02/06/2018 6:17PM

Fasig-Tipton February: Second-session rally secures overall gains

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Chelsea Durand/NYRA
Girl Talk, outside, who finished a close second in last month's Ladies Handicap at Aqueduct, was a late entry to the Fasig-Tipton February mixed sale, and topped the auction.

Business picked up during the second and final session of the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky winter mixed sale, with increased activity at the top of the market helping pull the figures past last year’s edition in the final handful of offerings, topped by the last horse in the ring, the $310,000 mare Girl Talk.

At the sale’s end, 364 horses had changed hands for revenues of $10,436,800, up 10 percent from last year’s auction, when 351 horses sold for $9,501,800. The average sale price rose 6 percent to $28,673 from $27,071, while the median rose 17 percent to $10,500 from $9,000. The buyback rate finished at 23 percent, compared with 25 percent in 2017.

“There really weren’t any surprises,” Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning said.“I think most of us would have predicted the same trends continuing. There’s really no reason for any significant change in the marketplace. You can sell a really good horse in the marketplace right now. There’s a lot of demand.”

This year’s auction finished with eight horses sold for $200,000 or more, one fewer than in 2017. Six of the horses at that price point in 2018 came during Tuesday’s session. Total six-figure purchases rose to 25 from 23, while transactions at $50,000 or more jumped to 64 from 39.

“The one thing that continues to be encouraging on the upper end of the marketplace is the number of bidders on both the foals and the mares, on the horses that sold well, you’d hear four or five bidspotters trying to get in and continue all the way through the bidding process,” Browning said. “There’s some depth in the marketplace for the quality offerings. It’s still not fun for the horses that miss the mark, and it’s not going to be and fun for those horses, because the carrying costs are expensive, and I don’t see any change taking place there in the foreseeable future.”

The auction’s most expensive horses from both the mare and yearling markets came out of Tuesday’s session, and the stakes-placed mare Girl Talk earned the highest price as the final offering of the sale, going to Kentucky-based Rock Ridge Thoroughbreds for $310,000.

Girl Talk, a 5-year-old Medaglia d’Oro mare, will be kept in training by her new ownership and moved to the Fair Grounds barn of Dallas Stewart, with the long-term plan of adding her to Rock Ridge’s broodmare band. She has won two of seven starts for earnings of $117,545, and she was cataloged in the Fasig-Tipton sale as a late supplemental entry after finishing second by a neck in the Ladies Handicap at Aqueduct on Jan. 21.

The partnership of Ramona Bass and Cheyenne Stables previously campaigned Girl Talk, and she was trained by Kiaran McLaughlin.

Rock Ridge Thoroughbreds is a fairly young operation, established in 2013 on the former ClassicStar Farm property in Versailles, Ky. Codee Guffey, the farm’s managing partner with owners Kerry and Joe Smith, said Rock Ridge currently has one other horse in training with Stewart, and eight pregnant mares on the farm.

“We don’t have many mares, but this definitely stepped up our quality, so we’re excited,” Guffey said. “We don’t have any mares by [Medaglia d’Oro], so that was definitely a selling feature.”

Bred in Kentucky by G. Watts Humphrey and the Louise Ireland Humphrey Revocable Trust, Girl Talk is out of the Grade 2-winning Unbridled’s Song mare One Caroline, whose three winners from four runners also include the Grade 3-placed Improv. She is from the family of European Horse of the Year St. Jovite, champion Farda Amiga, Grade 2 winners Salem Drive and Lac Ouimet, and Grade 3 winner L’Carriere.

“They’ve given the dam every chance in the world,” Guffey said.“She’s got a lot of upcoming offspring that we’re excited about. That page could really improve. I think there’s only one way to go with that filly.”

Cheyenne Stables bought Girl Talk for $390,000 at the 2014 Keeneland September yearling sale.

Girl Talk was an especially late entry in the catalog, having been announced as a supplemental entry just a week prior to her time in the sale ring.

“The owners just decided this was a great time to capitalize on her and to cash in,” said Conrad Bandoroff of consignor Denali Stud. “With her pedigree and her physical, picking up that black type allowed her to get to that level today. A lot of the fillies on the ground today that made the money are the stakes performers and the quality physicals. That’s what’s selling in this market, so you’ve got to recognize the opportunity.”

The auction’s top yearling was a Tiznow colt who went to a pinhooking partnership for $260,000.

The bay colt is out of the winning Tapit mare See Rock City, whose three winners from four runners includes Korean champion Dynamic Dash, Grade 3-placed One More, and stakes-placed Big Red Rocket. His extended family includes Korean champion OttugOttugi, Austrian champion L'EtatC'estMoi, Grade 1 winner Star Standard, and Grade 3 winner Danthebluegrassman.

Glenn Brok of Brook Ledge Transportation and Diamond B Farm signed the ticket as agent for the pinhooking group, which Brok said chose to remain anonymous. The colt, Brok said, would be sent to Ocala, Fla., to begin training, and the buyers are capable of re-selling him as a yearling or 2-year-old, or keeping him to race.

"I think he was a little more expensive than they expected,” Brok said, “but we were sure willing."

Fredericka Caldwell and Mitchel Skolnick bred the colt in Kentucky. Caldwell also bred See Rock City.
"The Caldwells are mainly in the Standardbred business,” said Ron Blake of consignor Blake-Albina Thoroughbred Services. “They've won the Hambletonian Oaks four times. They own two Thoroughbred mares, and they'd just as soon not fool with the yearlings later in the year if they don't have to, so if they can bring a horse over here that stands out and can bring the money, they're happy to move on.

The colt sold on Tuesday became the second-most expensive auction graduate out of See Rock City, finishing behind the Summer Bird colt Big Red Rocket, who traded for $500,000 at the 2015 Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. spring 2-year-olds in training sale.

Tuesday’s session was the strength of this year’s Kentucky winter mixed sale, finishing with improved returns compared with both the first session of this year’s sale, and the second day of last year’s auction.

A total of 183 horses traded on Tuesday for $6,302,600, up 31 percent from last year’s second-session gross of $4,799,500. The average sale price rose 34 percent to $34,440 from $25,666, and the median increased 63 percent to $13,000 from $8,000. The buyback rate closed at 19 percent, after landing at 20 percent last year.

For complete hip-by-hip results, click here.

Fasig-Tipton February results

Year Sold Gross Average Median Buyback
2018 364 (+4%) $10,436,800 (+10%) $28,673 (+6%) $10,500 (+17%) 23%
2017 351 $9,501,800 $27,071 $9,000 25%