08/13/2002 12:00AM

Average prices up at Saratoga and Del Mar


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - A chestnut filly by freshman sire Tale of the Cat sold for $300,000 in the final session Monday to top Fasig-Tipton's New York-bred yearling sale.

The auction was expanded to two days this year and the new format was deemed a success by Fasig-Tipton, which last week saw sharp declines at its boutique select sale.

On the final evening of the New York-bred preferred sale, 57 horses sold for gross receipts of $2,867,500. The average price was $50,307 and the median was $39,000. The buy-back rate was 30 percent, down from 36 percent at the opening session, where the sales topper among the 51 horses sold was a $170,000 Artax filly.

At the two sessions combined, 108 horses sold for a total of $5,345,500, an average of $49,495. The buy-back rate was 33 percent, down from last year's 36 percent at the one-day sale.

Last year, 82 horses fell under the hammer, generating a gross of $3,557,000 and an average price of $43,378.

"Consignors have the confidence to bring horses to this sale," Boyd Browning Jr., Fasig-Tipton's chief operating officer, said. "This was a very, very good market place. Eleven horses sold for $100,000 or more."

The Tale of the Cat filly, who was consigned by Eaton & Thorne Inc., agent, was bought by Ernie Paragallo's Paraneck Stable. Buzz Chace, who acted as agent on the purchase, was on the phone with Paragallo during the bidding. Chace also was bidding for another client, Charlie Hess, who dropped out when the price climbed past $260,000.

"I thought we might get lucky and get her for $200,000," Chace said.

"She's a very good individual. She should do well."