08/11/2013 12:11AM

Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-bred preferred sale: first session posts double-digit gains


Prices for New York-bred yearlings sold at auction continued to climb during the first session of the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale, held on Saturday night at the Humphrey S. Finney sales pavilion just down the street from Saratoga Race Course.

With 18 horses sold for $100,000 or more, average for the 95 horses sold during the session rose 18 percent compared with the first session of the sale held last year, to $67,658. Median jumped 10 percent to $55,000, a nice rise, but an indication that the strength at the top of the sale was not as powerfully matched at the middle.

With 31 more horses sold during this year’s first session compared with last year’s first night, gross sales were $6,427,500, up 76 percent.

The buyback rate for the session was 29 percent, a sharp reduction from a 43 percent buyback rate during the sale’s first session last year, an indication that consignors this year placed more realistic reserves on their horses.

“This was the sales trifecta,” said Boyd Browning, Fasig-Tipton’s president, after the first session concluded. “Average up, median up, RNAs down.”

It was an impressive performance for the sale for the third consecutive year, with the results bolstered by the millions of dollars that have been flowing into New York’s state-bred program from a casino at Aqueduct racetrack that opened late in 2011. Juiced by the casino subsidies, purses for New York-breds in maiden special weights have reached as high as $75,000, the highest level by far for any maiden race in the U.S. restricted to a state-bred.

What’s more, New York breeders have now been collecting fatter checks for breeder awards for two years, allowing them to invest more money in mares and stallions.

“Breeders had to get better to be competitive, and they’ve done that,” Browning said. “It’s very, very, very encouraging and there’s a lot of momentum in the market right now.”

The session topper was a $300,000 daughter of War Front out of the Pleasant Tap mare Unrepentant, a winner of $209,345 on the track. Steve Young bought the filly, a February foal, as agent, but he declined to reveal the buyer. He did say that she would be sent to Todd Pletcher, the nation’s leading trainer. Sienna Farms consigned the filly.

“She’s by one of the best sires in America, and she’s a beautiful filly,” Young said. “She’s more a real good horse that was born in New York than a New York-bred.”

During last year’s first session, six horses sold for $100,000 or more, compared to the 18 yearlings to hit or exceed that mark this year. In total last year, 20 horses sold for $100,000 or more for the entire two-day sale, albeit with a smaller catalog.

Eisaman Equine, a pinhooking outfit that buys yearlings to resell them as 2-year-olds, bought four horses during the first session, including a $160,000 colt by Midnight Lute out of the Mountain Cat mare C’est La Cat. Dr. Barry Eisaman, who runs the operation with his wife Shari, said that the couple was increasingly looking for New York-breds because of the rich purses available to them and because breeders had upgraded their stock.

“There’s certainly the feeling out there that New York-breds are much better than they were before,” Eisaman said midway through the session.

Craig Bandoroff, co-owner of the consignment agency Denali Stud, sold 17 horses during the first session, including a $250,000 Midnight Lute colt from the family of Grade 1 winner Switch that was the last horse through the ring and the session’s second-highest price. Bandoroff said that there is more competition among consignors to offer the best horses.

“We’ve always joked that we had a bit of a monopoly here because I represented some of the more well-known breeders in New York,” Bandoroff said after the first session concluded. “Then I started hearing that there were a lot of good horses [at this year’s sale]. So I guess the monopoly’s over.”

For hip-by-hip results, click here.

Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale: first session results

Year Sold Gross Average Median Buyback
2013 95 $6,427,500 (+76%) $67,658 (+18%) $55,000 (+10%) 29%
2012 64 $3,657,000 $57,141 $50,000 43%