03/02/2010 12:00AM

$2.3M Distorted Humor colt sold at F-T Calder

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Fasig-Tipton's Calder select juvenile sale justified auction executives' pre-sale optimism Tuesday when it produced a $2.3 million sale topper and significant gains in average and median price.

The single-session auction at Calder Race Course in Miami took a 10 percent drop in gross from a slightly smaller catalog and a slightly higher buy-back rate. The session sold 91 horses for $23,430,000, as compared to 111 juveniles for $26,151,000 last year, and the buy-back rate climbed from 35 percent in 2009 to 37 percent. There were 88 withdrawals.

But the bigger stories were the whopping 33 percent gain in median, from last year's $150,000 to $200,000, and the 9 percent increase in average price, from $235,595 last season to $257,473.

The sale-topping $2.3 million Distorted Humor colt helped the new consigning partnership of Stacy Yagoda and Jill Jullian make a splashy debut in the auction ring. Stonestreet Stables bought the chestnut son of Tomisue's Delight. His dam, an A.P. Indy mare, is a full sister to 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft, and he himself is a half-brother to Grade 1 winner Mr. Sidney.

Yagoda and Jullian paid $200,00 for him at the 2009 Keeneland September auction and sold him here in the name of their new consignment operation, Two Beaches.

By the end of the auction, 11 horses had sold for $500,000 or more to an array of North American and international buyers. Those results indicated that the top of the select market has weathered the global economic storm fairly well. But, as Fasig-Tipton officials and consignors had warned before the sale, the select juvenile market still is polarized, with much of the action centered on a few horses.

"We need more buyers," said Fasig-Tipton CEO Boyd Browning. "We need more participants in the industry overall. I think there's been less effect from the economy at the very top end, even though we've had a big adjustment in prices at the top end over the last four or five years. But we still need more participation and efforts to attract people into the game."