02/11/2013 11:18PM

Fasig-Tipton February: Melnyk supplement powers increased figures

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Canadian Horse of the Year Sealy Hill and her Distorted Humor filly, foaled the night prior to the sale, were among the high-profile offerings from Eugene Melnyk's Winding Oaks Farm that helped fuel gains at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky winter mixed sale Monday. Sealy Hill sold for $590,000 to Nat Rea's Regis Farm.

The late addition of horses from Sovereign Award-winning owner and breeder Eugene Melnyk’s Winding Oaks Farm fueled outstanding gains on Monday at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky winter mixed sale.

A total of 245 horses sold during the one-session auction for total revenues of $13,781,700, a whopping 199 percent increase compared with last year’s final total of $4,601,800 from 270 sold. The average sale price of $56,252 marked a 230 percent improvement over $17,044 last year, while the median spiked 150 percent, from $6,000 to $15,000.

“We saw that the market continues to be very, very strong for quality offerings,” said Boyd Browning Jr., president of Fasig-Tipton Co. “It sounds like a broken record, but there was significant competition on the better lots from a wide cross-section of buyers, and those horses sold really well.”

Competition in the upper market remained strong, with 27 horses selling for six figures, compared to 10 mares in 2012; a lifetime breeding right to the stallion Congrats also brought six figures last year. Taylor Made Sales Agency, which handled the Winding Oaks group as agent, consigned nine of the top 10 highest-priced horses; eight of those were Melnyk mares. With that said, figures were still well ahead of last year’s final totals as the auction transitioned from the original catalog to the supplemental entries.

“I don’t know that the Melnyk group really helped sell the other horses prior to them,” Browning said. “There might have been some additional people in town that may have filtered in a few of those horses, but by and large, we had some nice horses.”

The top price of the day came courtesy of Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Plantation, who spent $900,000 on Pool Land, an 11-year-old Silver Deputy mare who sold in foal to Smart Strike.

Unraced as a juvenile, Pool Land blossomed as an older horse, winning four stakes at age four, including the Grade 1 Ruffian Handicap and Grade 3 Allaire du Pont Breeders’ Cup Distaff Stakes. Also a stakes winner at age five, the mare retired with seven wins from 11 starts for earnings of $529,776.

The mare's first foal, the A.P. Indy colt Harris, was a winner last year as a 3-year-old.

“There’s not many Silver Deputies out there to pick from, and when there are, they’re expensive,” said Jim Wells, who signed the ticket for Weber. “This mare was really a nice mare, in foal to the right horse. She fits [Weber’s] program really well.”

Wells said that Pool Land will be sent to Ocala-based Live Oak to foal, but he did not know where she would be sent for her next mating.

“[Weber will] give her a shot,” Wells said. “She’ll bring her to a good horse.”

Pool Land is out of the unraced Slew City Slew mare Slew City Slicker, dam of five winners from as many starters. Her progeny include Grade 3-placed My Chickadee, dam of Grade 1-placed Fast Falcon. It is the family of Breeders' Cup Sprint winner and multiple stakes producer Very Subtle.

Horses from the Melnyk broodmare band were highly coveted by bidders, which made for a busy finale to the sale. Other high-priced offerings from Winding Oaks Farm included 2012 Sovereign Award finalist Roxy Gap, who sold to Fred Hertrich III, as agent for a racing syndicate of which he is a member, for $850,000; and Grade 2-winning broodmare Indian Vale, who commanded $725,000 from Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm.

The Melnyk horse that arguably garnered the most attention leading up to the sale was 2007 Canadian Horse of the Year Sealy Hill, who gave birth to a Distorted Humor filly on the sale grounds the night before the auction. With her newborn foal by her side, Sealy Hill sold for $590,000 to Nat Rea’s Regis Farms.

“When people went back there and looked at those horses, almost across the board, they [all had] good conformation, they were all in great physical condition,” Browning said of the Melnyk horses. “It shows the quality of the program where the decision was made to sell three or four weeks ago, and they walk in here and look like almost a million dollars. They’ve got a great program.”

The top yearling of the day was an Arch colt, who sold to John and Martha Jane Mullholland for $140,000. Consigned by Three Chimneys Sales, agent, the colt is out of the Grade 3-placed stakes-winning Langfuhr mare Amazing Speed.

After the purchase, John Mulholland announced on Twitter that the colt will be targeted as a pinhook for the Keeneland September yearling sale.

“He’s a grand looking boy,” Mulholland wrote on the social networking site. “He’ll be a star in September at Keeneland.”

One of the developing stories throughout the day was the status of off-the-racetrack offerings Golden Mystery and My Other Girl, who traveled from Florida to Lexington, Ky., overnight, arrived at the sale grounds in the early afternoon, and were available for inspection around 3:30 p.m. Eastern, about 5 1/2 hours into the auction’s progress.

Golden Mystery began the journey shortly after winning the Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie Stakes at Gulfstream on Sunday, then was vanned to Ocala to pick up My Other Girl, who had raced at Tampa Bay on Saturday. To account for their journey, Fasig-Tipton elected to move the horses from their spots in the catalog to the end of the sale.

“This morning, I didn’t know what was going to happen, but the only way to keep our own sanity was to say we were going to sell them at the end, and that takes the pressure off everybody—buyers and sellers,” Browning said. “It eliminates all the confusion.”

Golden Mystery, consigned by Hidden Brook, agent, eventually sold to Rea for $625,000. My Other Girl, consigned as agent by Lane’s End, went to Cedar Creek Ranch for $100,000.

Browning touted the experience as a triumph of communication among everyone involved.

“We got the first phone call last night when [Golden Mystery] left, [and] we knew when they picked up the other horse in Ocala,” Browning said. “We knew that they’d hit some weather between Ocala and Atlanta and they got stuck in traffic. There was communication, and that’s one of the nice things about the world that we live in is you can tell people ‘They’re stuck in traffic and we think she’s going to be here around two,’ and you announce it from the stand that she’s here.”

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