10/19/2015 8:04PM

Fasig-Tipton October: Opening session posts mild declines

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The Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall yearling sale opened on Monday behind the record pace set in 2014, with moderate declines across the board and a higher buyback rate.

The first of four sessions saw 204 yearlings sold for revenues of $6,694,300, down 25 percent from last year’s opening session of $8,956,600 from 263 sold. It is important to note that this year’s sale features an extra day of selling with fewer horses per session than last year, which could have an effect on gross figures.

The average sale price closed at $32,815, down 4 percent from $34,056, while the median fell 12 percent from $17,000 to $15,000.

“I thought it was a reasonable opening session,” said Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning. “It was pretty indicative of what we’ve seen throughout the marketplace this year – lots of competition on what [buyers] perceive as the quality offerings, very limited competition on a reasonable percentage of the horses in the catalog. There’s still some weakness at the lower levels of the marketplace, as we’ve seen in every marketplace in 2015.”

The buyback rate finished at 35 percent on Monday, up from 28 percent during last year’s opening session.

“I’m curious to see how it unfolds over a four-day period of time,” Browning said about the buyback rate. “I think anytime there is a change in the format of the sale, it’s hard for people to find their sea legs initially. The buyback rate started off higher today and got better as the day improved.

“Is it a shock? No, because we’ve seen some evidence of that in other markets this year,” he continued. “The buyback rate’s been higher in virtually every situation in 2015 than it was in 2014 at Fasig-Tipton and non-Fasig-Tipton sales.”

At the top of the market, four yearlings changed hands for $200,000 or more during Monday’s session, down one from the opening day of last year’s sale. Fifteen horses brought six figures, down from the 21 to do so during the first session of the 2014 renewal.

A Scat Daddy filly out of the winning Polish Numbers mare Full Figure topped the session, selling to Mike Ryan as agent for an unnamed East Coast-based client for $340,000. Browning said she was the seventh most-expensive filly in the auction’s history.

Bred in Ontario and consigned as agent by Anderson Farms, the filly is a sibling to two winners from as many runners out of Full Figure, including Grade 2-placed Fundamental. Her third dam is the Grade 3-placed stakes winner Goulash, putting her in the same family as two-time champion Ashado, Grade 1 winner Sunriver, and Grade 3 winners Saint Stephen and Quite a Bride.

“She was a special filly,” Ryan said. “She had the back class and the pedigree, and what can you say about the sire? He’s unbelievable at the moment.”

Ryan said the filly would kept to race for the client, who he said was new to the sport and had plans to race and breed.

“He’s just getting in the game and was starting to show some interest, and I said, ‘You’re better off buying some fillies. Let’s do it slowly and stick with quality, not quantity, try to develop a program over five years and see how we go.’”

Halo’s Verse was herself a $500,000 yearling, purchased and raced by Glen Hill Farm. She sold to Anderson Farms with the session-topping filly in utero for $155,000 at the 2013 Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

The filly was cataloged for the Keeneland September yearling sale, but was scratched. David Anderson of Anderson Farms said the additional time to develop turned out to be beneficial.

“She was a big, sort of immature horse when she was younger,” he said. “We felt she maybe needed that extra month, so we decided to come to this sale and try to be a big fish in a small pond. It was right in where we felt she was worth, for sure. She’s as good a Canadian-bred filly as I’ve seen in a few years, and we’re just really proud to raise horses like that.”

The Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall yearling sale continues daily through Thursday, Oct. 22, beginning each day at 10 a.m. Eastern.

For complete sale results, click here.