By Shelby Downs
The performance of the Fasig-Tipton Texas sale of 2-year-olds in training March 31 exceeded expectations when the average price held steady amidst tumbling figures at juvenile auctions across the country. The sale was held at Lone Star Park.
“Coming into this sale with a good catalog and good horses, I was optimistic, and that optimism was well-served,” said Tim Boyce, director of sales for Fasig-Tipton Texas. “In this economic climate, breaking even is better than the alternative.”
The 144 yearlings that sold grossed $2,477,000, down 14.1% from a year ago when the total was $2,883,000 for the 168 that sold. The average was $17,201, up less than 1% from 2008’s comparable figure of $17,161. Meanwhile, the median price fell 35.7%, from $15,000 in 2008 to $9,650.
The buy-back rate was 30.4%, down from 35.4% last year. For the first time, this year’s figures include private sales.
Keith and Marilyn Asmussen’s Asmussen Horse Center consigned the sale topper for the second consecutive year as agent for Maggi Moss. Last year’s highest bid was $160,000 for a Louisiana-bred daughter of Stormy Atlantic named Akiane. Gentle Moment, a son of Yankee Gentleman also bred in Louisiana, beat that figure when one of the Asmussens’ sons, trainer Steve Asmussen, signed the $170,000 sale ticket as agent for Ragin Cajun Stable.
“I was thinking he would be our highest selling horse,” Marilyn Asmussen said. “He had so much interest because he’s a genuine product with a terrific mature attitude. He does everything right. I’m really pleased because I know Steve will do everything to make sure he reaches his absolute potential. You want these horses you sell to go on and succeed.”
Gentle Moment, who worked an eighth of a mile in :10 3/5 March 29, is out of the 12-year-old stakes-placed Carr de Naskra mare Carrena Rose. The bay colt was sold twice in 2008, first for $31,000 to B.P. Stables at the Ocala Breeders Sales Co. winter mixed sale and then for $67,000 to James Schenck at the Keeneland September yearling auction.
Dubai-based trainer Aditiyan Selvaratnam, who made his first visit to both the Fasig-Tipton Texas sale and the United States, will be taking over a half-million dollars of horseflesh back with him to the United Arab Emirates as the auction’s biggest spender.
“This is a great country with great people,” said Selvaratnam, who previously trained for the royal family in Kuwait. “An agent for Fasig-Tipton suggested I come because of the good value. The horses look good and have good prices.”
The 15 horses he purchased for $701,000 were scheduled to spend one day in quarantine at Lone Star, then ship to Kentucky for one month before going to Dubai, where they will begin competing this fall.
Selvaratnam bought the auction’s highest-priced filly, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Indian Charlie that sold for $80,000. Consigned by Wolf Creek Farm, agent, the bay filly breezed an eighth in :10 2/5. She is the first foal out of the 7-year-old unraced War Chant mare Enchant, who is a half-sister to stakes winners Snipewalk and Sophie My Love.