08/08/2011 11:08PM

Fasig-Tipton Saratoga: Sheikh Mohammed helps lift Monday session

Barbara D. Livingston
Sheikh Mohammed bought six yearlings for more than $4 million on Monday.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – All major financial indices for the first session of the bellwether Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling sale rose significantly following a quick night of selling on Monday, relieving fears that had been brought on by Monday’s precipitous drop in the stock market.

The Monday results were bolstered by the purchases of John Ferguson, agent for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and a close associate of the chairman of a Dubai-based company, Synergy Investments, that purchased Fasig-Tipton in 2008. Including the $1.2 million session topper - Hip No. 56, a son of Medaglia d'Oro - Ferguson signed for six horses for total spending of $4.125 million, approximately 25 percent of the total receipts.

The price of each of Ferguson’s purchases exceeded the session’s average price of $329,694, a figure that was 29.7 percent higher than the $227,500 average for the first session last year. A total of 49 horses sold during the session, with 16 horses failing to reach the reserve set by their consignors, a buyback rate of 24.6 percent.

Gross proceeds for the first session were $16.155 million, compared to gross of $14.75 million last year, an increase of 9.5 percent. Last year, 58 horses went through the ring and 22 did not reach the reserve set by their consignors, for a buyback rate of 27.5 percent.

The $1.2 million session topper, named Superfection, is a colt by Medaglia d’Oro, one of the most fashionable sires in the bloodstock industry. Out of the A.P. Indy mare Supercharger, the colt is a half-brother to 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver.

The session-topping filly, and the second-highest-priced horse, brought a $950,000 bid from John McCormack, agent. She is a daughter of Bernardini and the first foal from the Awesome Again mare Sugar Shake, a multiple graded-stakes winner.

Median price for the 49 horses sold was $285,000, a 25.3 percent increase over median of $227,500 last year. Median price is an indicator of the strength at the middle of the market.

This year’s sale catalog included 160 horses, down from 202 last year, a reflection of the soft results in the auction market and the rapid declines in the foal crop over the past several years. The sale will continue on Tuesday night.

Even before Monday’s 635-point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, consignors, buyers and sales officials had expressed concerns about the fragility of the economy and its potential to impact the Fasig-Tipton sale, so Monday’s results were welcome news to Fasig-Tipton officials.

“It would probably be the understatement of the last five years of my professional career, maybe the last ten years, to say that we were pleased with the sales results tonight, in light of the adversity we’ve all seen in the financial markets as of late,” said Boyd Browning, Fasig-Tipton’s president, just after selling ended.