Updated on 09/17/2011 1:07PM

Average up 43 percent in a record session


MIAMI - An improving economy, the infusion of overseas money, and a solid catalog all combined for a record-breaking session at Tuesday's Fasig-Tipton Select 2-year-old-in-training sales held at Calder Race Course.

The world-record price for a 2-year-old was smashed twice when Japanese entrepreneur Fusao Sekiguchi spent $4.5 million on a son of his 2000 Kentucky Derby winner, Fusaichi Pegasus, just hours after John Ferguson, the racing and bloodstock manager for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, shelled out $3.1 million for a son of Stephen Got Even. The previous record purchase for a 2-year-old-in-training was $2.7 million for a Sea of Secrets colt at the 2003 Barretts March sales in Southern California.

All told Tuesday, 142 horses sold for $41,586,000, an increase of 31 percent from 2003, when 139 lots sold for $29,077.000. The average price of $292,859 was a record for this sale and a 43 percent increase over the corresponding average of $209,187 in 2003. There were 81 horses not sold, resulting in a buy-back rate of 36.7 percent. That was down from 43.5 percent a year ago.

There were four million-dollar babies sold Tuesday, equaling the number of seven-figure horses sold at Fasig-Tipton's 2000 sale. Three of those four horses from the 2000 sale - Yonaguska, Harmony Lodge, and Songandaprayer - turned out to be Grade 1 winners. Of the horses sold Tuesday, 22 of them went for at least $500,000.

"The sale was terrific at the top," said Walt Robertson, president of Fasig-Tipton. "There was a lot of depth from around the world. When we got here, and as we got ready for the sale, we knew we had several special horses, lots of them. Then they got to the sale and they were what we expected. With the buyers we saw show up, yeah, I would have been disappointed if we hadn't had a real good sale."

The presence of Ferguson, who bought eight horses for $7.625 million, and a wide variety of Japanese interests led by Sekiguchi, helped fuel the record-setting session. Last year, Ferguson bought just one horse for $500,000. In addition to purchasing the Stephen Got Even colt, Ferguson spent $1.5 million on a son Rubiano, and $750,000 on a son of Distorted Humor.

Sekiguchi was the second-leading buyer, purchasing six lots for $6,115,000. In addition to the Fusaichi Pegasus colt, Sekiguchi bought a son of Wild Wonder for $825,000. Pegasus Bloodstock, which represents several different Japanese interests, bought five horses for $975,000.

Nick Zito, on behalf of Robert LaPenta, spent $1.05 million on a son of Storm Cat out of the dam Add. Add is the dam of Inflate, who produced the graded stakes winner Desert Hero.

LaPenta, under the name White Horse Stables, purchased the Fusaichi Pegasus sales-topper as a yearling for $270,000. LaPenta, with Kip Elser's Kirkwood Stables acting as agent, got Sekiguchi's $4.5 million for the colt.

Elser said he began thinking the Fusaichi Pegasus colt could bring that much after the Stephen Got Even colt went for $3.1 million. Niall Brennan consigned the Stephen Got Even colt, whom he and partner Mike Ryan purchased for $157,000 out of the 2003 Fasig-Tipton sales in Kentucky.

"When Niall's colt went through for what he did, I started thinking that kind of number," Elser said. "That doesn't make any difference. When you got a horse like this it's fun to be around him, you're proud of him. You bring him up there and you know it's going to be a lot of money. You're not really counting at that point you're just watching the show."

Fusao Sekiguchi, who with a Japanese television crew documenting his day, put on the show, outbidding Satish Sanan. Sanan was also the underbidder on the Stephen Got Even colt.

Sekiguchi said he was determined to buy the Fusaichi Pegasus colt, who will be turned over to Neil Drysdale to train. Drysdale trained Fusaichi Pegasus to win the 2000 Derby.

The only other son of Fusaichi Pegasus in the sale sold for $700,000. Brian Morgan purchased the colt as an agent for an unidentified client of trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

Ferguson said the success of Ruler's Court - who was purchased for $400,000 out of the 2003 OBS Calder 2-year-old sales and went on to win the Norfolk Stakes - was an impetus for Sheikh Mohammed to delve back into the 2-year-old-in-training sales this year. Earlier this month, Ferguson purchased the sales-topper at the OBS Calder sale, a Wild Rush colt for $1.6 million.

The 10 highest-priced 2-year-old purchases were all colts. Those nearing the million-dollar mark included a colt by Unbridled's Song who was purchased by Ernie Paragallo's Paraneck Stable. Paragallo campaigned Unbridled's Song, the 1995 Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner. Trainer Ron Ellis, on behalf of owner B. Wayne Hughes, spent $850,000 on a Deputy Minister colt who is a half-brother to Harmony Lodge and Graeme Hall.

A Tale of the Cat filly out of the stakes-winning dam Too Too Divine sold for $650,000 to Mike Ryan on behalf of WinStar Farm.

John Oxley bought a Stephen Got Even filly for $550,000 and a Saint Ballado filly for $525,000. The Good and Tough filly who turned heads when she worked an eighth of a mile in 9.99 seconds on Feb. 15, was purchased by Demi O'Byrne for $425,000 on behalf of Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith.