Yearling Market Stays Strong at Fasig-Tipton Opener

The steamroller known as the 2003 yearling market continued to roll along at full power during the opening session of the two-day 2003 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky yearling sale at the company's Newtown Paddocks. The opening day session saw double digit increases over last year's opening day figures in each respective category.

Buoyed by eight six-figure yearlings, the sales company sold 269 yearlings for gross receipts of $4,691,800, up 32% from opening day figures last year. The average this year of $17,442 rose 32% above its corresponding level from 2002. The median of $9,000 was up 45%. The percentage of yearlings not meeting their reserves (22%) saw no significant change over last year.

A full sister to multiple graded stakes winner Flame Thrower led the opening session by commanding a top price of $400,000 from Stanford, Ky., resident George Saufley.

The Saint Ballado filly is out of the stakes winning Metrogrand mare Metromane and was bred in Kentucky by the Taylor family's Taylor Made Farm and Pollock Farm. She was consigned by Paramount Sales Agency.

The filly was originally offered by Taylor Made Sales Agency at the 2003 Fasig-Tipton New York Saratoga select yearling sale where she failed to meet her reserve and was bought back for $185,000.

Saufley, who has been in and out of the Thoroughbred business about 25 years and keeps a total of five horses at his Saufley Farm, said he was attracted to her because of her sire. "I really like Saint Ballado and she was a good looking filly. And it doesn't hurt that she is a full sister to Flame Thrower," he said following the purchase.

Flame Thrower, 2000 champion 2-year-old colt in Florida, retired in 2001 with a career record of 7-4-2-0. He earned $458,200 while racing for Gary Garber and trainer Bob Baffert. He currently stands at Cloverleaf Farms II near Reddick, Fla.

The second highest price of the night was $220,000, which was paid via a cell phone bid by Bar S Ranch for a daughter of Deputy Minister. The filly, which was consigned by Gainesway Farm, agent, is out of the Forty Niner mare Stylish Talent. Formal Gold bred the filly in Kentucky and she had not previously passed through the auction ring.

The sale continues through Oct. 21, beginning at 10 a.m. at Fasig-Tipton's Newtown Paddocks.