07/13/2014 11:56AM

Fasig-Tipton July: Racing-age sale returns after solid debut

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The unofficial motto for the second edition of the Fasig-Tipton summer sale of select horses of racing age is: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

The fledgling sale exceeded expectations during its inaugural run, helped by a tight deadline prior to the auction and efforts to promote the entries, both early and late, through exhaustive online updates and e-mails. Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning Jr. said he did not plan to deviate from that blueprint during the upcoming renewal.

“Honestly, I think we got it right last year,” Browning said. “I think what we’ve learned is we live in a world where there’s a lot of information available, there’s the ability to transact business very quickly, and there’s still a lot of benefit to the public-auction arena.

“Buyers and sellers both have confidence in the marketplace,” he added. “They know there’s a legitimate place to sell your horse or to buy your horse.”

The one-day sale will be held Monday, immediately following the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale at the auction company’s Newtown Paddocks base in Lexington, Ky. The catalog opened with 131 entries, and that number is expected to grow significantly by sale time.

The auction’s late-deadline setup allowed sellers to enter horses coming off big performances and capitalize on the buzz those efforts generated. Many of the high-priced horses during last year’s sale came as late additions to the catalog.

“I think it’s been very positive,” said Headley Bell of consignor Mill Ridge Sales. “It’s a nice addition to the market. Trainers are in for the yearling sale, and if they’re not, they come in for that, and if they come in for that, they’re here for the yearling sale. It’s a nice blend. Fasig’s done a nice job with the ability to make it so fluid. They’ve done a great job to capitalize on it and find a new market, so I’m hopeful.”

A large portion of the sale will consist of the more than 50 horses in training selling as part of the dispersal of prominent owner and breeder Eugene Melnyk’s racing stable, including 23 2-year-olds.

“The interesting aspect is going to be the 2-year-olds that are coming from their program,” Browning said. “It shows you how [Melnyk’s team] treated each horse as an individual. Some have run and won their maiden already in June, there are others that are breezing, and there are others that are just doing light galloping. Each horse has been treated with its long-term good in perspective, not just saying, ‘We’re going to take all of these horses and run them through the same program.’ ”

A total of 55 horses brought a gross of $5,819,000 at last year’s sale, with a 15 percent buyback rate. The average sale price was $105,800, while the median price was $45,000.

Castleton Lyons spent $1 million to buy the sale-topper, Starship Truffles. The daughter of Ghostzapper was a late addition to the catalog after winning the Grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap leading up to the sale.