Updated on 08/07/2014 8:24AM

Fasig-Tipton Saratoga: Tapit filly tops opening session

Barbara D. Livingston
A daughter of Tapit brought $1.15 million from Solis/Litt Bloodstock to lead Monday's opening session of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale.

The opening session of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga selected yearling sale hit the sweet spot Monday evening, as buyer demand met seller expectations, resulting in a 10 percent buyback rate.

A total of 64 horses sold on Monday with revenues totaling $18,267,000. That marked a 17 percent increase compared with last year’s opening session, when 50 horses grossed $15,670,000.

The increase in bulk figures did come at a small cost to the averages, however. The average sale price fell 9 percent, from $313,400 to $285,422, while the median price dropped 15 percent, from $272,500 to $232,500.

The 10 percent buyback rate marked a significant improvement from 2013, when 25 percent of the horses offered did not make their reserve.

“I thought we had an absolutely terrific horse sale tonight,” said Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning Jr. “I think this is my 26th or 27th Saratoga [sale], and I would have been unrealistic to imagine an RNA rate at a select sale of less than 10 percent.

“I think tonight’s session showed a very, very broad market, with lots of interest from a diverse group of buyers, and I think it showed the overall consistency and quality of all the horses that the consignors brought to us this year and the selection team put together,” Browning continued. “The buyers responded accordingly with enthusiasm and were active throughout the evening.”

Two horses sold for seven figures during Monday’s session, the same amount as last year’s opener. Both of the million-dollar offerings on Monday were daughters of current runaway leading North American general sire Tapit.

Topping the session was a Tapit filly out of the champion Offlee Wild mare She Be Wild who sold to bloodstock agents Alex Solis and Jason Litt for $1.15 million.

The gray or roan filly is the second foal out of She Be Wild, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2009 and winner of that year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. She Be Wild’s first foal is Shebealittlewild, an unraced Tapit filly who is in training at Arlington Park.

“At the end of the day, it's a Tapit filly out of a champion,” Litt said. “They're pretty hard to beat. She was lovely, showed herself great, beautiful balance, athletic mover, and really we thought she was the best filly in the sale. We’re delighted to have her.”

Litt said the price point was about where he expected it to be for a daughter of Tapit, who had another filly sell for $1 million earlier in the session.

“She was exactly what you hoped to see from a Tapit filly,” he said. “Our job over the last few days was to try to not let [other buyers] know we were too interested, because at the end of the day, you like to be able to go in there and not have people know you want her.”

She Be Wild, one of two winners from three starters out of the Seeking the Gold mare Trappings, is the most accomplished horse in her immediate family. It is the extended family of Grade 1 winner Carson Hollow and Canadian champion Portcullis.

The filly was consigned by Bluewater Sales, as agent for breeders Mike and Nancy Mazzoni. The Mazzonis also bred and campaigned She Be Wild.

“Anybody who looks at this filly is going to recognize her immediately, because she looks just like all the good Tapits,” said Meg Levy of Bluewater Sales. “She really reminds me of [Tapit’s champion daughter] Stardom Bound, who we had at the farm before we sold her privately.

The session-topper was popular during the lead-up to the auction, and could often be seen showing to potential buyers. Levy said the filly’s stunning looks went a long way in helping her case.

“She’s kind of the horse every little girl dreams about,” Levy said. “She does everything just right, but she’s got enough fire. You don’t want to get in her way.”

The session-topper was the first horse bred by the Mazzonis to bring seven figures at public auction. Mike Mazzoni said that he had paid attention to the buzz the filly had been generating, but tried his best to manage his expectations.  

“We knew some people published that she was one of the top nine or ten to look for,” he said. “We knew that we had a good horse and that the Tapit factor was huge, but you never know, because even though you’ve got all the big players looking at her, you don’t know where they’re going to draw the line. Frankly, we made the decision that if we couldn’t get $650,000-$700,000 for her, we were going to take her home. Obviously, we did better than that.”

After the sale, the jubilant Mazzonis celebrated under the Bluewater shedrow and reflected on the experiences that brought them to a career high point.

“I feel humbled, honestly,” Mike Mazzoni said. “We’ve been doing this for 13, 14 years now and to see seven figures up there, it’s extraordinary.

“The money’s great, but honestly, the best part of it is we’ve been building toward this for the last four or five years since She Be Wild won the Breeders’ Cup,” he continued. “This has been Nancy’s plan all along. We knew we had something special and we said, ‘You know what, we owe it to She Be Wild, and ourselves, to go for broke, and it just paid off.’”

The other seven-figure Tapit filly went for $1 million to Nat Rea’s Regis Farms. Consigned by John Stuart’s Bluegrass Thoroughbred Services agency for Merriebelle Stable, the filly is out of the winning Tiznow mare Rote, who is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Magnificent Song. The filly originally sold for $550,000 at last November's Keeneland weanling sale.

The second and final session of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga selected yearling sale will commence Tuesday, Aug. 5 at 7 p.m. Eastern.

For hip-by-hip results, click here.

Fasig-Tipton Saratoga selected yearling sale, first session results:

Year Sold Gross Average Median Buyback
2014 64 (+28%) $18,267,000 (+17%) $285,422 (-9%) $232,500 (-15%) 10%
2013 50 $15,670,000 $313,400 $272,500 25%