of the market will get its biggest test of the 2-year-old selling season Tuesday during the Fasig-Tipton select auction at Calder Race Course. The catalogue includes a number of horses with attractive pedigrees that sold for expensive prices as yearlings.Powered by the spending of Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai and Fusao Sekiguchi of Japan, the South Florida sale rocketed to unprecedented heights a year ago, producing the largest gross revenue for a juvenile auction ever ($41,586,000) and the most expensive average price ($292,859). In addition, two horses sold for prices topping the previous world record for a 2-year-old in training, with Fusaichi Samuriai commanding the new all-time high of $4.5 million and Dubai Dreamer bringing $3.1 million.Boyd Browning, Fasig-Tipton's executive vice president and chief operating officer, expects the market to be "very strong" again this year. But he cautioned that the auction might not generate numbers that will surpass last year's amazing figures.