04/15/2009 12:00AM

Australian broodmare sale shows sharp declines

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Australia's Inglis Easter select broodmare sale ended its second day Wednesday with the steep declines that have been common at other Thoroughbred sales recently.

The three-day 2009 select sale has been affected by the slumping economy, but its financial figures also are suffering by comparison with last year's two-day auction, when the much-anticipated Swettenham Stud dispersal yielded record results. The 52 Swettenham mares sold for a total of about $8,087,400 last season.

One day after Tuesday's opening session posted extreme losses of 66 percent in average price and 74 percent in median, the Wednesday session rebounded somewhat with declines of 29 percent for the average price and 26 percent in median. But year-to-year figures through Wednesday were sharply down. Gross fell 69 percent, while the average and median prices were 56 percent and 63 percent lower, respectively.

Through Tuesday, the select auction had sold 282 broodmares or broodmare prospects for a total of about $10,473,480, resulting in an average price of approximately $37,140. The median was about $37,139.

Patinack Farms bought both the Tuesday and Wednesday session-toppers when it paid about $558,000 for Devil Moon, a 6-year-old King Cugat daughter, and about $342,000 for La Montagna, a 7-year-old Monashee Mountain mare. Both mares are Group 1 winners, and La Montagna sold in foal to Haradasun.

The final select session was to take place Thursday at the William Inglis and Son's Newmarket facility in Sydney. The highlight of the final session was expected to be Samantha Miss, a three-time Group 1 winner by famed Australian sire Redoute's Choice. She is offered as a racing or broodmare prospect.

Free tattoo research offered

In a move welcomed by Thoroughbred retirement groups and owners of former racehorses, the Jockey Club announced Wednesday that it will provide free tattoo research services for people seeking to identify tattooed Thoroughbreds in their care. The free resource, called Tattoo Identification Services, will provide everything from basic tattoo look-up for legible tattoos to identity research for illegible or partial tattoos, according to the Jockey Club.

For legible tattoos, owners can pull up identity reports online at www.jockeyclub.com and the registry home page at www.registry.jockeyclub.com. For illegible or partial tattoos, the Jockey Club suggests that owners begin by consulting www.registry.jockeyclub.com for information on how to get identification, including tips for reading lip tattoos and a list if frequently asked questions, at www.registry.jockeyclub.com A Jockey Club customer service representative will provide identification research using the color markings, and registration photographs available in the registry's database.

Tattoo research services previously were available at a cost of $35 for basic identity information and $50 for research, including a detailed race record and auction history.

"We hope that Tattoo Identification Services will be a valuable tool for individuals and organizations seeking to retire, retrain, and find suitable homes for Thoroughbred racehorses when their racing careers are over," said Matt Iuliano, the Jockey Club's vice-president of registration services."

This announcement follows the Jockey Club's January announcement that it would offer a checkoff option through which owners and breeders registering foals can donate to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and Thoroughbred Charities of America. The Jockey Club has pledged to match those funds up to $200,000. So far, that initiative has distributed more than $100,000, according to the Jockey Club.

* Three Chimneys farm in Midway, Ky., will host a Kentucky Derby week open house for Thoroughbred fans at its stallion complex on April 30 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. The farm stands 2008 Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown; 2004 Derby and Preakness winner Smarty Jones; Dynaformer, sire of 2006 Derby winner Barbaro; and Sky Mesa, sire of 2009 hopeful General Quarters.

* The Old Friends equine retirement farm in Georgetown, Ky., will host its annual homecoming party on Sunday, May 3, at 5 p.m. The event celebrates the farm's retirees, including recent champion arrivals the Wicked North and Hidden Lake, and features music, farm tours, and food.