This year, 30 (44.1%) of the 68 horses offered were bought back by their consignors. Last year, the buy-back rate was 21.4%, with 15 of the 70 horses offered failing to find new homes.Ball Four had been offered twice at public auction prior to Wednesday's sale. Bred by B. D. Gibbs Farm and Grand Slam Farm, he was consigned as a weanling to the 2001 Keeneland November breeding stock sale, where Gaines-Gentry Thoroughbreds, agent, purchased him for $140,000 from Eaton Sales, agent. The following year, Eaton consigned him to the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale, where Florida pinhooker Robert N. Scanlon bought him for $125,000. Scanlon scratched Ball Four from the Fasig-Tipton Florida select sale of 2-year-olds in training earlier this year.
Ball Four, a 3-year-old winning son of Grand Slam, sold for $110,000 Wednesday to top the Fasig-Tipton horses of racing age sale at Belmont Park in New York. Joseph Brocklebank, agent, purchased the colt from Andrew Farm and Suren Hovsepian, who were dissolving a partnership.Ball Four is the second foal produced from the unraced Lyphard mare Making Faces, who is a half-sister to grade III winner Gold Fleece (by Deputy Minister) and another added-money winner, Don't Touch Lil (by Caveat). In May of this year, Ball Four set a 7 1/2-furlong track record of 1:29.38 at Belmont when he broke his maiden by 1 3/4 lengths. He also won a mile allowance race on grass in September at Belmont. In his last outing prior to the auction, Ball Four finished fourth in the Conifer-General-Buffett Turf Stakes at Lone Star Park on Oct. 30, Breeders' Cup Day. He has been with trainer Patrick Biancone since the start of his racing career.Fasig-Tipton reported that 38 horses were sold for a gross $362,400, an average price of $9,537, and a median price of $4,350. All numbers were down from a year ago, when 55 horses sold for a gross of $449,400, an average of $8,171, and a median of $4,700.