08/05/2008 12:00AM

$1.5M Storm Cat filly sold at robust first session


Fasig-Tipton’s Saratoga select yearling sale kicked off Monday night with increases in average and median and a $1.5 million session-topping Storm Cat filly.

Barry Irwin of Team Valor bought the session-topper, a bay half-sister to Grade 1 winner Lil’s Lad and a full sister to Group 3 winner Cherokee and to stakes-winner Art Museum. Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, agent, sold the filly, a daughter of Grade 3 winner Totemic.

“She’s got the most awesome body, she’s so athletic,” Irwin said. “She’s got everything you want.”

Irwin said he thought he had “no shot” to get the filly but considered her one of the best fillies he had ever seen.

“I really wanted to go to $1.2 million or $1.3 million, but the way I looked at it was, where are you going to get another horse like this?” he said.

The night’s top colt was a $1.2 million son of A.P. Indy and Pyramid Lake that Hunter Valley Farm, agent, sold to Will Farish. Farish stands A.P. Indy at his Lane’s End Farm in Versailles, Ky.

The sale defied fears over the nation’s general economy, though its gross declined nine percent on a smaller catalog. The session, the first of two, sold 60 yearlings for $18,160,000, down from the $19,867,000 for 76 yearlings sold at last year’s opener. Average rose 16 percent, from $261,408 to $302,667, and median gained 13 percent, rising from $235,000 to $207,500.

The auction’s buyback figures increased from 22 percent last year to 29 percent this season in an indication that sellers found the market somewhat soft. But Fasig-Tipton officials were pleased overall with the opening-night performance, given the nation’s overall economic situation.

“I think it was pretty much like we expected,” Fasig-Tipton president Walt Robertson said. “We had a few more not-solds than we’d have liked to have, but when you have them about 30 percent, that’s fine. Nobody said this thing was easy.”