Fusaichi Pegasus filly topped the opening session of Fasig-Tipton sale.

Fusaichi Pegasus filly topped the opening session of Fasig-Tipton sale.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Fusaichi Pegasus Filly Brings $800,000 at Fasig-Tipton, But Gross and Average Suffer Setbacks

The Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling auction produced an $800,000 filly Wednesday during its opening session in Lexington, surpassing last year's highest price of $700,000. Another positive sign was the buyback rate, which declined from an alarming 40.9% in 2002 to 30.3% this year.

But many of the other key business figures failed to keep pace with last July's results. The average price was down slightly while the gross revenue and median both experienced moderate losses.

"There has been a lot of strength at the top of the market, but there have not been any significant surprises or any dramatic changes between 2002 and 2003," said Boyd Browning, Fasig-Tipton's executive vice president and chief operating officer. "It's kind of indicative of what we saw throughout the 2-year-old sales in 2003 compared to 2002. It looks like it's a similar market."

The 152 horses sold grossed $14,078,000 and averaged $92,618. The median was $61,000. Compared to a year ago, the number sold and gross declined 8.4% and 10.9%, respectively. The average and median dropped 2.7% and 9.6%, respectively.

"We're doing okay, but we're not killing them," said consignor Craig Bandoroff of Denali Stud. "It's the same old deal; you've got to have what they want. You've got to have the sire, and you've got to have the conformation. If you have it all, all the money's there. If you don't have it all, it's tough sledding.

"Not having a Keeneland July sale probably affected us more than any of us predicted," he continued. "It brought people to town, and then they stayed a couple more days. Every pinhooker and his sister are here, but there are fewer end users. People are missing like (trainers) Wayne Lukas and Todd Pletcher."

The $800,000 session topper was a strong-looking bay filly from the first crop of 2000 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Fusaichi Pegasus. Produced from the Peruvian champion and group I winner La Chaposa (by Ups), she is a half-sister to North American grade I winners Chaposa Springs (by Baldski) and You and I (by Kris S.) Another half-sister, Peruvian Pride (by Baldski), is the dam of three added-money winners, including Peruvian champion Palestino (by Stash).

New Mexico track operator Stan Fulton purchased the $800,000 filly, with his Kentucky-based agent, Tim McMurry signing the sale ticket. The immediate underbidder was Tom VanMeter of Eaton Sales.

"The sire didn't hurt anything, okay, but the dam, she throws grade I winners. Just look at that page," said Fulton, pointing to the catalogue. "We'll keep her in Kentucky for a while--probably into September -- and let her eat some of your bluegrass. Then she'll go to New Mexico to our training center."

Paramount Sales consigned the filly for New Yorker William Schettine, who purchased her for $410,000 as a weanling at last year's Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

"I thought she was going to bring seven figures," said Schettine, who is a Florida farm owner. "But $800,000 is a lot of money, and she went to a really good home. I'm really pleased with who bought her, and I wish them well. Her ovaries, alone, are worth what she sold for today."

Midway through the session, trainer Bruce Headley went to $600,000 to acquire a colt from the first crop of Pimlico Special winner Golden Missile.

The colt, consigned by Angus Glen Farm, was produced from the Forty Niner mare American River, a half-sister to graded stakes winner Firm Pledge.

Headley declined to say on whose behalf he purchased the colt.

The first big-priced horse was one of the first through the ring, with James McIngvale acquiring a Cat Thief colt for $600,000.

J. B. McKathan, who with his brother Kevin represented McIngvale in the Cat Thief transaction, said they are looking for top-quality horses and that the Florida-bred colt consigned by Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency fit the bill.

"There are not going to be many as nice as him this year," McKathan said. "He has a good body and looks like he could be a very versatile horse."

The colt was purchased for $170,000 at last year1s Keeneland November breeding stock sale by Canadian Club Partners. Donato Lanni, who works for Hill 'n' Dale, said the colt was owned by about a dozen of his family and friends. The immediate underbidder on the colt produced from the Deputy Minister mare Langara was Texan Tom Durant, who was accompanied by his advisers, Hoby and Layna Kight.

"We're happy with the price," said Hill 'n' Dale owner John Sikura. "We thought he was a $500,000 or better colt."

The session's fourth-highest price of $500,000 was paid by Jeanne Vance fora colt from the first crop of champion Lemon Drop Kid. Vance, who was represented by trainer Bill Mott, campaigned Lemon Drop Kid, winner of the 1999 Belmont Stakes. Consigned by Lane's End, the colt was produced from the graded-placed mare April Starlight, by Storm Bird.

The second and final session of the Fasig-Tipton sale is scheduled for Thursday, beginning at 10 a.m. (EDT) at the company's Newtown Paddocks.

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