07/15/2010 3:39PM

Bargains tempt buyers at Fasig-Tipton's July select yearling sale

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LEXINGTON, Ky. – Fasig-Tipton’s July select yearling sale, which ended Wednesday, presented some good opportunities for buyers to upgrade their stock or test new waters, and some took that chance as prices generally remained lower than last year.

Carolyn Vogel, the New Hampshire-based owner of Crossed Sabres Farm, paid $225,000 for a Malibu Moon-Five Star Dream filly as part of a plan to step up the quality in her stable, said her agent at Taylor Made Farm, Teresa Little.

“She’s been in the business about five or six years,” Little said. “She used to do show horses. It’s pretty exciting for her. She wanted to step up to the plate a little bit and get a really nice stakes filly, hopefully a Grade 1 winner.”

Little said she didn’t think Vogel had particularly taken a soft market into account.

“She has always been an active buyer at the yearling sales, so she just wanted to maintain and stay active,” Little said.

Mandy Pope of Whisper Hill Farm in Florida said the relatively soft yearling market did tempt her to try her hand at the resale game. She will be pointing her $250,000 Street Sense-Hishikatsu Ballado colt for a place she’s more used to being a buyer: the high-end select 2-year-old sales.

“We’re going to try it this year and see what happens,” Pope said.

Pope said she hadn’t determined who would break and train her resale prospects but currently was inclined to disperse them among several operations.

“I have sold my own horses as 2-year-olds, but I’ve never pinhooked a yearling to a 2-year-old sale.”

Pope added that she has a back-up plan if any of her resale prospects aren’t forward enough to make the early spring juvenile sales next season or if they don’t bring high enough prices there. She has about 15 horses in training, and she says she will be happy to race these, too.

Pope’s Street Sense colt brought one of the better prices for a freshman sire. Street Sense’s stablemate at Darley Stud, Any Given Saturday, also put up a good number when WinStar Farm-affiliated Maverick Racing paid $225,000 for his son of Go for It Lady. They had good reason to support the sire: WinStar Farm bred Any Given Saturday and raced in partnership with Padua Stables before selling him to Darley. Is WinStar, a major stallion operation, worried that buyers’ current desire for proven stallions will hurt first-year sires’ yearling prices?

“Markets move both up and down,” said WinStar executive Elliott Walden. “It’ll balance itself out. People will start to realize there’s value in the unproven sires again. It’s shifted to proven sires now, but it’ll swing back when it gets to the point where profitability meets supply and demand.”

Fasig-Tipton’s market moves proved satisfactory to auction executives, despite mild declines of 2 percent in overall average price and 9 percent in median – drops Fasig-Tipton chief executive Boyd Browning said were caused at least in part by a decrease in the number of buybacks.

“Are we in the midst of a dramatic recovery? No. Are we in the midst of a significant downturn? No,” Browning said. “We’ve got a very similar market this year to what we had last year.”

The 9 percent drop in median prompted some worries, but Browning explained that, as sellers adjust reserves downward to meet buyer demand, more horses sell, but often for prices lower than the average price. The median price is the midpoint of all horses’ sale prices, with half the horses selling above it and half selling below it. When more horses sell into the market’s lower half, Browning said, the measuring stick for median also declines.

Using that logic, sales officials took the 2010 median’s decline as a consequence of sellers’ adjustments and the lower buyback rate rather than a sign that the general market for yearlings is still falling sharply.

Brother of Japanese Derby winner sells for $1.2 million

Average price also declined at this week’s Japan Racing Horse Association’s annual yearling and foal sale. The two-day auction at Northern Horse Park on the island of Hokkaido sustained an 11-percent decrease in average, but the buyback rate improved, from 31 percent in 2009 to 26 percent this season.

The sale-topper was a foal full brother to 2009 Japanese Derby winner Logi Universe. The son of Neo Universe and the unraced Cape Cross mare Acoustics brought about $1,244,444 from buyer Takaya Shimakawa, a health foods entrepreneur who also bought last year’s $1.7 million sale-topper. That was a three-quarters-brother to Deep Impact.

Northern Farm was the consignor.

The sale was reduced from three days to two this year.

Two prominent broodmares die

Notable broodmares Turkish Tryst and Soviet Sojourn, the dams of Grade 1-winning sires Hard Spun and Indian Charlie, respectively, died earlier this year, according to published reports. Turkish Tryst, by Turkoman, died May 1 at Elizabeth Moran’s Brushwood Stable in Malvern, Pa., one day after foaling a Distorted Humor colt, the Blood-Horse reported. She was 19. Thoroughbred Times reported that Soviet Sojourn died June 30 at Robert Meyerhoff’s Fitzhugh Farm in Phoenix, Md. She was 21 and produced her last foal, a Not For Love filly, in 2009.