Gross sales, average price, and median price all decreased during Monday's opening session of the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling sale. The number of horses sold dropped by 40% to 154, down from 258 for the same session a year ago. Consequently, gross sales fell by 45.6% to $1,758,100. A year ago the gross was $3,230,800.
The average price fell by 8.8% to $11,416, down from $12,522 last year, and the median dropped 7.7% to $6,000, down from $6,500 a year ago.
"It was very much what we expected," said Boyd Browning, Fasig-Tipton's executive vice president and chief operating officer. "All in all, considering what we've seen in recent weeks, we weren't thrilled but we weren't disappointed either."
The session's top-selling horse was a colt by Unbridled, out of Debit My Account, that sold for $360,000.
Kentucky trainer Niall O'Callaghan bought the big chestnut colt for owner and Hall of Fame Saddlebred trainer Donna Moore. She heard about the colt first then called O'Callaghan, who trains about seven of her racehorses.
"He's a beautiful individual," Moore said.
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."
The session's top-selling filly was a daughter of Coronado's Quest, out of Winter Gone, that sold for $50,000.
The sale's final session begins Tuesday at 10 a.m.