Updated on 11/06/2012 12:30AM

Fasig-Tipton sale: Havre de Grace's $10 million purchase helps average soar

Fasig-Tipton Photo
Havre de Grace sold for $10 million, setting a record price for a broodmare prospect at auction.

LEXINGTON, Ky.—Havre de Grace, the first reigning Horse of the Year to sell since Lady’s Secret in 1987, justified her presale hype Monday night when her $10 million price topped Fasig-Tipton’s November sale in Lexington—and set a world record for a broodmare prospect.

Whisper Hill Farm owner Mandy Pope, instructing her bloodstock agent Chris Brothers, blew past the previous $9 million record for two-time champion Ashado, set in 2005. Pope said she hasn’t selected a stallion yet for Havre de Grace, who retired in April and was the star offering in Taylor Made’s consignment.

“It just goes to show that when you bring a collector’s item in there, they’re going to bring a ton of money,” Taylor Made’s Mark Taylor said.

Lifted by the record price and a broad array of buyers from around the world, Fasig-Tipton’s fall mixed sale’s gross receipts nearly doubled, from $32,745,000 for 79 horses soldin 2011 to $60,220,000 for 87 horses this year. The $692,184 average was up by 67 percent, but the median dipped, falling five percent, from $200,000 to $190,000.

Buybacks were 35.1 percent, up from 27.5 percent at last year’s sale.

Fifteen horse sold for $1 million or more, up from 13 last year, including five for more than $3 million.

[Hip-by-hip results from the Fasig-Tipton November sale]

“Obviously, she was absolutely gorgeous,” Pope said after signing the sales ticket on Havre de Grace. “There’s nothing more to say. I mean, you look at her, and she’s everything a racehorse could be. She did everything a racehorse could do. She had a wonderful attitude, she was very sweet. She would put her head in my lap, just about, when I went to see her.”

So beguiled was Pope, she carried a peppermint in her pocket when she came to the auction, just in case. After discussing her record purchase to the press, she headed off to feed her purchase a mint.

Havre de Grace was only the second reigning Horse of the year to go through a public auction, following Lady’s Secret’s $5.4 million sale at the Fasig-Tipton fall mixed sale in 1987, and both Taylor Made and Fasig-Tipton took full advantage of this rarity. As Havre de Grace herself posed for photographs and presale inspection in Taylor Made’s barn, artist Andre Pater’s painting of her stood on an easel in the salepavilion’s lobby, brilliantly lit and taking up most of the space along one wall. Until she came to the pavilion, Havre de Grace wore a custom fleece cooler embroidered with her name. Moments before she stepped into the auction ring, Fasig-Tipton dimmed the lights and played a DVD that recounted her racing career.

The bidding opened at $500,000 and rose steadily from there from around the pavilion until Pope made the final $10 million offer. After Havre de Grace left the ring, the crowd erupted in applause as Pope signed the ticket.

Pope came back toward the end of the session, well past 10 p.m., and gamely bid for the night’s second-most-expensive horse. That was Untouched Talent, dam of Kentucky Derby and Preakness runner-up Bodemeister, in foal to Unbridled’s Song. Standing in the pavilion balcony, Pope batted against Coolmore’s team assembled in the back walking ring, but ultimately Coolmore prevailed at $5 million.

Brookdale Sales consigned Untouched Talent on behalf of Audley Farm, which sold the 2012 Smart Strike yearling out of the mare for $1.3 million, the highest price for a filly this year at Keeneland’s September sale.

Three other horses sold for more than $3 million. Moyglare Stud paid $4.3 million for Lane’s End consignee Switch. Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Plantation paid $3.5 million for the Street Cry mare Cry and Catch Me, a half-sister to recent Group 1 winner Certify in foal to Bernardini, with Hill ’n’ Dale the consignor. Grace Hall brought $3.2 million from Reynolds Bell Thoroughbred Services, agent, as Lane’s End consigned the 3-year-old Empire Maker filly, the 2011 Spinaway winner, as a racing or broodmare prospect.

Despite the anticipation surrounding Havre de Grace’s sale, the auction started off quietly, and it took until Hip 41 to crack $1 million. Contested was purchased by Japan’s Shadai Farm for $2.3 million. Winner of five of seven career starts, Contested won this year’s Test and Acorn Stakes. Hill ’n’ Dale Sales agency consigned the 3-year-old Ghostzapper filly as a racing or breeding prospect. Veterinarian Dr. Mitsuru Ikeda bid for Shadai owner Teruya Yoshida.

It was a sign of things to come, as Japanese buyers and other overseas bidders bid aggressively for the rest of the session. The ink barely had time to dry on Contested’s receipt before Shadai came right back for Hip No. 45, buying Grade 1 winner C. S. Silk, in foal to Distorted Humor, for $1.45 million from Taylor Made Sales. Later in the night, Shadai spent $1.75 million for Santa Teresita, a Grade 1 winner by Lemon Drop Kid in foal to Bernardini. Katsumi Yoshida’s Northern Farm went to $1.6 million for 2011 champion female sprinter Musical Romance, consigned by Three Chimneys, and to $1 million for the Dapple Stud agency’s Grade 1 winner Hot Cha Cha, in foal to Kitten’s Joy. And another international buyer, Frenchman Nicolas de Watrigant’s Mandore International Agency, spent $2.5 million for recent Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf winner Zagora, consigned by Oceanic Bloodstock, and went to $1.525 million for Las Virgenes winner Eden’s Moon from Hill ’n’ Dale’s agency.

Among other buyers with international interests was Borges Torrealba Holdings, a company affiliated with the Brazilian-based owners of Stud TNT, which paid $1.95 million for the Taylor Made agency’s Pilfer, the dam of To Honor and Serve and carrying a full sibling to that Grade 1 winner.

The bullish foreign presence was good news for Fasig-Tipton and the November sellers, but many celebrated the fact that Havre de Grace would remain in the United States.

Domestic buyers did spring for other high-priced fillies and mares. My MeadowView Farm owner Leonard Riggio spent $1.45 million for this year’s Vanity winner, Love Theway Youare, whom Hartwell Farm, agent, consigned as a racing or broodmare prospect. She’s now retired, buying agent Lincoln Collins confirmed.

But the evening also saw some high-priced buybacks. The most stunning was the 2012 Spinster winner, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber’s In Lingerie, who failed to sell at a final bid of $2.2 million. Ponche de Leona, the dam of 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up Mucho Macho Man, also was a seven-figure buyback at $1.4 million.

Earlier in the evening, Arch’s Gal Edith, selling as Hip No. 15, appeared poised to become the night’s first seven-figure salebut bidding hung at $950,000, prompting Fasig-Tipton announcer Terence Collier to reprise the mare’s virtues—chiefly, her status as the dam of 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another (now preparing to begin his stud career in Japan). But the bidding ended at $950,000, and, her owner Harvey Clarke, breeder of I’ll Have Another, took her home.

Clarke said he had no qualms about keeping the 10-year-old Arch mare, currently carrying a foal from Gio Ponti’s first crop, but he appeared to be keeping his options open. “We’ll just decide what to do with the baby and breed her,” Clarke said, but he didn’t rule out taking a look at private offers.


  2012 % +/- 2011
No. offered 134 +22.9 109
No. sold 87 +10.1 79
Buybacks 35.1%   27.5%
Total $60,220,000 +83.9 $32,745,000
Average $692,184 +67.0 $414,494
Median $190,000 -5.0 $200,000