08/11/2013 11:40PM

Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred sale: active trade in upper market leads to robust gains

A daughter of Tapit sold for $430,000 to lead the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale.

Forty-three yearlings sold for $100,000 or more during the two-day Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale on Saturday and Sunday night at the Humphrey S. Finney sales pavilion in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., propelling the sale’s average up 16 percent to $72,480.

The heady gains at the top of the market, a sharp drop in the buyback rate, and a 15 percent enlargement of the catalog led to gross sales of $14,206,000 for 196 horses sold, up 65 percent over the gross sales of $8,632,000 for 138 horses sold last year. Median jumped 10 percent to $55,000, while the buyback rate dropped to 25 percent, a marked improvement over the buyback rate of 38 percent last year.

Last year at the sale, 20 horses sold for $100,000 or more. The 43 top-market yearlings this year included the $430,000 sales topper – believed to be a record for the New York-bred sale, according to Boyd Browning, Fasig-Tipton’s president – and 11 horses that sold for $200,000 or more, compared with six to meet or exceed that level last year.

“We obviously just concluded a tremendous horse sale tonight,” said Browning.

The prodigious gains at this year’s sale comes amid a general resurgence in the yearling market and a rise in the value of New York-breds sold at auction over the past two years, pushed by the influence of new casino subsidies for New York racing. Both have been welcome news to breeders, who sharply cut back on their operations in the wake of the recession that started in 2008.

At the 2011 Fasig-Tipton New York-bred sale, the average increased 39 percent compared to the 2010 sale, at a time when construction was well underway on a long-delayed casino at Aqueduct that was expected to provide $50 million a year in subsidies for purses and breeder awards at New York tracks. The next year, after the casino had been open nearly nine months, average at the sale increased 15 percent, while median jumped 43 percent, as consignors enjoyed stronger demand at all levels of the market.

“It’s primarily a reflection of the improved quality of horses that consignors are giving us to sell,” Browning said. “That kind of thing doesn’t happen overnight.”

The $430,000 sale topper, a filly by Tapit out of the stakes winner Miss Challenge, by More Than Ready, was bought by Gary Biszantz, the owner of Cobra Farm in Kentucky, through Steve Young, agent. Miss Challenge, who won the listed Statuette Stakes, is a half-sister to the stakes winner Ventana (by Toccet), who won two graded stakes. Tapit is one of the most fashionable stallions in the U.S., standing in central Kentucky at Gainesway, which consigned the colt as agent.

“That’s a really good horse, and we’re trying to improve our breeding stock a bit, and being a New York-bred, she’s got a chance to really be something special,” Biszantz said. Biszantz said that he does not currently own any New York-bred fillies and mares.

In contrast with last year, when all ten of the highest-priced yearlings were colts, six of the seven highest-priced horses to sell this year were fillies, including all three horses to sell for $300,000 or more.

Buyers of the top-selling horses often stated that their purchases were based on the individual yearling’s attributes, rather than a focus on the yearling’s eligibility for the rich New York-bred program. Everett Dobson, the owner of Cheyenne Stables, bought a Speightstown filly for $300,000, and he ticked off her physical attributes and pedigree without mentioning that she was a New York-bred.

“She looked like a Speightstown, a very classic, elegant Speightstown, and I love Speightstown,” said Dobson, who splits his time between Kentucky and Oklahoma. “She had all the parts, she looked like a very powerful filly, and we’re going to have a lot of fun with her.”

The filly’s dam is the unraced Chief’s Crown mare My Reem, who has produced four winners from seven foals to race, including New York stakes winners Willard Straight and Jesse’s Justice. Indian Creek consigned the filly as agent.

Asked whether the filly’s being a New York-bred affected the price he was willing to pay, Dobson said: “This is a filly that can race anywhere on any surface, and she looks like she can run anywhere, on turf or dirt. The fact that she is a New York-bred just gives you a little added bonus, gives you the opportunity to run in the restricted races, and that gives you a little added incentive to pay a little more for a horse.”

For hip-by-hip results, click here.

Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale final results

Year Sold Gross Average Median Buyback
2013 196 (+42%) $14,206,000 (+65%) $72,480 (+16%) $55,000 (+10%) 25%
2012 138 $8,632,000 $62,551 $50,000 38%