10/21/2013 7:18PM

Fasig-Tipton Kentucky: First session sets a strong pace

A colt by Harlan's Holiday sold for $250,000 to lead the session as the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall yearling sale opened with across-the-board gains.

The upward momentum of the yearling market carried through to the first day of the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall yearling sale, with solid gains during Monday’s session.

A total of 258 horses changed hands on Monday for revenues of $7,358,000, an increase of one percent over last year’s day one total of $7,250,200 from 294 sold. With a fairly similar gross from fewer horses sold, the average sale price of $28,519 was a 16 percent improvement from $24,661 in 2012, while the median rose 27 percent from $13,000 to $16,500. The buyback rate of 20 percent held fairly steady with last year’s rate of 21 percent.

“We’re off to a good start,” Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning Jr. said. “We anticipated a strong marketplace, and that was the case today. It was a good start and we’re looking for two more strong days.”

While the amount of six-figure horses produced in the opening session decreased from 14 to 12 in year-to-year comparisons, Browning noted that the five yearlings sold for $200,000 or more on Monday is one shy of last year’s three-day total of six. Browning was optimistic that the number would easily be eclipsed.

“We anticipate continued strength tomorrow and Wednesday,” he said. “A number of buyers have said they thought tomorrow’s catalog and Wednesday’s catalog were stronger than today’s in terms of the physicals and pedigrees that matched up. Hopefully we’ll continue to move onward and upward.”

Nick de Meric, acting as agent, signed the ticket for the opening session’s highest-priced offering, a Harlan’s Holiday colt secured for $250,000. The Florida-based bloodstock agent said the colt would probably go to Klaravich Stable for his on-track career at the conclusion of his initial training.

“He’s a beautiful colt,” de Meric said. “He’s a New York-bred who’s by a top stallion, and he’s about as nice a walker as you’d ever see in a yearling. We’re excited to have him.”

The bay colt is out of the winning Unbridled’s Song mare Unbridled Melody, dam of one winner from two starters. That winner is Grade 3-placed stakes winner Michael With Us. With Monday’s transaction, the colt became the most expensive foal to sell at public auction out of Unbridled Melody.

Bred in New York by WinStar Farm, which also stands sire Harlan’s Holiday, the colt is from the family of Japanese champion Hishi Akebono, as well as Group 1 winners Agnes World and Dubai Destination.

De Meric credited his son, Tristan, for pointing him toward the colt. Best known as a buyer in the pinhooking market, de Meric said that buying without the aim to turn the horse for a profit allowed him to reach a bit farther than he might under normal circumstances.

“We spent a lot to get him, but that’s what you’ve got to do to buy one that looks like him,” the elder de Meric said. “When you’re buying for an end user, you can be a little more elastic [compared to a pinhook]. But that’s the kind of horse you’re just glad to have in the barn, no matter which way he ends up.”

The colt was consigned as agent by Taylor Made Sales Agency, which also consigned the session’s second-highest-priced yearling, a $235,000 Speightstown colt who sold to Steve Young, as agent.

Mark Taylor, vice president of marketing and public sales operations at Taylor Made, identified the session-topping Harlan’s Holiday colt as a horse to watch prior to the sale, making note of the sire power that backed the horse.

“If he was by anything else, just being a New York-bred and looking like he looks, he’d be very popular,” Taylor said, “but you throw on Harlan’s Holiday, and I think he’s kind of a standout.”

The Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall yearling sale continues daily through Wednesday, Oct. 23, with each session commencing at 10 a.m. Eastern at the auction company’s Newtown Paddocks base in Lexington, Ky.

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