07/06/2017 11:40AM

Fasig-Tipton July yearling sale fertile ground for pinhookers

Fasig-Tipton photo
The Fasig-Tipton July sale kicks off the North American yearling auction season.

The Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale is just the first stop on the North American yearling auction calendar, but it will have a significant bearing on next year’s juvenile market.

Two-year-old sale catalogs during the high-level early-season auctions often feature a healthy population of Fasig-Tipton July graduates. The yearling sale’s early-developing horses offer pinhook buyers two to three more months to develop their youngsters in their programs than the more populous yearling sales in September and October.

Four of the 10 highest-priced offerings at last July’s sale were resold as juveniles, and three of them brought seven-figure prices at 2. Two of those juveniles were bought by Cary Frommer, who has become a frequent customer at the yearling season’s kickoff event.

“What makes it appealing to me is you have a nice selection of really good horses and buyers that are still a little tentative and waiting to see what the market’s going to do,” she said. “I can usually get those July horses into the first [2-year-old] sales. They’re usually quality, and I’ve had enough time to break them.

“Each sale later in the year that I’m buying, it’s much harder to break those and get them wheeled back for a late-February or early-March sale,” Frommer added. “This gives me a lot of time to take our time, break them and train them right, and do everything right by them.”

This July’s yearling sale will take place Tuesday at Fasig-Tipton’s Newtown Paddocks base in Lexington, Ky., beginning at 10 a.m. Eastern. The sale features 300 entries, down 14 percent from last year’s 347-horse catalog.

For juvenile consignor Eddie Woods, the benefit of buying early in the season is that the horses get more time to decompress from the yearling sale process and enter training fresh.

“I think it gives the horses more time to be horses, where we can bring them home and kick them out, and they’re out for three or four months before we start breaking them,” he said. “The way the timing is, the fall [purchases] come right down and go right into the breaking program for the most part, and they’re on go from the get-go.”

While the high-profile success pinhook buyers have had in the July marketplace is a welcome attribute, Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning said the auction’s appeal – and its catalog – casts a much wider net.

“I think from our perspective, we tend to think about its appeal to end users,” he said. “It certainly has been successful for pinhookers, and pinhookers play an important part in every sale market, but I think for many years, it was mischaracterized as a pinhooker sale, and that’s not the bulk of the buying bench.

“It certainly works very well for pinhookers because of the type of athletes that are attracted to the July sale, which are mature, precocious-looking, physical horses,” he added. “They have great appeal to folks that are going to resell those horses as 2-year-olds, but they also have great appeal to racing stables and trainers that are looking for similar horses.”

Last July’s sale finished with 183 horses sold for $15,756,500, a 21 percent decline in gross from the 2015 renewal, where 205 yearlings sold for just more than $20 million. The average sale price declined 12 percent to $86,101, while the median dipped 22 percent to $60,000.

The sale-topper was a Curlin colt out of the Stormin Fever mare Franscat who sold to Hartley/De Renzo Thoroughbreds for $475,000. He is a half-brother to stakes winners Swinger’s Party and Hubba Shake as well as Grade 3-placed Powhatan County.

Later named Curlin’s Honor, the colt sold in May to Breeze Easy and John Oxley for $1.5 million at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale of 2-year-olds in training, making him the most expensive Thoroughbred ever sold at public auction in Maryland.