03/04/2015 10:32PM

Fasig-Tipton Florida: Half to Bayern tops first sale at Gulfstream

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Barbara D. Livingston
A half-brother to Breeders' Cup Classic winner Bayern sold to Coolmore for $1.4 million to top the Fasig-Tipton Florida sale.

The first edition of the Fasig-Tipton Florida sale of selected 2-year-olds in training held at Gulfstream Park offered a unique atmosphere on Wednesday while finishing with an increased gross but declines in average and median sale prices.

The one-day sale moved a total of 89 horses for revenues of $20,095,500, up 50 percent from the 2014 renewal of the Florida sale, held at Adena Springs South in Williston, Fla., when 47 horses brought $13,370,000. It was the highest gross for the Fasig-Tipton Florida sale since 2012.

The average sale price fell 21 percent from $284,468 to $225,792, while the median price dipped 28 percent from $180,000 to $130,000. The buyback rate closed at 33 percent, an improvement from the 45 percent of offerings that finished under their reserves in 2014.

Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning said the transitional nature of Wednesday’s sale, from a different venue to the drastic changes in the makeup of the catalog from the previous year, meant any comparisons, positive or negative, should be taken with a grain of salt. Instead, Browning focused on how to build from Wednesday’s auction and create a long, prosperous business relationship with the Florida sale’s new host.

“With the inclusion of 47 Adena Springs horses that galloped [during the pre-sale breeze show], and were frankly a little bit different variety of pedigrees than you would have expected to find in the catalog, we didn’t think the results were going to be comparable [to prior editions], and that decision was made a month ago,” Browning said. “I think what you saw was a healthy 2-year-old marketplace tonight.”

The auction was held in the open-air walking ring at the Hallandale Beach, Fla., racetrack, and drew a diverse crowd of buyers, bystanders, and industry members not directly tied to the activity in the sale ring.

Horses were sold in one half of the oval-shaped walking ring, while the other side served as the back ring, holding the juveniles before their time under the auctioneer’s stand. With a crowd consisting of more non-industry-related onlookers than most Thoroughbred auctions, there were smatterings of applause for high-priced offerings and a noticeable gasp when the first horse eclipsed seven figures.

As the afternoon moved into night, the lights of the various clubs and restaurants around the walking ring created a unique atmosphere for the sale.

“We had a vision and [Gulfstream] had a vision to try to create something special here,” Browning said. “It’s never easy the first year at a new venue. It’s been kind of a transitional year in the juvenile marketplace in 2015 and they busted their tails to work with us and accommodate us and try to create something special.

“I think what you saw tonight was the beginning of a major North American marketplace for quality 2-year-olds,” Browning continued. “It’s a great venue, a fabulous racetrack, the barn area was fabulous. There was electricity and energy and excitement around here tonight, and it was a welcome opportunity to sell quality horses in a quality facility.”

A half-brother to Breeders' Cup Classic winner Bayern topped the proceedings, with M.V. Magnier of the Coolmore partnership signing the ticket for $1.4 million.

The Scat Daddy colt was consigned by Crupi's New Castle Farm, as agent. The colt had worked a furlong in :10 1/5 seconds during Monday's under-tack preview at Gulfstream.

"He's a fantastic mover, and his brother's a very good horse," Magnier said of the purchase. "[Bayern's] a fantastic horse and his mother can obviously breed a good horse. Let's hope she does it again. If he's anything like [fellow son of Scat Daddy] No Nay Never, he'll be good.

“We'll bring him back to the farm for a couple weeks and decide [future plans] then,” Magnier continued. “He's a very good mover with a lot of quality. He breezed very well. All the guys said he was a good breezer."

Out of the unraced Thunder Gulch mare Alittlebitearly, the colt is a half-brother to three winners, led by Bayern, who captured four graded stakes in 2014, topped by the Breeders' Cup Classic and Haskell Invitational. The colt's third dam is blue hen Courtly Dee, whose stakes winners include champion Althea. Grade 1 winner and prominent sire Arch also appears on the page, along with fellow Grade/Group 1 winners Acoma, Balletto, Ali Oop, Ketoh, Aldiza, and Azzaam.

Coolmore stands the sale-topper’s sire, Scat Daddy, at its Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky. The farm also stood pensioned broodmare sire Thunder Gulch.

The colt was an outstanding pinhook for consignor J.J. Crupi, who picked him up for $450,000 at last year’s Keeneland September yearling sale. The transaction came shortly before Bayern won the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby, and less than two months before his Classic triumph.

Six months after signing the ticket on the yearling, Crupi’s horse had one of the most active pages in the Fasig-Tipton Florida catalog.

“We loved him,” Crupi said about the colt as a yearling. “He had everything in the right place, looked like a racehorse. At that point, he had a good pedigree, and now he’s got a fabulous pedigree.

“He’s very correct,” Crupi continued. “He’s a real man.”

The sale-topping purchase capped off an active evening for the Coolmore team, which earlier purchased a $900,000 Tapit colt, and a $900,000 Bernardini colt in partnership with Stonestreet Farm to be part of the sale’s three most expensive offerings.

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

- Additional reporting by Nicole Russo

Year Sold Gross Average Median Buyback
2015 89 (+89%) $20,095,500 (+50%) $225,792 (-21%) $130,000 (-28%) 33%
2014 47 $13,370,000 $284,468 $180,000 45%