02/09/2014 9:23PM

Fasig-Tipton February: Middle market powers opening session


Given the differences in format and content between last year’s Fasig-Tipton Kentucky winter mixed sale and this year’s edition, the figures for Sunday’s opening session were expected to look very different, and for the most part they did.

Sunday’s session cataloged a condensed 176 horses of 588 overall scheduled to sell over the two-day auction, compared to a one-day session of 337 horses in 2013. Further muddying comparisons between the two sales, last year’s edition featured the blockbuster dispersal of Eugene Melnyk’s Winding Oaks Farm.

However, the sale found its legs in the middle market on Sunday, posting an improved median over last year’s single-session renewal.

A total of 122 horses sold during Sunday’s session for revenues of $4,475,100. The average sale price of $36,681 fell 35 percent from last year’s overall average of $56,252. While the average price did take a hit, it is worth noting that the 2013 average including the Melnyk dispersal rose 230 percent from $17,044 in 2012, displaying that the open market has shown signs of growth early in this year’s sale.

The median saw a slight boost, rising 7 percent, from $15,000 at the end of last year’s sale to $16,000 on Sunday. The median in 2012 was $6,000.

Sunday’s session was led by Grade 3 winner Devious Intent, who sold to Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings for $350,000.

The 5-year-old Dixie Union mare sold as a broodmare prospect. She finished her on-track career with four wins in 17 starts for earnings of $279,041. Devious Intent is perhaps best known as the horse that defeated champion sprinter Groupie Doll in the Grade 3 Gardenia Stakes at Ellis Park last summer.

“The whole goal was to get her graded stakes-placed, improve her value, and race her until she told us she didn’t want to,” said Kevin Hulse, who co-owned Devious Intent as part of TK Stables. “We got her to Ellis, and [trainer] Kellyn [Gorder] is pretty conservative and said, ‘Geez, Groupie Doll [is entered].’ I said, ‘I like the filly. Don’t worry about it. If we lose, it’s no reflection on you. Groupie Doll’s a champion. We should lose. But our filly is feeling good, so let’s do it.’

“We put [jockey Roberto Morales] on her and just told him, ‘Just let her be happy,’ Hulse continued. “She ran an exceptional race.”

Further tying the two horses together, Devious Intent’s sale came just hours after Groupie Doll made her final career start, a victory in the Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

The transaction was a profitable one for Hulse, who bought the mare for $75,000 under the guidance of Hughes Bloodstock at the 2012 Keeneland November breeding stock sale. She started eight times for TK Stables, winning twice for $143,862.

“I was actually going to put her in foal and maybe sell her in November or keep her and sell foals,” Hulse said, “but she’s such a nice filly, I truly wanted a good farm to get her that has the availability to breed her to the stallions that she needs to be bred to. I would love to see her babies run.”

Devious Intent was consigned by James B. Keogh, agent. Bred in Kentucky by Robert and Kimberly Bain, Devious Intent is out of the unraced Machiavellian mare Hafifah.

A Bernardini filly was the session-topper among yearlings, selling to Wounded Warrior Stable for $200,000.

The bay filly, consigned by Hidden Brook, agent, is out of the Grade 3-winning Carson City mare Bohemian Lady, who is the dam of two winners from as many foals to race. Bohemian Lady is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner and sire Any Given Saturday.

The filly was offered as a weanling at the 2013 Keeneland November sale, but did not meet her reserve, with a final bid of $190,000.

The second and final session of the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky winter mixed sale commences Monday morning at 10 a.m. Eastern.

For hip-by-hip results, click here.