Fasig-Tipton Texas Sale Enjoys Upswings

Fasig-Tipton's Texas summer yearling sale closed out its two-day run Tuesday at Lone Star Park with across-the-board increases in its key business figures from a year ago.

The gross revenue and median price soared 24.8% and 32.1%, respectively, while the average price rose 1.2%. The average and median reached their highest levels since Fasig-Tipton began conducting the auction, which is sponsored by the Texas Thoroughbred Association, in 1997. The gross was the second-highest ever during that time period, eclipsed only by the 1997 total of $3,478,000 when 417 horses were sold.

"I was very satisfied," said Tim Boyce, the director of sales for Fasig-Tipton Texas. "When you add (more than 100) horses to the catalogue and your average increases, you've got to be pretty proud."

In addition to the increase in the size of the catalogue from last year, the sale faced another challenge because Texas still has not approved video lottery terminals (VLTs), which are increasing the purses in surrounding states.

But the market remained healthy because "we had much better quality individuals here this year," Boyce said. "That's what everybody has told me. Consignors said they brought better horses, and the buyers agreed with them. And the horses are getting better prepared. There is a learning curve to that. I think some outfits every year are bringing in better help and better horses. I'm not surprised by the fact that we did so well even though we don't have VLTs."

It also didn't hurt that Fasig-Tipton increased its effort to recruit Louisiana-breds this year. Several consignors said buyers paid a premium for Louisiana-breds because of the growth in Louisiana purses resulting from slots.

The 270 horses sold grossed $3,360,800 and averaged $12,447. The median was $7,000. A year ago, 219 horses were sold for a gross of $2,694,000, an average of $12,301, and a median of $5,300. The buyback rate advanced from 24.5% in 2003 to 26.4% this year.

A Texas-bred Valid Expectations colt named Valido brought $82,000 to top the auction's final day. Fasig-Tipton listed Texan Leland Cook as the buyer. Produced from the 16-year-old Roberto mare Nifty, the handsome bay is a half-brother to grade III winner Renewed (by Lost Code).

Charles Woodson Ham II consigned Valido as agent for Cook and his family's Richland Ranch near Corsicana, Texas. The Jockey Club's records show that Richland Ranch bred the colt in partnership with Cook's wife Sue.

"Valid Expectations is really hot as a sire," Cook said. "His horses run, and they're precocious. There wasn't a horse in this sale that had the page that he had for his mare, who had produced a graded winner. You don't get that very often in Texas.

"I thought he would bring a lot more, but he came up late in the book (hip no. 403 of 407), and they didn't have the buyers here that they ought to have had."

The figures for the sale's final day were 136 horses sold for a gross of $1,455,900, an average of $10,705, and a median of $6,100.