03/02/2007 12:00AM

High-end lots to test market's strength


LEXINGTON, Ky. - When Fasig-Tipton's select 2-year-old sale takes place on Tuesday at Miami's Calder Race Course, bidders will have some well-bred selections to choose from.

The Fasig-Tipton sale is the second stop on the select juvenile auction circuit, following last month's Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. auction. That sale - which moved from Calder to Ocala, Fla., this year in order to avoid conflicting with the Super Bowl in Miami - posted returns much in line with last year's, with a $550,000 Smoke Glacken-Cherokyfrolicflash colt the top price. That puts the market off to a solid start. But it's the Fasig-Tipton sale that will reveal the state of the market's pricey top level, where a number of high-end sellers are offering more and more pedigree to lure big spenders. In recent years, that strategy has paid off as the Fasig-Tipton sale spun off three consecutive world records, culminating with last year's world-record $16 million for The Green Monkey, a $425,000 yearling buy.

That yearling price, an expensive pinhook at the time, pales in comparison to some in the 2007 catalog. Foremost among them is Hip No. 71, a Storm Cat-Moon Safari colt that pinhooker Hoby Kight and partners paid $1 million for at the 2006 Keeneland September sale. The colt is out of a stakes-placed Mr. Prospector mare and therefore represents one of the most fashionable crosses available, that of Northern Dancer on Mr. Prospector. His dam is a full sister to track-record-setting Grade 1 winner Scan and hails from the family of champion Caerleon and Grade 1 winner Vision.

Hip No. 71, who breezed a quarter-mile in 21.40 seconds at the sale's Feb. 25 under-tack show, is one of two expensive Storm Cats that Kight and his wife, Layna, are bringing to the auction. The other is Hip No. 50, a son of Group 1 winner Luna Wells, by Sadler's Wells, who cost them $500,000. A third Storm Cat colt, a $900,000 son of Gone to the Moon that Hartley/De Renzo Thoroughbreds consigned, illustrated one risk in such pricey pinhooks: He died of an aneurysm during the sale's first under-tack show.

The only other Storm Cat in the sale is a filly consigned by Niall Brennan, agent. Offered as Hip No. 255, she is out of the Mr. Prospector mare County Fair, a half-sister to such runners as Corporate Report and Drachma. Hip No. 255 herself is a half-sister to stakes winner Steaming Home and cost a relatively inexpensive $260,000 as a yearling.

Another relative bargain of a pinhook could result in a nice home run for consigning agent Cary Frommer. That's Hip No. 152, a Johannesburg-St. Michele filly whose full brother Teuflesberg recently leaped onto the Triple Crown trail with an upset victory in the Southwest Stakes. The filly cost $110,000 last year.

This sale also introduces the first 2-year-olds for some noteworthy young sires.

Vindication is one of the more prolific, with nine horses cataloged. Two of those, Hip No. 151 and Hip No. 173, are half-brothers to champions Tomahawk and Answer Lively, respectively, and Hip No. 211 is a half-sister to Canadian champion Saoirse. Hip No. 235 is a half-brother to Grade 1 winner Tout Charmant.

Another first-year sire, Hawk Wing, has Hip No. 140, a half-brother to 1993 juvenile champion Dehere.

Other freshmen sires are Empire Maker, Aldebaran, Kafwain, Proud Citizen, Harlan's Holiday, Yankee Gentleman, Posse, Sky Mesa, Sunday Break, Changeintheweather, Zavata, Najran, D'Wildcat, Full Mandate, Mineshaft, Hold That Tiger, Hook and Ladder, Booklet, Whywhywhy, Macho Uno, and Drewman.

Freshmen sires are fashionable at today's yearling and juvenile sales, but the Calder catalog doesn't neglect proven stallions. Hip No. 254, for example, is a colt by Gone West out of the 1997 juvenile filly champion Countess Diana. And younger stallions with several crops are also well represented. Unbridled's Song, currently a very fashionable sire, has an interesting entry in Hip No. 90, a half-brother to Grade 1-placed Smooth Charmer and sire Mutakkdim. Elusive Quality, made famous recently by Smarty Jones, has a half-brother to Grade 1 winner Mandy's Gold selling as Hip No. 55. And Fusaichi Pegasus's seven horses include Hip No. 101, a half-sister to Group 1 winner Saratoga Springs.

The Green Monkey's sire, Forestry, is also in the catalog again with some well-bred entries. Those include Hip No. 31, a half-sister to Entepreneur; Hip No. 57, a daughter of Grade 1-placed March Magic; and Hip No. 301, a half-sister to major earner Beau's Town.

The auction's final under-tack show will take place at Calder on Sunday at 10 a.m. The one-day sale starts on Tuesday at 11 a.m.