Fasig-Tipton October Sale has Upbeat End

Second-day momentum at Fasig-Tipton's Kentucky October yearling sale helped deliver some statistical gains over last year's significantly larger edition.

The sale sold 55% fewer horses than a year ago, and gross sales and average price fell predictably by 39% and 5% respectively. The gross was $4,144,800 compared with $6,768,300 last year, and the average price was $12,832 compared with $13,483 last year. The median for the sale, however, rose 5% to $6,500 up from $6,200 for the 2000 sale.

"Before this week, I would have predicted a decrease," said Boyd Browning, Fasig-Tipton's executive vice president and chief financial officer. "I'm very pleased to see an increase in the median."

Browning also was pleased with how close the average price was to a year ago when a Saint Ballado colt topped the sale at $750,000. This year, the sale-topper was a colt by Unbridled, out of Debit My Account, that sold for $360,000 on Monday.

"It tells me this is a viable market for horses they weren't planning to sell in October," Browning said. "They won't give you a 50% premium here, but there won't be a 50% discount either. It's a fair market."

Tuesday's top-priced horse was a $200,000 daughter of Unbridled, out of Miss Nance, who was purchased by Buzz Chace for New Jersey owner Ernie Paragallo. Other six-figure horses included a filly by Awesome Again, out of Mine Tonight, who sold for $112,000 to Dr. Naveed Chowhan, and a $105,000 filly by Boston Harbor, out of Native Fire Dance, who was bought by the agent Heatherway.

Kentucky trainer Niall O'Callaghan purchased the sale-topping Unbridled colt for owner and Hall of Fame Saddlebred trainer Donna Moore. O'Callaghan trains about seven of her racehorses.

O'Callaghan said he had raced several horses against Debit My Account and found her to be a tough competitor. The mare, by Classic Account, won five stakes races at Turfway Park between 1996 and 1998, and finished third in the 1996 Falls City Handicap (gr. III) at Churchill Downs. She earned $448,642.

"He's also by a sire who, unfortunately, there won't be too many more by," O'Callaghan said. Unbridled was euthanized last week because of complications associated with abdominal surgery.

The colt was sold by Rick and Pam Littrell's Viking Stud. Rick Littrell owned the colt in partnership with H. Jack Hendricks and Roger Justice. Hendricks and Justice became partners in Debit My Account in March 1997 and raced her with Charles Bales. Littrell replaced Bales in the partnership in the summer of 1998 and the three men still own the mare.

The Unbridled colt was run through the first day of the Keeneland September yearling sale and bought back for $400,000. The partnership considered selling him as a 2-year-old or possibly racing him, but decided he would be a standout at the Fasig-Tipton sale.

"I think he might have been a little over his head that first day," Littrell said about the Keeneland sale. "We're very pleased with his price today, and we're convinced he is in the right hands. Niall is a great trainer and what he does will only make the mare more valuable."