Competitive bidding at the upper reaches of the market pushed the Fasig-Tipton winter mixed sale above the buoyant auction of 2017, as gross, average, and median prices all rose during the Feb. 5-6 venue.
The sales company reported 364 horses sold for gross receipts of $10,436,800, up 9.8% over the $9,501,800 figure for 351 sold in 2017. The average price rose 5.9% from $27,071 to $28,673 and the median of $10,500 represented a 16.6% gain over the $9,000 median in 2017. From 574 cataloged, the 107 head that went unsold was 22.7% of the 471 through the ring.
Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning said the sale, topped by the $310,000 Medaglia d'Oro stakes-placed mare Girl Talk, reflected the same trends seen in other auctions, with significant demand for the better offerings and little or no interest in horses with perceived flaws.
"It's the same old story—significant demand for the quality offerings, with really spirited bidding today," Browning said. "There really weren't any surprises. You can really sell a good horse right now. There's a lot of demand and the one thing that continues to be encouraging at the upper end of the marketplace is the number of bidders on both the foals and the mares.
"There is still some depth in the marketplace for the quality offerings," he continued. "It's still not going to be any fun for those horses that miss the mark because the carrying costs are expensive and I don't see any change taking place there in the immediate future. I think you have to emphasize quality rather than quantity. That's what the marketplace is demanding of you."
Tricky One, a 4-year-old daughter of Unbridled's Song offered as a broodmare prospect by Gainesway, was purchased for $275,000 by Oussama Aboughazale's International Equities Holding to be the second-highest-priced horse through the ring Tuesday.
Bred in Kentucky by Winchell Thoroughbreds, the filly was produced from the stakes-winning Pulpit mare Simplify and is a half sister to the stakes-winning filly Simple Surprise. Simplify is in foal to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah . Tricky One was victorious in two of nine starts and earned $73,683.
International Equities Holding was the sale's leading buyer, with 16 head purchased for $1,019,200.
Jody Alexander, who manages Aboughazale's Sumaya Farm U.S. division, said the prominent Chilean owner-breeder was seeking mares to breed to Protonico , Aboughazale's stallion who stands at Darby Dan Farm.
A $997,587-earning multiple graded stakes-winning son of Giant's Causeway , Protonico is an Aboughazale homebred out of the A.P. Indy mare Alpha Spirit. The stallion, who stands for a 2018 fee of $6,500, was represented by his first foal when a colt bred by Sumaya was born Jan. 23.
"(Aboughazale) came Saturday and looked at a lot of the mares and this is one he picked out before he had to leave," Alexander said of Tricky One. "He really liked this mare. She's very attractive. He's still trying to buy quality mares to breed to Protonico. He believes highly in him and is very keen on getting good mares to him. He doesn't mind spending money to show how good (Protonico is) going to be."