03/25/2013 4:55PM

Fasig-Tipton Florida sale: Bernardini colt top price as average, median rise


Fasig-Tipton’s Florida sale of selected 2-year-olds in training on Monday continued a month-long trend of big prices at the market’s top, selling two horses for more than $1 million and posting gains in average and median price.

Robert LaPenta, who sold Stay Thirsty for $500,000 at the 2010 sale, contributed to what he called “a grand finale” when he went to $1.6 million for the Hartley/De Renzo agency’s sale-topping Bernardini colt. LaPenta’s agent, Steven Young, signed the ticket.

The one-day auction cataloged 136 horses, but in the end 46 sold for $17,725,000, down eight percent compared with last year’s gross for 60 juveniles. But the average and median—following a trend seen earlier at the Barretts March and Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s select juvenile sales—were up sharply.

Fasig-Tipton’s $385,326 average represented a 20 percent jump, and the $300,000 median was up 32 percent from a year ago. However, the buyback rate supported many consignors’ contention that the market was thin, if potentially highly profitable, at the top. Thirty-two horses, or 41 percent of those offered, failed to reach their reserves; that was up from 29 percent last season.

The sale-topper is an April 28 foal is out of Forestry’s Japanese winner Hishi Aspen, from the family of Grade 1 winner Northern Aspen and champion Timber Country. His family goes back to the terrific broodmare Fall Aspen. But it was the sire who had the most appeal for LaPenta on the catalog page.

“I’ve been a Bernardini fan since his first crop,” said LaPenta. “We made a mistake selling Stay Thirsty at the 2-year-old in training sale, and I hope I found another one.

“He’s got just all the right words: the great shoulder, the alignment, great tail,” LaPenta said of his new acquisition. “He looks just like Bernardini to me, and hopefully he can run like him. We were hoping [the price] would be a little lower, but, in the end, we thought it would be the grand finale of the show, and we wanted to participate in it.”

The sale-topper breezed one furlong in 10.20 seconds at the auction’s March 22 under-tack show. Consignors Dean De Renzo and Randy Hartley paid $250,000 for the colt at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale last year, where Taylor Made sold him.

Monday’s one-day auction was a salute to A. P. Indy, who was pensioned from stud duty in 2011. As Bernardini’s sire, A. P. Indy is the sale-topper’s grandsire, and he also was the sire of the auction’s other seven-figure juvenile. That was a filly, the first foal out of the graded stakes-placed and stakes-winning Mr. Greeley mare Foxy Danseur and the only A. P. Indy in the Fasig-Tipton catalog. The Feb. 24 foal worked one-eighth in 10 seconds flat at the under-tack preview, co-fastest time over the distance.

Barbara Montanye, representing Dimitrios Katsaros’s Green Hills Farm, surprised the crowd when she placed the winning $1.1 million bid for the filly. Green Hills campaigned Grade 1 winner Voodoo Dancer and, more recently, 2012 Grade 1 winner Love and Pride, now in foal to Distorted Humor at Three Chimneys Farm in Kentucky.

Earlier in the day, Green Hills sold Hip No. 70, an Unbridled’s Song colt out of Tale of a Lady, for $70,000 to Perretti Racing. Green Hills sold the Unbridled’s Song colt through the Stephens Thoroughbreds agency, which also consigned the A. P. Indy that Montanye bought. The A. P. Indy filly previously had sold for $300,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale.

Asked what plans Green Hills had for their new A. P. Indy—one of the last foals for the stallion—Montanye smiled broadly and said: “Race her, what else? Win, what else?”

The two million-dollar juveniles were among 14 to bring $500,000 or more Monday. The third highest-priced lot was another Bernardini colt, this one a $950,000 son of Heart of Grace. Demi O’Byrne, representing Coolmore Stud, signed the ticket for the March 7 foal, who hailed from Ciaran and Amy Dunne’s Wavertree consignment. Coolmore’s longtime rival, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, stands Bernardini at his North American Darley operation in Lexington, Ky.

Hartley/DeRenzo also sold a $700,000 Smart Strike filly out of a half-sister to Grade 1-winning millionaire Music Note to relatively new buyer Nat Rea, who’s been making a splash at Thoroughbred auctions in recent months. The Ontario-based buyer has a 300-acre farm near Paris, Ky., and attracted national attention when he paid $1.45 million at Keeneland’s January sale for a yearling Street Sense filly who is a three-quarters-sister to 2007 Oak Leaf Stakes winner Cry and Catch Me.

Hip No. 93, another Bernardini colt, sold for $650,000. The buyer was an anonymous two-man partnership that is looking for Kentucky Derby prospects to run on the East Coast, according to bloodstock agent Alex Solis III, and the ticket was signed Three Chimneys/Solis. Becky Thomas’s Sequel Bloodstock agency consigned the colt, who is out of the winning Honor Grades mare A Precious Memory and is from the family of champion Little Current and red-hot young sire Hard Spun.

The other high-priced 2-year-olds also included Hip No. 87, a $625,000 Tapit colt that Hoby and Layna Kight sold to O’Byrne. The Feb. 7 foal, named Turn On the Tap, is out of graded stakes winner Winter Garden, by Roy.

Keeneland will hold the next, and final, select 2-year-olds in training sale of the season, scheduled for Monday, April 8, beginning at 4 p.m. Eastern at its sales pavilion in Lexington.

For hip-by-hip results, click here.

Fasig-Tipton Florida sale of selected 2-year-olds in training

Year Sold Total Average Median Buyback
2013 46 (-33%) $17,725,000 (-8%) $385,326 (+20%) $300,000 (+32%) 41%
2012 60 $19,215,000 $320,250 $227,500 29%