Above Perfection, sold for $610,000 at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky sale.

Above Perfection, sold for $610,000 at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky sale.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Xtra Heat Bought Back at $1.7 Million

Champion Xtra Heat attracted a lot of attention at Fasig-Tipton's November select mixed sale, but failed to find a new home.

The 4-year-old daugter of Dixieland Heat, out of Begin, was bought back when the final bid of $1.7 million failed to meet the reserve set by partners John Salzman Jr., also the filly's trainer, Kenneth Taylor, and Harry Deitchman. They said the last bid got "very, very close" to their reserve.

"We'll take her home and hope for the best," said Taylor. "We tried."

Xtra Heat may race again this year, according to Salzman, but he didn't say where her next start may be.

"We need to get her back home and see if the sale took anything out of her," he said of the filly who has won 24 times out of 31 starts and earned more than $2.2 million. The partners bought her as a 2-year-old in Maryland for $5,000.

Even though she is such an outstanding race horse, Taylor said he and his partners decided to sell her because they are not breeders.

"We buy horses. We race horses," he said. "Breeding just isn't our thing."

Sunday's sale-topper was a bay filly named Above Perfection, who sold for $610,000 to Classic Star farm owner David Plummer. The 4-year-old daughter of In Excess, out of Something Perfect, will be sent to California where she will continue racing.

"We were interested in her race record," Plummer said. Above Perfection won seven times out of nine starts. "She is a very consistent horse. She will go into our broodmare band when she's done."

The top selling weaning was a son of Thunder Gulch, out of Disclaimed, who sold for $165,000 to Eaton Sales.

Fasig-Tipton's one-day sale was a mix of highs and lows. Consignors sold 36 horses for a gross of $3,499,500 and an average $97,208. The gross was up 2.3% compared to last year's sale that sold 35 horses. This year's average dropped a slender 0.5% and the median rose 15.4% to $60,000, up from $52,000 in 2001. The bad news was the buyback rate that jumped to 52% from 42% a year ago.

"There have been signals all year that the market is fragile in spots," said Fasig-Tipton president Walt Robertson. "If a young horse comes in here and doesn't vet fairly well, then they just take him back home. Buyers this year are even more selective than they were last year."