02/10/2009 12:00AM

Fewer buy-backs one bright spot at Fasig-Tipton

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Fasig-Tipton Kentucky's February mixed auction on Monday ended with three $100,000-plus mares and declines across the board, but buy-backs improved from last year.

Fasig-Tipton shortened the sale from two days to one this year, producing an expected large drop in gross. Monday's single session sold 206 horses for $2,392,900, down 63 percent from last year's two-day gross for 318 horses. The 2009 average plummeted 43 percent, from $20,291 to $11,616, and median fell 29 percent, from $7,000 to $5,000.

The sale had produced gains in 2008, but the general economic downturn that struck late last year clearly is still taking a toll on United States mixed bloodstock sales. That sellers had adjusted to the new reality was evidenced partly by a sharply improved buy-back rate at the 2009 February mixed auction. The figure was 16 percent, well down from last season's 25 percent in a richer overall market.

The 2009 auction's six-figure lots were Hip No. 38, the $130,000 broodmare Solarana, whom Naveed Chowan bought from Bluewater Sales, agent; Hip No. 41, the $125,000 broodmare Spectacular Moon that Denali Stud bought from Dapple Stud, agent; and Hip No. 203, the $120,000 broodmare Joyce Ann, whom Dixiana Farm bought from Paramount Sales, agent.

Solarana, a 6-year-old Mutakddim mare, is a half-sister to Argentine Group 1-placed So Shiny, who recently captured the United Arab Emirates 1000 Guineas. She went through the ring as a racing or broodmare prospect.

Grade 2 winner Spectacular Moon is an 8-year-old daughter of Migrating Moon. She sold in foal to Speightstown.

Stakes-placed Joyce Ann also sold in foal to Speightstown. A 10-year-old Pine Bluff mare, Joyce Ann is a half-sister to record-setting graded performer Halo Cat.

Australian numbers down moderately

Australia's Inglis Sydney Classic yearling auction ended Monday with declines, but not as severe as those seen recently at U.S. and European mixed sales.

The Inglis sale's gross for three days' selling was $10,410,500 Australian, or about $6,766,825, down 18 percent from last year's gross. The 2009 auction sold 392 horses, compared with 394 in 2008. The three-day average of about $17,262 was 17 percent lower than last year's. The median, approximately $13,000, fell 20 percent.

Buy-backs also increased from last year's 18 percent to 27 percent.

In any other year, these might have been seen as worrying slides, but Inglis managing director Mark Webster called the 2009 figures "reasonable."

"Given what we have seen unfold in the Northern Hemisphere and the first of the Australasian sales this year, keeping the falls to those levels was a reasonable result," he said.

Nathan Tinkler's Patinack Farm swept up 16 yearlings for a combined purchased price of about $577,525. Among them was the sale topper, a General Nediym filly out of Australian Group 3 winner Nancy Eleanor, by Blevic. She is a half-sister to 2008 stakes-placed runner Phelan Ready. Kitchwin Hills consigned the filly, who brought $220,000 Australian, or about $149,600.

Incentives for Noble Causeway continue

Crestwood Farm in Lexington has renewed its plan to offer its $500,000 breeding incentive plan for sire Noble Causeway. The incentive plan provides a total of $500,000 in incentive funds for the horse's 2010 foal crop that will be distributed in a variety of ways, including $10,000 to breeders of the first 10 juvenile maiden special weight winners by Noble Causeway and $100,000 for the breeder of the horse's first $75,000 stakes winner.

Leonard Riggio's My Meadowview Stable, which owns Noble Causeway, is funding the program. Riggio also is breeding mares to the Giant's Causeway horse in 2009, most notably Thorough Fair, dam of Whywhywhy.

Grade 1-placed Noble Causeway stands at Crestwood for $5,000. He stood his first season in 2008, breeding 134 mares.