07/13/2011 1:05PM

Fasig-Tipton July select yearling sale shows encouraging 20 percent gain in median price


LEXINGTON, Ky. – Fasig-Tipton’s July select yearling sale on Tuesday offered reassurance that the select yearling market is stabilizing, but it also hinted that the upper market will continue to be thin and highly selective.

The auction, the first major boutique yearling sale of the season, was smaller this year as a result of a post-recession drop in Thoroughbred foals crops. Trimmed from two sessions to one this year, the July auction sold 191 yearlings for $13,349,000. That was down 26 percent from last year’s two-day total for 243 yearlings. The 2011 average was $69,890, 8 percent lower than last year’s figure of $75,780. Last year’s average got a lift from a pair of Medaglia d’Oro yearlings that brought $450,000 and $350,000, whereas this year’s top two prices were $310,000 and $300,000.

But the 2011 median improved, rising 20 percent from last year’s figure of $50,000 to $60,000 Tuesday. The buyback rate edged slightly downward, from 29 percent to 27 percent. There were 37 withdrawals from the sale.

Tuesday’s top-priced yearling was Hip No. 168, a $310,000 Harlan’s Holiday colt out of the stakes-placed winner Acrosstheborder that agent John Moynihan bought for Barbara Banke and George Bolton. They also campaign Astrology together. The Harlan’s Holiday colt represents the first major auction purchase that Banke has made in the name of Stonestreet Stables since the April death of her husband, stable founder Jess Jackson. Banke also purchased a $220,000 Dehere filly out of the unraced Maria’s Mon mare Marialua.

The Crossroads Sales agency consigned the sale-topping Harlan’s Holiday colt, and Dapple Stud consigned the Dehere filly on behalf of sellers Twin Hopes Farm and Helen T. Andrews.

Phase 1 of Bill and Corinne Heiligbrodt’s dispersal immediately followed the yearling sale and sold 73 horses of all ages for $2,949,500. The average price was $40,404, and median was $29,000. Ciaran Dunne, best known as a yearling-to-juvenile reseller, paid the dispersal’s top price of $240,000 for the broodmare Richbabe and her Street Sense colt, foaled in April. The 15-year-old Richbabe is the dam of Grade 3 winner Richwoman and is carrying a Bluegrass Cat foal.

“The foal by her side is superb, and it was more about him than the mare for us,” Dunne explained. “We’ll resell him at some point, whether in November as a weanling or as a yearling next year.”

As for Richbabe herself, Dunne said: “We’re not normally mare people, but she obviously has good foals, so we’ll see.”

Stallion Bwana Charlie, originally cataloged as the dispersal’s last lot, was withdrawn from the sale.

The dispersal’s other six-figure horses were Driscoll, who brought $105,000 from James L. Stone; $100,000 Spoils, who sold to Fleetwood Bloodstock; and $100,000 Sax Appeal, who went to Jonathan Thorne.