10/26/2017 7:25PM

Fasig-Tipton October: Expanded sale finishes with solid returns

This Medaglia d'Oro colt sold for $700,000 to lead the Fasig-Tipton October yearling sale.

The 2017 edition of the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall yearling sale featured a near-record number of entries, and buyer interest was there to match the top offerings, producing record figures for the gross and average.

Money and high-end bidders showed up in force for the auction’s elite offerings, led by a $700,000 Medaglia d’Oro colt who became the most expensive horse sold at the October sale since 2013.

The four-day auction closed Thursday with 981 horses sold for a record $35,812,900, up 39 percent from last year’s three-day auction, when 777 horses brought $25,691,500. The previous record gross came in 2014 when 837 yearlings sold over three sessions for $30,006,200.

The average sale price was also a record figure of $36,507, up 10 percent from $33,065. This year’s average surpassed the prior high-water mark of $35,850, also achieved in 2014.

“I think what there’s been is a significant shift in buyer confidence in this sale,” Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning said. “That shift in confidence is a result of an improved quality of product being presented by the consignors and owners of horses to this sale. At the end of the day, it all begins and ends with the horse. We had a lot of nice horses on the grounds.”

While the gross and average sale prices achieved new highs, the median saw a mild decline of 17 percent to $12,000 from $14,500. The buyback rate finished at 23 percent, compared with 25 percent in 2016.

The top of the marketplace saw 35 horses sold for $200,000 or more, compared with 17 the previous year. The number of horses topping six figures rose to 110 from 71, while purchases of $50,000 or more rose to 206 from 158.

The October sale has come a long way in the past decade, from when a three-day gross exceeding $10 million was no guarantee. The auction’s growth has both fostered and benefitted from a philosophical shift among sellers toward taking extra time to let horses mature, targeting the October sale in order to improve on the prices horses might have drawn earlier in the season. Buyers, in turn, have shown increased respect for the October catalog, with higher prices for the offerings that warrant such as response.

“You can bring a legitimate horse here and get paid real money,” Browning said. “It gives everybody confidence in the marketplace going forward to further assess sales placement, to make sure they’re getting the right horses in the right places. If you have a horse that might need a little time from a maturity standpoint, you don’t have to push. You’ll be rewarded for doing the right thing by the horse, and bringing it to a venue like this.”

Trainer Mark Casse highlighted an active week of buying, in which he accounted for three of the auction’s five most expensive horses, by landing the sale topper during Wednesday’s third session, a $700,000 Medaglia d’Oro colt. Casse signed the ticket as agent for a partnership that was still developing at the end of the sale.

The dark bay or brown colt is out of the stakes-winning Seeking the Gold mare Broadway Gold, who is the dam of six winners from seven runners. He is a full-brother to Grade 3 winner Golden Lad and a half to Grade 2 winner Broadway's Alibi and Grade 1-placed stakes winner R Gypsy Gold. 

Broadway Gold is a half-sister to Dialed In, a Grade 1 winner and the leading freshman sire of 2016. Third dam Eliza, a champion juvenile, is the pivot point for runners including Grade 1 winner Dinard, Australian Group 1 winner Foxplay, and Grade/Group 2 winners Spacy Tracy, Benner Island, and Samuel Morse.

"It's a good pedigree,” Casse said. “Obviously, with Medaglia d'Oro doing so well with the horse in California [Bolt d'Oro] and the horse in New York [Elate], and now Violence [a son of Medaglia d'Oro at stud] is doing so well. When you find that package, it gets a bit expensive.”

The colt was bred in Kentucky by SF Bloodstock and was consigned by Baccari Bloodstock. He was offered at this year's Keeneland September yearling sale, but finished under his reserve with a final bid of $475,000.

"He has a very big pedigree, very big physical,” consignor Chris Baccari said. “With that type of horse, he's the kind where if he becomes useful on the racetrack, he's worth $10 million to $15 million. The people that were wanting to buy him today, I think that's what everybody had their eye on, the future of him and what he could become.”

