Dehere colt, purchased by Paul Collins for $625,000.

Dehere colt, purchased by Paul Collins for $625,000.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Dehere Colt Puts $625,000 Top on Fasig-Tipton Opener

Higher quality and fewer numbers delivered substantial increases at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky's selected yearling sale in Lexington, Ky., which began Wednesday.

The average price of 122 horse sold during the opening session climbed 34% to $97,402 and median price rose 29% to $71,000. Gross sales of $11,883,000 were lower than last year's opening day gross of $12,408,000 because 28% fewer horses were sold. Reacting to concerns expressed last year that too many horses were jammed into the sale, Fasig-Tiption reduced the catalog. Wednesday's session offered 193 horses, or 25% fewer than the 258 offered last year.

"We were trying to get more selective," said Boyd Browning, Fasig-Tipton's executive vice president and chief operating officer. "Our aim was to be a little tougher."

The reduced catalog did not help the buyback rate, which increased to 36.7% from 33.7% for the same session of 2000.

Still, the strategy appeared to pay off overall. The stronger, more selective catalog also attracted buyers that sales company officials and consignors said they had never seen before prowling the barns at length. Buyers such as John Ferguson, bloodstock agent for Godolphin Stable, and leading California owners Bob and Beverly Lewis. By the end of the day, the sale topper had exceeded the top selling horse for last year's sale by $100,000, 10 horses had sold for $225,000 or more, and 41 horses sold for $100,000 or more.

"It used to be the Keeneland buyers would park near the entrance, walk through the barns to look at six horses, and leave," said Jeffry Morris, owner of Highclere Sales. "Now they are here for both days. Hopefully this sale will evolve and establish itself as a legitimate summer sale."

The sale also attracted some newcomers. Irishman Paul Collins' was shopping Kentucky yearling sales for the first time this week and took home Wednesday's top two selling horses. He paid $625,000 for a striking chestnut colt by Dehere out of Afleet's Gold (by Afleet), and a couple hours earlier bought a Wild Rush colt out of Mary Sloan (by Woodman) for $500,000. Collins bought both colts for his client Bobby Killoran, a businessman who lives in Ireland but has multiple business interests in England.

Collins' purchase exceeded last year's sale topping price of $525,000 paid for a son of Unbridled. The colt was bought by Cimmaron Stable, an ownership group made up of friends of Saudi Arabian Prince Ahmed Salman, who owns Preakness (gr. I) and Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Point Given.

"We just really liked him as an individual, plus he's got a great family," Collins said about the Dehere colt.

The Dehere colt was consigned by the Summerfield Sales Agency of Florida for owners John and Susan Sykes, who own a 1,000-acre breeding and training farm Cloverleaf Farms II north of Ocala, Fla. Maryland horsemen Marshall and Ginger Silverman owned the majority interest in the Wild Rush colt they sold. The colt was owned in-part by three other partners.

The highest priced filly for the day was a daughter of Dance Brightly out of Bestofbothaccounts (by Private Account) who sold for $325,000 to Kentucky businessman and Thoroughbred breeder Tracy Farmer. The filly is among the first crop of yearlings for Dance Brightly, a son of Canadian champion Dance Smartly, and was consigned by Dromoland Farm of Lexington, Ky.

Kentucky businessman and Thoroughbred breeder Tracy Farmer went to $450,000 to acquire a yearling son of Pulpit to top the early portion of the first session of Fasig-Tipton Kentucky's selected yearling sale in Lexington, Ky.

Consigned by Highclere Sales, the colt was produced from the winning Storm Bird mare Booty Tern, the dam of stakes winner Sooty Star. "The conformation was excellent and the pedigree was terrific," Farmer said. "We loved him."

Farmer bought seven other yearlings at the first session--a Pulpit colt, $450,000; Touch Gold filly, $220,000; Cape Town colt, $220,000; Confide colt, $220,000 Boston Harbor colt, $140,000, Dehere filly, $90,000, and Smoke Glacken colt, $65,000.

"The individuals were better this year, so that's why we bought more," Farmer said of his Fasig-Tipton purchases.

The sale concludes Thursday, with a session that begins at 11:00 a.m. (ET).
. will provide live, interactive coverage of the FTK sale. The live interactive coverage includes instantaneous posting of sale price and buyer (RNA price if not sold) and recalculates session totals as well as consignor, sire, and buyer averages after each horse is sold.


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