07/14/2014 8:37PM

Fasig-Tipton July: Melnyk dispersal drives upper market at racing-age sale

Fasig-Tipton photo
Bedford Land, a 2-year-old maiden winner by Speightstown, sold for $1.075 million to lead Monday's Fasig-Tipton summer horses of racing age sale

The second edition of the Fasig-Tipton summer selected horses of racing age featured nearly twice as many horses sold as last year’s inaugural edition, due largely to the dispersal of prominent owner and breeder Eugene Melnyk’s racing stock. Several horses from the Melnyk dispersal drew interest during the evening, including a seven-figure sale-topper, but the auction concluded with declines in both average and median.

Fasig-Tipton reported 109 horses sold Monday for revenues of $8,426,000, up 45 percent compared with the 2013 auction, in which 55 horses brought $5,819,000. The average sale price of $77,303 decreased 27 percent from last year’s figure of $105,800, while the $35,000 median dropped 22 percent from $45,000 in 2013.

At the top of the market, four horses sold for $500,000 or more on Monday, doubling the number that met or surpassed that mark last year.

The buyback rate for Monday’s horses of racing age sale was 15 percent, equaling last year’s figure.

When examining those figures, it is important to assess the 50 horses, most of them unraced 2-year-olds, who sold without reserve as part of the Melnyk dispersal. While Melnyk horses made up seven of the top 11 prices during the sale, there were also 20 that sold for less than $10,000.

“[Comparing] the average from year-to-year on a sale of this type, I think, is completely meaningless,” said Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning Jr. “I don’t think it’s in any way, shape, fashion, or form reflective of an increase or decrease of the market. There was competitive bidding for most of the offerings that went through the ring during the horses of racing age sale.

“I don’t think there’s a dramatic difference in the marketplace from year to year,” Browning continued. “The reality is people are very comfortable buying horses of racing age at public auction.”

Precocious first-out winner Bedford Land topped the sale, going to Three Chimneys Farm, agent, for $1.075 million.

The hammer price for the 2-year-old Speightstown filly was the highest in the sale’s two-year history, surpassing Grade 1 winner Starship Truffles, who brought $1 million last year.

Bedford Land made her debut on June 22 in a 4 1/2-furlong race at Churchill Downs, which she won by 3 1/4 lengths for Melnyk and trainer Mark Casse. She earned a 64 Beyer Speed Figure for her effort.

“This filly can run a little bit,” said Chris Baker, chief operating officer of Three Chimneys. “She’s shown that, and with the pedigree and the program she’s from, we hope we didn’t overpay. Time will tell. We went higher than we [wanted] to go.”

A Kentucky-bred product of Melnyk’s breeding program, Bedford Land is out of the Grade 1-winning Sliver Deputy mare Pool Land, whose three foals to race are all winners, including Speightsland, a full brother to Bedford Land, who is stakes-placed in 2014.

The Melnyk dispersal was handled by Taylor Made Sales Agency, as agent.

“We knew [Bedford Land] was a very expensive filly,” said Duncan Taylor of Taylor Made Sales Agency. “We didn’t say she was going to bring over a million, but we knew that the right people liked her. She’s got a great pedigree and had a great first race, so there’s a lot of blue sky. It’s one of those kind of fillies that you want to buy and keep for a long time. She brought a good price, but it’s a good filly.”

For hip-by-hip results, click here.

Fasig-Tipton summer selected horses of racing age sale, final results:

Year Sold Gross Average Median Buyback
2014 109 (+98%) $8,426,000 (+45%) $77,303 (-27%) $35,000 (-23%) 15%
2013 55 $5,819,000 $105,800 $45,000 15%