08/10/2014 11:02PM

Fasig-Tipton: Average, median rise at New York-bred sale

Barbara D. Livingston
At the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale of New York-bred preferred yearlings, 51 horses sold for $100,000 or more.

Prices for New York-breds continued to ramp up at this year’s Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred preferred yearling sale, with average and median up significantly even though a higher percentage of horses were bought back.

Average price at the two-day sale, held at the Humphrey S. Finney sales pavilion in Saratoga Springs on Saturday and Sunday night, was $80,108 for 176 horses sold, an increase of 11 percent compared with the average price last year of $72,480. Median jumped 18 percent, from $55,000 last year to $65,000 this year, in part because many sellers took home horses that could only attract bids in the $20,000 to $47,000 range.

The percentage of horses that did not meet the reserves set by their consignors was 35 percent, a sharp jump compared with an RNA rate of 25 percent last year. Still, the rate was not unreasonable, considering that the RNA rate at the 2012 sale was 38 percent.

The uptick in prices continues a five-year string of increases at the New York-bred sale, spurred by heady subsidies to the state’s breeding program and to purses in the state’s restricted races due to the opening of a casino adjacent to Aqueduct racetrack. Prices have more than doubled at the sale over the past five years.

While the average was up, gross was down slightly, as 176 horses brought revenues of $14,099,000, a 1 percent drop compared with $14,206,000 grossed last year from 192 sold. This was the largest catalog ever for the sale.

Fifty-one horses sold for $100,000 or more, or 29 percent of the horses sold, compared to 43 horses to hit that mark last year. The price for the sale-topper this year, $270,000, however, did not remotely approach last year’s benchmark, when the highest price paid was $430,000 and two other horses sold for $300,000 or more.

Boyd Browning, Fasig-Tipton’s president, said the higher prices for the leading horses last year were likely a result of sire power in the 2013 sale. Tapit, one of the hottest stallions in the U.S., was the sire of the $430,000 yearling, while War Front and Speightstown, two very fashionable stallions, were the sires of the $300,000 yearlings.

After the Sunday session, Browning reiterated comments he made on Saturday night, saying that the sale featured “good demand for quality horses.”

On the increase in horses sold for $100,000 or more, Browning said: “It’s probably a reflection of the increased quality of the horses in the New York-bred program. … And the market’s probably a little better. A horse that was $95,000 last year may have been $100,000 this year.”

As for the jump in the RNA rate, Browning said he wasn’t worried, saying that many of the sellers are New York breeders who are happy to race their horses in the New York-bred program instead of selling for a price they think is undeserved.

The sale-topper, a $270,000 filly by Lookin At Lucky out of the Pleasant Colony mare Rose Rhapsody, was bought by Mandy Pope, the prolific buyer of top-class racemares over the past several years. Pope knows the family: she had already bought another daughter of Rose Rhapsody, Rhumb Line, who is the dam of Grade 1 winner Zazu, Grade 2 winner Flashback, and two other stakes horses.

“She’s a very good-looking filly, very well-balanced,” Pope said of the Lookin At Lucky yearling, who was consigned by Rhapsody Farm and Hidden Lake Farm, agents. Pope bought two other fillies and a colt during the Sunday night session, for total spending of $510,000.

Super Saver was the star among sires at the sale, with three yearlings sold for a total of $600,000. Earlier on Sunday, the WinStar Farm sire got his first graded stakes winner when the 2-year-old I Spent It, part of the stallion’s first crop, won the Grade 2 Saratoga Special across the street from the pavilion at Saratoga Racecourse.

Sunday’s second session of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred preferred yearling sale grossed $7,165,000 from 84 horses sold, an 8 percent decline compared with the second session in 2013, when 101 horses sold for $7,778,500. Sunday’s average of $85,298 increased 11 percent over last year’s second-session average of $77,015. The second-session median jumped 41 percent, from $55,000 in 2013 to $77,500 on Sunday. Sunday’s buyback rate was 34 percent, up from 22 percent in the 2013 finale.

For hip-by-hip results, click here.

Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale, final results:

Year Sold Gross Average Median Buyback
2014 176 (-10%) $14,099,000 (-1%) $80,108 (+11%) $65,000 (+18%) 35%
2013 196 $14,206,000 $72,480 $55,000 25%