09/29/2017 1:06PM

Fasig-Tipton Midlantic fall yearling sale has a lot to choose from

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Heated interest from buyers has produced record returns for many major auctions during the 2017 yearling sale season, and the market does not appear to have lost any steam heading into the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic fall yearling sale.

This year’s edition of the region’s primary yearling auction features its largest catalog since 2011 and expands to a two-day format for the first time since the same renewal.

The auction will take place Monday and Tuesday at Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic base on the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium. A short opening session will begin at 4 p.m. Eastern, running through Hip No. 150. The remainder of the offerings will be sold the following day, starting at 10 a.m.

After supplemental entries, the sale cataloged 504 yearlings, a 37 percent increase from last year’s catalog of 368.

“We’re expecting a good crowd for the sale,” said Paget Bennett, Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic sales director. “We’re hearing people we see at other sales venues but not normally in Maryland, they’re coming this year. That makes you feel good.

“We’ve got people that haven’t been here for a few years, and they’ve come back with sizable consignments. We’ve got people who came with consignments in the May [2-year-olds in training] sale, so obviously they know what this marketplace is about, and we’ve got some consignments that have never sold in Maryland. Hopefully, we can make their first experience in Maryland one that makes them want to keep returning.”

The auction comes up just more than a week after the final session of the marathon Keeneland September yearling sale, which posted record average and median sale prices.

Buyers who normally cleared out by the time the Keeneland sale hit its middle-market offerings were still shopping heavily into the final sessions. This provided optimism for auction companies and consignors that the buying bench would remain strong heading into the October yearling auctions, beginning with the Maryland sale.

“A lot of people working the end of Book 6 at Keeneland said they haven’t even gotten close to filling their orders, telling me they were here to buy eight and they got two,” said Matt Lyons of consignor Woodford Thoroughbreds. “There are a lot of people still hungry for horses. I’m hoping that means good traffic up there. There have been some good pinhooks that have come out of there, so I’d say it’s been on people’s radar.”

One of the biggest factors driving interest in the sale is the auction’s proximity to jurisdictions with lucrative statebred incentive programs, including Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New York.

Maryland-breds take the greatest share of the catalog, with 169 entries (34 percent). The book also features 118 New York-breds (23 percent), 93 Pennsylvania-breds (18 percent), and 83 Kentucky-breds (16 percent).

Last year’s sale finished with 268 horses sold for $6,436,600, a 23 percent increase from the previous year’s gross. The average sale price rose 26 percent to $24,017, the median went unchanged at $10,000, and the buyback rate closed at 17 percent.

Charles Zacney of Cash Is King bought last year’s sale-topper, a Curlin colt, for $450,000. Later named First Mondays, the Pennsylvania-bred colt is out of the winning Awesome Again mare Formalities Aside, whose seven foals to race are all winners, including Grade 2-placed stakes winner Awesome Flower. First Mondays has been training toward his debut at Parx Racing and Monmouth Park.

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