07/14/2014 10:48PM

Fasig-Tipton July: Melnyk dispersal adds intrigue, fuels prices


Award-winning owner and breeder Eugene Melnyk, who announced his intentions to exit the Thoroughbred business last month, gave the Fasig-Tipton July sale a major boost with the dispersal of his racing and breeding stock.

A total of 66 horses sold as part of the dispersal, for a total of $5,226,000 in gross receipts. The average price was $79,182.

"I thought thorse horses sold very fairly, and were very representative of what we'd expect the marketplace to be," Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning said.

Melnyk, who operates out of Winding Oaks Farm in Ocala, Fla, owned about 550 horses between his racing and breeding operations at the peak of his business. As of early 2013, he owned about 200 horses, which were further pared down following the dispersal of much of his breeding stock at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky winter mixed sale.

Taylor Made Sales handled the 2013 consignment, as agent, and was also responsible for Monday’s dispersal.

“Just from back in February 2013 when we got to sell those really good mares through this, we’re just blessed to have the opportunity to be able to represent Mr. Melnyk and all he’s put in the sport,” Duncan Taylor said. “We forget it wasn’t too long ago he was paying prices like that, so when you go to sell your horses, it’s good to get a few prices like that.”

The bulk of the dispersal were the 50 horses offered in Fasig-Tipton’s second annual summer selected horses of racing age sale, making up six of the top eight prices in that section. Bedford Land, a flashy debut winner last month at Churchill Downs, led the way, selling for $1,075,000 to Three Chimneys, as agent. The filly is by successful sire Speightstown, who Melnyk bred and campaigned to a victory in the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Sprint and a divisional Eclipse Award.

A trio of fillies out of 2007 Canadian Horse of the Year Sealy Hill, who Melnyk bred and campaigned, sold for a combined $1,070,000 to help power the horses of racing age section.

Grade 1 winner Pool Land, the dam of Bedford Land, and Sealy Hill were among the top prices from the Melnyk stock offered at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton sale. Pool Land went for $900,000 to Live Oak Plantation, while Sealy Hill sold for $590,000 to Regis Farm.

A total of 13 mares and weanlings from Melnyk’s breeding operation sold for a total of $1,329,000, led by Mahogany Lane, a daughter of A.P. Indy purchased for $315,000 by Calumet Farm. Out of Grade 1 winner Marley Vale, Mahogany Lane is a full sister to Grade 2 winner Indian Vale, and to stakes-placed winner Belleplaine. The unraced Mahogany Lane, whose oldest foal is a yearling, was offered in foal to Speightstown.

Calumet Farm was active in the Melnyk dispersal, also landing Mullins Bay, a full sister to Grade 3 winner Bridgetown, for $225,000; and Battaleys, who is out of Canadian Broodmare of the Year Pico Teneriffe, for $200,000. Mullins Bay was the first mare sold at public auction in foal to 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb, who recently completed his first season at Calumet Farm.

“I don’t think we’ve ever sold a mare in July before, and I love selling mares,” Mark Taylor said. “They’re just fun. It’s like selling a clean slate. The breeder can take them and put them into their program and try to create something on their own. The basis that Mr. Melnyk has established is tremendous, and there’s just so much potential to keep developing those families and adding more blacktype to them.”

Three yearlings from Melnyk’s program sold for a total of $20,000, led by a $12,000 Marchfield filly who went to Grassroots Training and Sales.

Melnyk, a Toronto native who turned 55 in May, made his fortune in the pharmaceutical business and is known elsewhere in the sporting world as owner of the Ottawa Senators in the National Hockey League. The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association’s National Owner of the Year in 2005, Melnyk won the Sovereign Award as Canada’s outstanding owner in 2007 and 2009, and was named outstanding breeder in 2009.

In addition to Speightstown, Melnyk’s top runners included Flower Alley, who won the 2005 Travers Stakes and finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Horses campaigned by Melnyk have combined to win all three legs of Canada’s Triple Crown.

A number of Melnyk’s runners have gone on to successful stud careers, notably Speightstown, who was second on the general sire list in 2013 and third in 2012. Three Flower Alley recorded a breakthrough season in 2012, siring dual classic winner and champion I’ll Have Another from his second crop. Other current or former stallions who campaigned in Melnyk’s colors include Archers Bay, Graeme Hall, Harlington, Marchfield, and Stratford Hill.