10/22/2013 8:25PM

Fasig-Tipton Kentucky: Record-setting Day 2 dominated by Casse, Conquest Stable

A Distorted Humor colt sold for $500,000 to Conquest Stables to pace a robust second session of the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall yearling sale.

The second day of the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall yearling sale belonged to trainer Mark Casse who signed the tickets as agent on five of the top 10 horses, helping drive the highest single-day gross in the sale’s history.

Tuesday’s session produced revenues of $10,025,400 from 273 yearlings sold –more than the combined three-day grosses of the 2008, 2009 and 2010 October sales, among many others prior to the market bubble of the mid-2000s. That figure marked a 26 percent increase from last year’s second session total of $7,968,900 from 297 sold.

The average sale price of $36,723 was an improvement of 37 percent over last year’s figure of $26,831, while the median rose 29 percent from $14,000 to $18,000. The buyback rate of 15 percent was lower than the 2012 rate of 19 percent.

“We started strong today, we finished strong today, and it was pretty strong all the way throughout,” Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning Jr. said. “The most encouraging aspect of it continues to be the diversity of buyers and the ability to find homes for the vast majority of horses. There was very competitive bidding at virtually every level. Today was fun. It was a very vibrant marketplace.”

Big-ticket purchases by Ernie Semersky’s Conquest Stables bookended the sale, with the tickets signed by Casse.

Conquest Stables went to the sale’s leading price thus far for the fifth horse through the ring on Tuesday, landing an Ontario-bred Distorted Humor colt named Hot Humor for $500,000.

The chestnut colt is out of the winning Corporate Report mare Annasan, Canada’s Broodmare of the Year in 2004. Hot Humor is a sibling to four winners from four foals to race out of his dam, including 2005 Canadian Horse of the Year A Bit O’Gold, Canadian classic-placed stakes winner Arco’s Gold, and stakes-placed winner Adjalah.

Casse said he spoke with Semersky before the horse entered the ring and was given the green light to pursue him. The owner primarily races at Woodbine, placing Ontario-breds at a premium for his program.

“He told me to go find a good Canadian-bred,” the trainer said. “I just talked to him on the phone, and he said, ‘Is this one really good?’ and I said, ‘This one’s really good.’ I told him he was going to be expensive, but I didn’t tell him what price. I’m sure he’ll be fine with it.

“Obviously, we like buying Canadian-breds,” he continued. “It’s not why we buy them, but it’s just kind of an added bonus.”

Casse said that Hot Humor has “a lot of similarities” to Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile contender Laugh Track, another son of Distorted Humor in the trainer’s barn.

Hot Humor’s sale price made him the most expensive foal to sell at public auction out of his award-winning dam. Casse admitted that the air was starting to get thin when the colt approached a half-million dollars.

“With those horses, it’s just tough to know,” he said about predicting the colt’s price. “It was getting to where I was wanting it to stop.”

Bred in Ontario by Steven Di Iorio, the colt’s extended family includes Grade 3 winners Goldseeker Bud and Coyote Lakes, as well as Grade 1-placed stakes winner Ashboro. He was consigned, as agent, by Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency.

Casse and Conquest Stable struck again near the end of the evening, going to $320,000 on a half sister to the stable’s Grade 1-winning runner My Conquestadory.

The dark bay or brown filly, by Horse Greeley, was bred and consigned by Paul Tackett, who also bred My Conquestadory and offered the filly at last year’s Keeneland September yearling sale, bringing $70,000.

Casse said the respect that he and Semersky have for Tackett and his breeding program were significant factors in the filly’s purchase. Casse noted that the yearling filly had some similar features to My Conquestadory, particularly in the neck and back.

“I had no idea what she’d bring, and they didn’t tell me what to bid on her,” Casse said. “Mr. Tackett and the family are so nice, and Ernie thinks so much of him, so I think it was a nice gesture as well as a job well done. That’s kind of guy Ernie is.”

Tackett expressed a similar amount of pleasure that Casse and Semersky were the winning bidders. Tackett claimed the dam, the stakes-placed winning Malibu Moon mare Golden Artemis, for an $8,000 tag at Charles Town, and My Conquestadory was her first foal.

“I didn’t really have a figure in my mind,” Tackett said. “I knew she was a nice filly, and I didn’t know how much [My Conquestadory] winning the Alcibiades would add to her value. I’m thrilled to death, but I’m really more thrilled that Mark and his owner got her, because they’ve done so well with the other filly, and I think it’s really nice that they came back to buy this one. I’m thrilled to death with how she sold.”

Golden Artemis will be offered in the upcoming Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall selected mixed sale in foal to Artie Schiller, meaning she is carrying a full sibling to My Conquestadory. Her weanling filly by Desert Party will sell, as well.

After two days of selling, a total of 531 horses have been moved for receipts of $17,383,400, up 14 percent from last year’s two-day gross of $15,219,100 from 591 sold. The two-day average sale price of $32,723 is a spike of 27 percent from $25,751 in 2012, while the median of $17,000 is on pace to finish 33 percent ahead of last year’s figure of $12,750.

The Fasig-Tipton Kentucky sale will conclude on Wednesday, beginning at 10 a.m. Eastern.