11/05/2013 12:53AM

Fasig-Tipton: Diverse clientele drives gains in gross, median at November sale

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Known annually for producing bidding fireworks and seven-figure horses, this year’s edition of the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November selected mixed sale lived up to its billing, with the sale-topper coming in the final handful of offerings.

Bidding closed during Monday evening’s one-session sale with 129 horses sold for revenues of $73,859,000, up 23 percent compared with last year’s total of $60,220,000 from 87 sold. The average price fell 17 percent, from $692,184 to $572,550, while the median rose 32 percent, from $190,000 to $250,000. The buyback rate for this year’s November sale was 21 percent, a significant improvement compared with 35 percent last year.

Concerning the average and median figures, it is worth noting that last year’s auction was fueled by the $10 million sale of 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace, which helped to spike those returns.

“There’s no question that 12 months ago, if you’d have asked me, ‘What would your November sale look like in 2013? What would your gross sales look like in 2013?’ I would have said, ‘Just get me somewhere close to last year,’” said Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning Jr. “We were just blown away by the results tonight.”

Trade was active at the top of the market, with 24 horses selling for seven figures, up from 15 last year. The number of horses to sell for $2 million or more remained even with last year at seven.

The list of buyers at the top of the market was diverse, with eight of the top 20-priced horses secured by international buyers from Japan, Qatar, and Australia. Brazilian-based Borges Torrealba Holdings was also active among the top buyers – landing Grade 1 winner Love and Pride for $4.9 million as the sale’s second-highest price – but the family’s partnership with central Kentucky’s Three Chimneys Farm will keep their purchases in the U.S.

“It starts and ends with having quality horses, and we were fortunate enough to have a catalog full of tremendous, tremendous horses,” Browning said. “The owners and consignors entrusted their valuable horses with us, and I think they would say for the most part they were richly rewarded with the results tonight. It’s a great way to start the November sales off [with] the energy.”

Irish-bred Betterbetterbetter earned the highest bid of the evening as the third-to-last offering of the auction, going to Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm for $5.2 million.

The 4-year-old Galileo mare sold carrying her first foal, by War Front. A Group 3-placed winner on the racetrack, Betterbetterbetter won one of seven career starts for earnings of $47,618.

“A Galileo is obviously something that everyone would love to have, and she was gorgeous,” Pope said. “We had her priced a tad under that, but very close. We’ve bought some very nice mares, and I’m very excited.”

Bred in Ireland by Premier Bloodstock, the sale-topper is out of the Darshaan mare Jude, whose seven winners from eight foals to race include Betterbetterbetter's three-quarter siblings Yesterday, winner of the Irish 1000 Guineas; Group 1 winner Quarter Moon; and English and Irish classic-placed All My Loving, who is the dam of Group 2 winner Thomas Chippendale.

Betterbetterbetter is from a family rich in European group stakes blacktype, with relatives including French St. Leger winner Allegretto, French 2000 Guineas and U.S. Grade 1 winner Aussie Rules, and Group 2 winner Midas Touch, a Kentucky-based sire.

While the mare’s pedigree suggests that Pope might have success in sending Betterbetterbetter to a European sire, the owner of Whisper Hill Farm said that the mare will stay in the U.S. for the time being. Pope, who set a world record price for a broodmare prospect last year at the November sale when spending $10 million on Havre de Grace, keeps her broodmare band at Timber Town Thoroughbreds in Lexington, Ky.

“I like having my mares close to home,” Pope said. “We may send [Betterbetterbetter] over for a breeding season, but right now I just want to enjoy having her. She’ll stay here this year, and then we’ll figure it out.”

Betterbetterbetter was consigned by Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency.

Two horses coming off of strong showings in the Breeders’ Cup were purchased for seven figures. Mizdirection, who captured the Turf Sprint for the second consecutive year, went to Qatari Sheikh Joaan al-Thani’s Al Shaqab Racing for $2.7 million, while Distaff third-place finisher Authenticity was purchased by Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings for $1.2 million. Three Chimneys consigned both mares as agent.

Japanese interests landed the two broodmares offered at Fasig-Tipton in foal to European Horse of the Year and first-year sire Frankel, a son of Galileo. Shadai Farm spent $2.4 million for Grade 1 winner In Lingerie, while Katsumi Yoshida went to $1.9 million to secure Grade 1 winner Mi Sueno.

The weanling market was also strong during this year’s November sale, with 13 selling for six figures, a significant improvement over five last year.

A $500,000 Tapit filly led the November sale’s weanlings, secured by Stonestreet.

The chestnut filly, bred in Kentucky by Twin Creeks Farm and George Saufley, is out of the stakes-winning Mr. Greeley mare Miss Catalyst. She was consigned by Taylor Made Sales, agent.

For hip-by-hip results, click here.

Fasig-Tipton November sale

Year Sold Gross Average Median Buyback
2013 129 (+48%) $73,859,000 (+23%) $572,550 (-13%) $250,000 (+32%) 21%
2012 87 $60,220,000 $692,184 $190,000 35%