08/14/2008 11:00PM

Average hits high-water mark at N.Y.-bred sale

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The annual Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale posted a record average of $54,390 last weekend in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Gross receipts were $5,439,000 for 100 sold, compared to $5,831,500 for 113 sold in 2007. The average price increased 5.4 percent.

However, the buy-back rate was high, with 90 listed as not sold.

The results were fueled by 12 statebreds hitting the six-figure mark, topped by an Exchange Rate colt purchased for $250,000 by Buzz Chace, agent for West Point Thoroughbreds.

Consigned by McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds LLC, agent, and named Cowboy Exchange, he is out of the stakes-placed Caller I.D. mare Star One One. The colt is a half-brother to stakes winner North Beach Condo, from a family that includes millionaire and Grade 1 Carter Handicap winner On the Line.

The next highest price was $200,000 for a half-sister to the popular graded stakes winner Naughty New Yorker. The property of Stepwise Farm, with Denali Stud's Craig and Holly Bandoroff as agent, the filly was purchased by Debbie Easter, agent for Morrowdale.

The husband-wife veterinarian team of William Wilmot and Joan Taylor own and operate Stepwise Farm, a few miles east of Saratoga Springs.

The $200,000 filly is by Songandaprayer out of Naughty Natisha, by Known Fact. Naughty Natisha also is the dam of stakes winner Pupil.

The Wilmots also sold a daughter of Successful Appeal for $140,000 to Eisaman Equine; Denali Stud also was the agent for that transaction. She is out of Miss Turlington, the Seattle Slew mare who produced New York-bred multiple graded stakes winner Incurable Optimist.

Incurable Optimist is currently the leading sire in Argentina.

The Successful Appeal filly's second dam, Class Play, won the Coaching Club American Oaks.

Wilmot and Taylor, along with the Bandoroffs, spent a lot of time deciding to sell their horses at the preferred sale. They were somewhat disappointed in their select sale results in 2007.

"At the end of the day, we decided on the preferred sale," Wilmot said. "After all, it is the showcase sale for New York-breds, and the thought of 'big fish in the little pond' was there. We were thrilled for both mares, as we've foaled and raised every one of their babies. And in something of a down market right now, we thought this might have created a little buzz, because good horses do indeed bring good money."

James J. Barry purchased a Chapel Royal colt from the consignment of Paramount Sales, agent, for $165,000. Out of the El Gran Senor mare Devoted, he is a half-brother to New York-bred Clarksburg Queen, who placed in the Joseph G. Gimma and Maid of the Mist stakes.

Several state sires were represented at the sale, and a colt by Milfer Farm's Golden Missile fetched $90,000. The colt's dam, Precious Queenie, is a half-sister to multiple stakes winner Royal Strength. This family includes New York-bred stakes winner Rush Chairman Bill.

The highest price of four by Hook and Ladder was a $60,000 colt out of the Montbrook mare Montjac. Second dam Janjac is a multiple stakes winner whose family includes Schuylerville Stakes winner Our Dancing Girl and Woodward Handicap winner Island Whirl.

Hook and Ladder stands at Sequel Stallions New York.

Hittin the Note, a colt by Read the Footnotes, went for $52,000. His dam, the Sultry Song mare Royal Performance, is a full sister to New York Breeders' Futurity winner Infinite Justice.

Read the Footnotes stands at Sequel Stallions New York.

A Prime Timber colt who is a half-brother to stakes winner Smart N Fast sold for $50,000. His dam, the Fast Play mare Oh Miss Sophie, is a half-sister to the brilliant Williamstown, winner of the Withers Stakes in an Aqueduct record time of 1:32.79 for a mile. This family includes the outstanding runner and sire Broad Brush.

Prime Timber stands at Sez Who Thoroughbreds North LLC.

The high buy-back rate was on the minds of many after the preferred sale concluded.

"It's a very tricky market right now," Wilmot said. "Horses at the more modest level were life and death to sell, or didn't make it at all."