07/11/2012 2:06PM

Fasig-Tipton sale: Buyers willing to spend, but highly selective

Photos by Z
This Malibu Moon-Uncontrollable colt topped the Fasig-Tipton July select yearling sale with a $375,000 price tag.

LEXINGTON, Ky.– The Fasig-Tipton July select yearling sale in Kentucky has raised confidence in the coming select yearling auction season, even as buyers’ selectivity has created a hot-or-cold market.

The one-day auction ended with a $60,000 median that was exactly level with last year’s figure, while gross and average both saw strong gains. The session sold 189 yearlings, down from last year’s 191 despite a 12-percent larger 2012 catalog. But gross sales increased 15 percent to $15,364,000. Average rose 16 percent, from last year’s $69,890 to $81,291. The buyback rate presented less happy news: after 55 withdrawals, 33 percent of the horses that did make it to the ring then failed to reach their reserve bids or sell privately by the end of the auction. That was up from 27 percent last year.

The sale topper, a Malibu Moon-Uncontrollable colt that trainer Ken McPeek bought on behalf of Carter Stewart’s Magic City Thoroughbred Partners, brought $375,000. That price was up from last year’s sale-topping $310,000. CandyLand Farm, agent, was the consignor.

The July catalog was larger, but Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning summed the market up as “healthy” and credited a reduced overall supply of horses for helping the figures remain on a par with or better than last year’s market.

“Significant demand for what the buyers perceived as quality horses, numerous bidders on most horses that sold for over $50,000,” said Browning. “Buyers continue to be selective, and possibly being the first sale of the year allows them to be even more selective because there are other buying opportunities, and it might allow consignors to be a little more aggressive setting their reserves.”

Only two yearlings, both colts, managed to reach $300,000: the sale topper and a $300,000 War Front-With Golden Wings colt that IEAH Sales bought from Hunter Valley Farm, agent. But 15 yearlings fetched bids of $200,000 or more, up from nine last season. All but two were by established sires. The two by first-crop stallions were a $250,000 son of Old Fashioned out of Lady Rushmore that Jay Em Ess Stable picked from the Eaton Sales agency and a $200,000 Colonel John filly out of Racing Quality that Gotham Boys (David Scanlon, agent) bought from the Bluewater sales agency.

Sellers acknowledged that buyers exhibited a “love ’em or hate ’em” attitude that resulted in careful cherry-picking from the relatively small group of horses on offer. But most said they had expected such selectivity, and many said the general market feel was positive – a cause for optimism as the select yearling sales head for the next stop, Fasig-Tipton’s Saratoga select yearling sale in New York on Aug. 6-7.