Fasig-Tipton's November select mixed sale suffered significant declines in gross revenue and average price Sunday night in Central Kentucky. But not all the news was bad. The median increased, indicating a more healthy middle market. And the buy-back rate, while high, rose hardly at all from 2000.
Sale company officials did not seemed dismayed by the setbacks, saying they were expected in light of mare reproductive loss syndrome, the sagging American economy, and all the uncertainty created by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, war in the Middle East, and anthrax scares. It also hurt, they said, that the sale did not have a mare of the caliber of last year's standout, Beautiful Bid, who was in foal to Storm Cat. The dam of champion Beautiful Pleasure, Beautiful Bid fetched $2.6 million.
"Hell yeah, we were apprehensive. I don't think there is a person who is doing business of any kind that isn't apprehensive right now," said Fasig-Tipton president Walt Robertson. "But I thought there was pretty good action in spots here. The buyers were tougher on some of the mares than I thought they would be. But there was action everywhere on the babies, and the market for them seemed to be as good as it was last year."
Fasig-Tipton reported that 35 horses sold grossed $3,421,000 and averaged $97,743. The number sold was down by 38.6%, and the gross and average were down by 55.1% and 26.9%, respectively. The median was $52,000, which represented an 8.3% increase. Last year, 57 horses sold for a gross of $7,625,000, an average of $133,772, and a median of $48,000. The buy-back rate was 41.7% this year compared to 41.2% in 2000.
Stormy Pick, winner last year of the Spinaway (gr. I) and Sorority (gr. III) Stakes brought the sale's top price of $700,000. Consigned as a racing or broodmare prospect by Taylor Made Sales Agency, as agent for Raymond Dweck, the 3-year-old daughter of Storm Creek was purchased by Robert E. Courtney Jr. of Crestfield Farm near Lexington. He was representing a long-time Crestfield client, Jaime Carrion. The immediate underbidder was Newsells Park Stud of England.
Carrion's plans for Stormy Pick do not include a return to racing.
"We'll breed her; she's going into the broodmare band," Courtney said. "She fits right into our program. She's a grade I winner. We loved her."
An earner of $441,900, Stormy Pick captured three added-money events this year, including the Miss Woodford Stakes at Monmouth Park on Sept. 2 and the Stormy Blues Breeders' Cup Handicap at Pimlico on Oct. 6. In her last outing prior to being sold at Fasig-Tipton, she finished fifth in the Oct. 20 Half Moon Stakes at the Meadowlands
Courtney also bought the sale's highest-priced weanling for Carrion, spending $250,000 for a Forestry filly who is a half-sister to grade II winner Sovereign Kitty (by Sovereign Dancer). The filly's second dam, Sharp Kitty, produced champion Family Style (by State Dinner) and grade I winner Lost Kitty (by Magesterial). Family Style is the dam of French stakes winner Polish Style (by Danzig).
"She's lovely filly," Courtney said. "We bought her because of her pedigree. She's got residual value. We don't know what we're going to do with her. We don't know if we are going to resell her or race her. But we have a racing stable, so there is a good chance that she will go in that direction. It (her price) was more than we thought it would be, but with Family Style in her pedigree, we thought she was worth it."
Produced from the 15-year-old Valdez mare I'm No Pussycat, the Foresty weanling was consigned by Taylor Made as agent. She was bred in Florida by Arthur I. Appleton, who owns Bridlewood Farm near Ocala.
Newsells Park Stud purchased the sale's second-highest-priced horse, spending $475,000 for the grade III-winning mare Evening Promise, who is carrying a foal from the first crop of 2000 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Fusaichi Pegasus. A 5-year-old daughter of Aragon, Evening Promise was consigned by Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency, agent.
Robert Acton, who manages Newsells, declined to comment, saying, "We still have more work to do. We'll talk to you in six months." Acton was accompanied by his employer, Switzerland-based entrepreneur Klaus Jacobs. Last year, Newsells was a big spender at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale, paying $1.8 million for the Mtoto mare Mousse Glacee, who was in foal to Storm Cat.
Aly's Jul, the dam of grade II winner Forty One Carats (by Tactical Advantage), was bought back for $925,000. She was consigned by Taylor Made, as agent for Paul and Mary Anne Denes. Aly's Jul (by Alysheba) is carrying a foal from the first crop of Giant's Causeway.