02/07/2017 5:27PM

Fasig-Tipton February: Mixed sale finishes as steady renewal

Fasig-Tipton Photo
Cinnamon Spice sold for $700,000 to top the winter mixed sale.

The 2017 renewal of the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky winter mixed sale provided strong activity following the run of mixed to negative returns at earlier-season breeding stock auctions, and closed the season with a steady renewal.

The two-day auction saw 351 horses change hands for total gross receipts of $9,501,800, up 15 percent from last year when 341 horses brought $8,260,600. The average sale price rose 12 percent to $27,071 from $24,225, while the median declined 5 percent to $9,000 from $9,500.

The buyback rate rose to 25 percent from 22 percent in 2016.

“I think we were a little surprised at the level of activity, and just the mood,” said Faisg-Tipton president Boyd Browning. “You get a feel for a sale from talking to your customers, and I think the buyers generally found it tougher to buy than they thought they were going to, and sellers may have found a little more activity in the marketplace than they had anticipated coming into the sale. Overall, I think it was a positive two days.”

Two horses sold for more than $400,000, after no offerings surpassed that price in 2016. The number of six-figure transactions rose to 23 from 14, while horses sold for $50,000 or more fell to 39 from 42.

Nine of the horses that sold for $100,000 or more came out of the supplemental catalog at the end of Tuesday’s session, which helped propel the gross and average from even terms at the close of the initial catalog to well above last year’s figures.

“We live in a world of changing dynamics with horses,” Browning said. “They’re living, breathing, dynamic animals and things don’t always go as planned, so sometimes people have to adjust their strategies and plans, where if they didn’t sell a month ago, they might have a desire or reason to sell.”

The sale-topper came during Tuesday’s session, when Oussama Aboughazale's International Equities Holding Co. went to $700,000 to secure the winning Candy Ride mare Cinnamon Spice, a half-sister to Grade 1 winner and young stallion violence.

Cinnamon Spice was the most expensive horse sold at Fasig-Tipton's February sale since 2013, when three horses from the dispersal of owner and breeder Eugene Melnyk eclipsed that figure, led by the $900,000 broodmare Pool Land.

The 6-year-old Cinnamon Spice won four of nine starts for former owner Fox Hill Farm and trainer Larry Jones for earnings of $144,820. She most recently finished fourth in the Tiffany Lass Stakes on Dec. 26 at Fair Grounds.

"She had a lot of ability from what we could see on the track, but she didn't get black type,” said Frances Relihan, bloodstock adviser for Aboughazale. “She trained really well and she did really show some brilliance.

“Mr. Aboughazale is looking to add quality mares to his broodmare band, and we thought this nice young mare would be ideal,” Relihan continued. “She comes from a very good program in Fox Hill, and [bloodstock agent] Tom McGreevy, as we all know, always buys such amazing yearlings. We were very happy to pursue her.”

Bred in Kentucky by Dell Ridge Farm, Cinnamon Spice is out of the winning Gone West mare Violent Beauty, whose three winners from as many runners is headlined by Violence.

Her fourth dam is Grade 1 winner Maplejinsky who is the pivot point for runners including champion Sky Beauty, Grade 1 winners Dayjur, Tale of Ekati, Pleasant Home, Point of Entry, and Pine Island, Group 3 winner Hurricane Cat, Group 1-placed Growl, and Indian Horse of the Year Quasar.

Relihan said there was a short list of stallions to which Cinnamon Spice could be sent for her first mating, but the decision would be made at a later time.

"I had seen her previously,” Relihan said. “I was the farm manager at Vinery for many years, and we used to lay up horses and had horses for [Rick Porter of Fox Hill Farm]. I had her for a couple months after he purchased her as a yearling, so I knew what she was like and what she looked like."

Cinnamon Spice was originally entered for the Keeneland January horses of all ages sale last month, but the EHV-1 outbreak at Fair Grounds restricted her from the Keeneland property, prompting her redirection to the February sale.

While plans were forced to change, Mark Taylor of consignor Taylor Made Sales Agency said the mare’s quality would have made a standout wherever she was cataloged.

"There's a brand name association that goes with Fox Hill,” Taylor said. “As soon as [buyers] see them in the catalog, they know they're going to be good-looking, most of them can run, and they don't buy horses with bad pedigree. When you have those factors built in, I think they bring more money because of it.”

The auction’s highest-priced yearling also came out of the second session, with Michael and Julia O’Quinn’s Artic Bloodstock buying Makes Mo Cents, an Uncle Mo colt, for $172,000.

The bay colt is the first foal out of the winning Stormy Atlantic mare Infliction, and hails from the family of Grade 1 winners Marsh Side and Declassify, Grade 3 winners Silver Fox and Middle Stage, and Puerto Rican champion Colonial U.S. 

Bred in Kentucky by TNIP LLC, the Feb. 7 colt was consigned by Bluewater Sales, agent. He was the only Uncle Mo yearling entered in the sale.

 Michael O’Quinn said the colt would be targeted as a pinhook for the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale or Saratoga select yearling sale.

"He's just got to keep going, keep growing, doing everything that he's got to do,” O’Quinn said about the colt’s development. “The main thing is we've just got to stay out of his way and let him do what he's going to do. If you force it, it'll come back and bite you. You've just got to hope he'll be the horse we expect him to be later on."

Tuesday’s second and final session closed with 187 horses bringing a combined $7,799,500, down 3 percent from last year’s final-session gross of $4,966,100. The average sale price declined 19 percent to $25,666 from $31,631, the median fell 33 percent to $8,000 from $12,000, and the buyback rate rose to 19 percent from 17 percent.

For complete sale results, click here.