07/10/2017 9:01PM

Distinta leads active Fasig-Tipton racing-age market

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Grade 2 winner Distinta sold for $600,000 to lead the Fasig-Tipton July horses of racing age sale.

Demand for race-ready horses proved to be high on Monday evening, generating across-the-board gains, including a record median, for the Fasig-Tipton July selected horses of racing age sale, led by Grade 2 winner Distinta who sold for $600,000.

The auction cleared its fifth edition on Monday, and Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning said the name recognition the sale has picked up along the way has helped build the overall quality of offerings and the size of the buyers’ bench.

“I think we sometimes forget how long it takes to grow something in the world we live in,” he said. “It kind of felt like this was a little bit of a breakthrough. This is an established sale that fills a great niche and a need in the marketplace. It’s a great opportunity for people to buy and sell horses.”

A total of 84 horses changed hands for revenues of $8,083,000, a 60 percent increase from last year, when 72 horses sold for $5,048,500.

The average sale price rose 37 percent to $96,226, the second-highest figure in the sale’s short history, from $70,118. The median finished at a record $56,000, up 33 percent from $42,000 in 2016. The buyback rate finished at 15 percent, improving from last year’s figure of 21 percent.

“There was lots of interest on the grounds prior to the sale,” Browning said. “When you have a nice group of horses, it gives you the opportunity to attract the proper buyers and create an atmosphere that’s conducive to a strong sale, and it was certainly a strong marketplace tonight.”

At the top of the market, nine horses sold for $200,000 or more, eclipsing the five to do so last year. Total six-figure transactions rose to 23 from 14.

“Keep in mind last included the Eutrophia Farm dispersal, which was a combination of mares, foals, yearlings - a whole collection,” Browning said. “It was a little over 30 percent of the sale last year, so the growth is even more pronounced from year to year.” 

Trade was clearly not hampered by the 30-minute delay from the auction’s scheduled 5 p.m. Eastern start time. A car accident on Newtown Pike, the major Lexington road on which the Fasig-Tipton auction pavilion is located, made a road already hampered by construction even more difficult to traverse.

The auction was led by Distinta, a Grade 2-winning Summer Bird mare who sold to Medallion Racing for $600,000.

The chestnut mare earned her first graded victory two starts prior to the sale, taking the Grade 2 Inside Information Stakes on March 18 at Gulfstream Park. She most recently ran second in the Grade 2 Princess Rooney Stakes at Gulfstream on July 2. Running for Veb Racing Stable Corp and trainer Victor Barboza Jr., Distinta has won 4 of 23 lifetime starts for earnings of $346,715.

Medallion Racing is a partnership formed by the Taylor Made operation, which also consigned the mare as agent. Mark Taylor, the farm’s vice president of marketing and public sales operations, said steps were taken throughout the process to ensure fair trade on the mare, whether the Taylor Made team bought her or not.

“We try to keep that completely objective,” he said. “My nephew Marshall and sales associate Sebastian Angelilo, who is from Uruguay, were dealing with Ramiro Restripo who works with Fasig-Tipton, and that's how we got the contact with the owner and the trainer. Marshall and Sebastian were handling the seller, and me and Leif Aaron and Philip Shelton were handling the Medallion Racing part. We didn't even want to know what the reserve was.”

Taylor said decisions on where the horse will run during the balance of 2017, and for what trainer, would be made at a later time.

"We're kind of going to defer to our partners on that,” he said. “They've got trainers that they've used before and had success with, so we're weighing all the options. We don't know. We've got to let the dust settle. I really didn't think we were going to get her bought, so I didn't put a lot of thought into the next step. I thought we were going to get blown out of the water."

Distinta was bred in Kentucky by Hargus Sexton, Sandra Sexton, and Silver Fern Farm, and she is out of the unraced Storm Cat mare Miss Kitty, who is the dam of four winners from five foals to race.

Trade at Fasig-Tipton continues on Tuesday with the auction company’s July yearling sale, beginning at 10 a.m.

For complete results of the racing age sale, click here.