07/08/2011 2:44PM

Fasig-Tipton hopeful but realistic at July sale


LEXINGTON, Ky. − The season’s first significant group of select yearlings has gathered at Fasig-Tipton’s Newtown Paddocks headquarters, where the bellwether July selected yearling auction will take place Tuesday. As buyers look over the wares, Fasig-Tipton executives and consignors are looking for signs that 2011’s select yearling season will be better than 2010’s and that bloodstock prices will begin to show signs of recovery after several years of contraction.

The year’s major 2-year-old sale results, which saw median and average remain nearly level with 2010’s figures, are giving sellers some hope that speculative yearling-to-juvenile resellers will return to the yearling market ready to bid. The 2011 July sale also will have a smaller catalog, 303 yearlings over a single session, down 25 percent from last year’s two-day catalog. If buyers return to the sale with similar demand and lower supply, that could keep the floor solid at the season’s first major select yearling auction.

“The 2-year-old sales have given us hope, but not unrealistic expectations,” Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning said. “There’s still demand for quality horses. Thus far in 2011, we’ve dealt with a similar marketplace as we did in 2010 in the mixed sales and in the 2-year-old sales. There might be some upward movement overall. Not dramatic, but there could be some signs of improvement in the overall market, and we hope those trends continue in the yearling marketplace.”

Last year’s two-day auction sold 243 yearlings for $18,414,500, down 12 percent, partly because of a smaller catalog. Average price dipped 2 percent to $75,780, but median was off a sharper 9 percent at $50,000. Still, those drops were not as deep as they were in 2009, when average and median fell 16 and 17 percent.

The 2011 auction will feature an ample supply of freshman sires. The catalog’s 25 freshmen includes 2008 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown; 2007 champion sprinter Midnight Lute; and Grade 1 winners Brother Derek, Divine Park, First Defence, Into Mischief, Majestic Warrior, Nobiz Like Shobiz, Red Giant, Showing Up, Spring at Last, Street Boss, Street Hero, and Student Council.

Some of the notable yearlings, in terms of pedigree, are by these and other freshman sires. Midnight Lute’s group of 10 includes a half-brother to Yes It’s True selling as Hip No. 223, and Big Brown’s five feature the first foal, a colt, out of Grade 1 winner Irish Smoke (303). Magna Graduate has a half-brother to Aly’s Alley (178). J Be K has a half-sister to Grade 1-placed Laureate Conductor (14). Into Mischief’s group includes a half-brother to Prime Cut (17). Tiz Wonderful has a half-sister to Kentucky Oaks third Sneaky Quiet (51), and Harlington has a half-brother to two South American Group 1 winners (79).

But sires with runners at the track also have plenty of yearlings with marquee families. There is a Mizzen Mast three-quarter brother to Grade 1 winner and producer Zoftig (42); a Roman Ruler colt out of Grade 1 winner Sharp Dance (100); a Bluegrass Cat half-brother to Grade 1 winner Mayo on the Side (11); a Tapit filly from the immediate family of Bonapartiste (48); and a Fusaichi Pegasus filly from the family of champion Sacahuista (620). Ghostzapper’s representatives include colts out of Grade 1 winner Dearest Trickski (her first foal, 237) and millionaire Somethinaboutlaura (116).

Among younger sires, Wildcat Heir has a half-brother to Grade 1-placed Who Loves Aleyna (174); Rockport Harbor’s six entrants include a daughter of Grade 1-placed Appealing Missy (182); and Half Ours has a three-quarter-brother to Grade 1-placed Warbling. The late champion Lawyer Ron has six yearlings from his second crop, and they include Hip No. 171, a daughter of graded winner Added Asset.

Unusually, the top price Tuesday might not even be for a yearling. That’s because the day will end with an 80-horse supplemental catalog, phase one of Corinne and Bill Heiligbrodt’s dispersal. Those horses are all ages from yearling to 10 and will sell as Hip Nos. 401-480. They feature the stallion Bwana Charlie, a 10-year-old Indian Charlie horse whose best runner to date is Grade 1 winner Comma to the Top, and a group of racemares, racehorses, and broodmares with some hefty accomplishments. These include stakes-winner Hisse, a 6-year-old Buddha mare with more than $429,000 in earnings; stakes-winner Snug, a 6-year-old $620,000-plus earner; stakes-winners and six-figure earners Heavenville, Vertical Vision, and Fastation; and Grade 3-placed Kinsolving, a 4-year-old by Posse.

Broodmares include stakes-winner Lightlightlight in foal to Macho Uno; stakes-winner Richbabe, dam of Grade 3 winner Richwoman, in foal to Bluegrass cat; stakes-winner Sax Appeal, in foal to Super Saver; Seeking Heaven, carrying a full sibling to Heavenville; stakes-winner Seven seventythree, in foal to Yes It’s True; and Snug’s dam, Tulia, in foal to Successful Appeal.

“It’s a unique opportunity for people,” Browning said of the Heligibrodt dispersal. “The catalog is roughly two-thirds racehorses, some of which have some very impressive current form. The Heiligbrodts developed one of the leading stables in the United States, competed at the very highest level, and also were very successful on a regional basis. I think people have an opportunity to buy some horses that have a lot of run left in them on the racetrack, that can be very productive racing-wise.”

The Fasig-Tipton July yearling sale begins at 10 a.m. July 12 at Newtown Paddocks in Lexington. Phase one of the Heiligbrodt dispersal will follow after the yearling sale.