Wednesday's transaction made the colt the first yearling out of Broadway Gold to sell at public auction. Many of her pre-racing-age foals were offered at 2-year-olds in training sales, and others were well-received as broodmare prospects. Broadway's Alibi, a daughter of Vindication, is at the top of that list, selling in foal to Smart Strike for $2.15 million at the 2013 Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

SF Bloodstock bought Broadway Gold with this colt in-utero for $950,000 at last year's Keeneland November sale.

The sale-topper was the most expensive horse sold at the Fasig-Tipton October sale since 2013, when Borges Torrealba Holdings went to $800,000 for a Smart Strike filly who was later named Bilboquet. He is the fourth-most expensive horse in the auction’s history, with the record being held by the Storm Cat filly Pure Charm, who sold for $925,000 in 1999.

Casse also signed the ticket on behalf of owner John Oxley for the auction’s second-most expensive horse, a $500,000 Violence colt out of the Grade 3-placed Cuvee mare Witch’s Coven. Consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, as agent, the Ontario-bred colt tied for the auction’s sixth-highest all-time price.

Thursday’s session finishes strong

The fourth and final session of the Fasig-Tipton October sale continued the solid momentum set during the auction’s middle two sessions, led by a pair of $400,000 colts.

Thursday’s session finished with 253 horses sold for $10,114,300, the second-highest gross among the four days of trade. The average sale price was also second-best at $39,977. Both figures trailed Wednesday’s third session, when 261 horses grossed $10,804,100 and averaged $41,395.

The closing day’s median price of $15,000 was the auction’s best performance this year. Thursday’s buyback rate closed at 17 percent, the lowest of all four sessions.

Thirteen horses met or eclipsed the $200,000 mark on Thursday, 27 sold for six figures, and 62 sold for $50,000 or more.

The first of Thursday’s co-toppers to sell was an Into Mischief colt who went to Mike Ryan, as agent.

The bay colt is out of the unraced Dixie Union mare Im Cruising Dixie, whose two foals to race are both winners, including stakes-placed Mezzano. Further down the page is Grade 2 winner Star Gallant and Grade 3 winner Toocleverforwords.

"This horse was the real deal,” Ryan said. “He's very like Practical Joke [an Into Mischief colt], just a little bit taller and longer, but a very similar horse - great frame, great substance, beautiful head on him. I think he could get a mile and an eighth and he could get further. I think he was the best Into Mischief colt that I saw this year.”

Bred in Kentucky by KY Thoroughbred Racing Stable, the colt sold as a short yearling for $270,000 at this year's Keeneland January horses of all ages sale. He was then offered at the Keeneland September sale, but finished under his reserve with a final bid of $335,000. Dromoland consigned the colt, as agent.

"It just didn't work out at Keeneland, but I always believed in this colt,” said Gerry Dilger of Dromoland Farm. “He was an expensive foal, but every weekend now, this sire is coming up with runners. Mike Ryan bought Practical Joke, and I think he really loved this colt, and hopefully he's as lucky with him as he was with Practical Joke.” 

Later in the session, Casse struck on a Curlin colt for another still-developing partnership.

The chestnut colt is the first foal out of the Grade 2-placed Stormy Atlantic mare Mekong Delta, from the family of English champion Noalcoholic, Canadian champion Leonnatus Anteas, Italian champion Alea II, Preakness Stakes winner Red Bullet and Group 3 winners Leo's Starlet, Sandy's Charm, and Sistercharlie.

"Curlin's just a super-sire, and I thought he was a really pretty colt,” Casse said. “He's a Canadian-bred, which never hurts our feelings. Maybe we can win the Queen's Plate, if we can't win the Kentucky Derby."

Bred in Ontario by Josham Farms Limited, the colt was consigned by Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency, agent. He was offered at this year's Keeneland September sale, but finished under his reserve with a final bid of $190,000.

"He's a lovely horse, a smooth, effective mover, great presence, bought by a world-class trainer,” said John G. Sikura of Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency. “He's foaled in Canada and looks like the kind of horse that could win the Queen's Plate or a major race [in Canada]. He was well-sold. The reserve was half that.”

For hip-by-hip results, click here.

Fasig-Tipton October results

Year Sold Gross Average Median Buyback
2017 981 (four sessions) $35,812,900 (+39%) $36,507 (+10%) $12,000 (-17%) 23%
2016 777 (three sessions) $25,691,500 $33,065 $14,500 25%