10/01/2007 11:00PM

Declines on first day of Midlantic sale

EmailLEXINGTON, Ky. - Figures at Monday's opening session at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern fall yearling sale in Timonium, Md., struggled to keep pace with last year, posting declines across the board as fewer horses went through the ring.

The first of three days hit its high note with the $190,000 session-topper, a son of champion Maria's Mon and Jinger Feathers, by Fred Astaire, that pinhooker Nick De Meric purchased from the Welker Sales Agency. The colt is a half-brother to Grade 3 winner Caught in the Rain and to stakes-placed Rogers.

The session-topping colt, offered as Hip No. 104, was one of nine horses to reach or pass the $100,000 mark on Monday.

But the session numbers overall were down. Nineteen percent fewer horses went through the ring this year, 260 as compared to 322, and 175 of them sold for $4,269,800. That figure was down 23 percent from last year, when 225 yearlings brought $5,574,900.

The 2007 average price stayed close to last year's figure, dipping just 2 percent, from $24,777 to $24,399. The median declined 13 percent, falling from $11,500 to $10,000. The buyback rate rose slightly, from 30 percent in 2006 to 33 percent this season.

The three-day sale was continues Tuesday, starting at 10 a.m. at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.