10/23/2017 7:35PM

Fasig-Tipton October: Ghostzapper filly tops opening session


The Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall yearling sale, the final stop on the North American yearling sale calendar, finished its opening session on Monday with returns lagging slightly behind last year’s opening day of trade. A $275,000 Ghostzapper filly drew the day’s highest price.

Monday’s session saw 230 yearlings sold for $6,479,500, down 22 percent from last year’s opening day of trade when 246 horses sold for $8,306,400 to open a three-day sale.

The session average sale price was down 17 percent to $28,172 from $33,766, while the median declined 22 percent to $10,000 from $12,750. Buybacks settled at 29 percent compared with 28 percent last year.

The October sale is an open auction arranged alphabetically from beginning to end by the names of the yearlings' dams, meaning the ebbs and flows of trade can vary based on what letters are offered that day, and man-made catalog placement is not a factor. For example, Monday’s returns were comparable with last year’s second session, in which 251 horses brought an average of $28,537 and a median of $10,000.

Because of that setup, Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning said it was too early to start drawing concrete conclusions about the marketplace, but some of the common themes were already apparent.

“If you talk to the consignors and buyers, it’s the same song you’ve heard over and over,” he said. “The buyers are saying it was really tough to buy the quality horses, and the consignors are saying it was pretty tough to sell the horses that weren’t perceived as quality offerings. I think we’ve seen the same balanced marketplace that we’ve seen in 2017, and most of 2016 as well.”

Two horses sold for $200,000 or more on Monday, trailing the six to do so during the first session of the 2016 sale. Six-figure transactions rose to 22 from 21, while horses that met or exceeded the $50,000 threshold was down to 37 from 53.

“I think what we continue to see is, particularly amongst the upper-end buyers, there might have been a smidge more forgiveness [of any perceived flaws] in the past when they got to this stage, because it is the last yearling sale of the year, but the feedback today was there was no more forgiveness,” Browning said. “It was similar to what we saw beginning in July through thus far. It might just be the continuing scrutiny these horses have to go through, particularly those horses that are going to be resold.”

Samantha Siegel’s Jay Em Ess Stable purchased the session topper, a Ghostzapper filly, for $275,000.

The dark bay or brown filly is the second foal out of the placed Birdstone mare Princesa de Papi, from the family of Grade 3 winner Fifth Overture, Grade 1-placed Gold From the West, Grade 2-placed Morgan's Guerrilla, and Grade 3-placed Rutledge Ballado.

"Nowadays, you have to pay a decent amount of money for a good horse,” Siegel said. “You just have to steel yourself to that fact, pick your number, and be prepared to go a little bit above it and be flexible. It's a tough market for a good horse.”

Milfer Farm bred the filly in New York, and Legacy Bloodstock consigned her, as agent.

“We're certainly proud of her for a good client, Dr. [Jon] Davis,” said Tommy Eastham of Legacy Bloodstock. “They raise a really nice horse and they've been kind enough to be with me for a really long time, so it's nice to do well for people that have gone through good sales and bad sales, and been your biggest cheerleaders through good times and bad. It's a really satisfying sale for us.”

Eastham said the filly was initially cataloged for this year’s Fasig-Tipton New York-bred yearling sale, but the pace of her physical development made the October sale a better spot.

“Most of her development came after June,” he said. “She never was bad, just kind of plain. She just kept on developing with the green grass and sunshine, and we just didn't think she was ready to sell yet and she'd be better in a few months, and it worked out.”

Monday's hammer price made the Ghostzapper filly the most expensive foal out of Princesa de Papi to sell at public auction, surpassing her first foal, the Curlin colt Finnvarra, who sold for $140,000 at last year's Keeneland September yearling sale.

Milfer Farm bought Princesa de Papi with Monday's Ghostzapper filly in-utero for $70,000 at the 2015 Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

For complete sale results, click here.