09/10/2017 9:00PM

Inaugural Fasig-Tipton Turf Showcase displays selective market

Two colts from the final crop of Scat Daddy each fetched $250,000 to lead the inaugural Fasig-Tipton Turf Showcase.

The Fasig-Tipton Turf Showcase yearling sale struggled to find footholds during its inaugural edition on Sunday, with just under half of the 145 offerings finishing under their reserves. A pair of $250,000 Scat Daddy colts topped the sale.

At the end of the evening’s trade, Fasig-Tipton reported 74 horses sold for revenues of $5,035,000. The average sale price closed at $68,041, while the median finished at $52,500, and the buyback rate closed at 49 percent.

Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning said the first Turf Showcase was a learning experience, with some positive returns and some hard lessons.

“It was an interesting evening,” Browning said. “You hate to have an RNA rate in the 40s. Certainly, we were a little disappointed in that, but we learned a lot of things throughout the evening - both in physical inspections, and we figured some things out in the pedigrees.”

At the top of the market, five horses sold for $200,000 or more, while 18 yearlings changed hands for six figures. However, Sunday’s final figures were hampered by buybacks at the top of the market. The horses drawing the auction’s four highest final bids each finished under their reserves, led by a $375,000 War Front filly.

Duncan Taylor of prominent consignor Taylor Made Sales Agency said the Turf Showcase catalog will need to better adapt to the demands of the marketplace in future editions to establish long-term sustainability, focusing on commercial pedigrees and physicals to keep higher-end buyers interested.

“A lot of those horses probably would have been bought back spread out through [Keeneland September], because if they’re turf-bred and below average, they’re hard to sell in America,” Taylor said. “But it’s a good first shot. What they’ll have to do is be more select, and if you can get enough of them.”

The horses in the Turf Showcase were inspected and slotted in the catalog during the same round of select inspections that took place for Fasig-Tipton’s July sale in Kentucky and the Saratoga select and New York-bred sales. After the Turf Showcase, Browning agreed that how the auction’s horses are chosen warranted re-evaluation.

“We didn’t know going in [to the Turf Showcase] if we were going to get 28 horses or 280 horses, and it’s hard when you’re out on the farm looking at horses to say, ‘This is how we’re going to dial this thing in,’” Browning said. “We were too lenient on some physicals. 

“We may have had a little stallion overload in a few spots, from North American-based stallions that we thought the world would accept, and the world really didn’t,” he continued. “Despite the success some of those stallions have had in the United States, it doesn’t necessarily translate as we thought it might.”

While the auction did attract buyers from a diverse segment of the global community, Browning also noted that participation from the European corner of the buying bench was lower than he had anticipated.

“It takes time to change behavior,” Browning said. “They came, some bought. They shopped, but not as many bought as shopped. That’s normal of any horse sale, but it takes time to change behavior, and they wanted to come and see what the horses were like and get a feel for the sale and how the market was going to react to a lot of this. It was educational in that regard.

“You crawl, and then you walk, and then you run, but I was very pleased with the number of Europeans that were on the sales grounds the last three days and I was disappointed by the number of horses that we sold to European buyers,” he continued. “It’s part of the process.”

With a set of data to evaluate for the Turf Showcase, Browning said a decision on whether it would return for future editions, and in what form, would be decided later.

“I’m not going to make a great stand and say, ‘absolutely yes’ or ‘absolutely not,’” he said, “We will evaluate in context of our yearling sales to see how we best serve the marketplace. We found there was a need and a niche. Can we do a better job? Yes.”

As further evidence that commercial pedigrees are key to the Turf Showcase’s long-term success, three of the auction’s five most expensive yearlings were by the late Scat Daddy, including the $250,000 co-toppers. Another colt sold for $200,000. Scat Daddy, a former Ashford Stud resident, died in December 2015 as he was emerging as a global powerhouse. This season’s yearlings are his final crop.

Midwest-based owner Robert Lothenbach’s Lothenbach Stable purchased a colt who is the first foal out of the stakes-winning Rockport Harbor mare Harbingerofthings.

Bred in Kentucky by Spendthrift Farm, the colt is from the family of Grade 3 winner Street Magician and stakes winners What It Is, A Lover’s Question, Turn To T.J., and Special Kell.

Vinery Sales consigned the colt as agent for Spendthrift Farm.

“He was a good athlete, and carried himself well,” Drew Nardiello, racing manager for Lothenbach, said. “Scat Daddy gets you very precocious, very nice racehorses. It’s sad to see him go.”

Later in the sale, bloodstock agent Nick de Meric bought the co-topper as agent for an unnamed client. De Meric said the colt would likely end up under the shedrow of trainer Chad Brown.

The bay colt is out of the placed Danehill Dancer mare Luvly Rita, and is also the mare’s first foal. Bred in Kentucky by Don Alberto Corp., the colt is from the family of Group 1 winners Yesterday, Quarter Moon, and Diamondsandrubies, Group 2 winner Thomas Chippendale, and Group 3-placed Betterbetterbetter, who topped the 2013 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall select mixed sale as a broodmare at $5.2 million.

Taylor Made consigned the colt, as agent.

“They’re collectors' items now, and he’s the greatest loss to the breeding industry in a while, and we’re just happy to have one from his last crop,” de Meric said of Scat Daddy. “We’ll have a swing at a couple others across town, but this one certainly met our criteria.”

For hip-by-hip sale results, click here.

Fasig-Tipton Turf Showcase, final results

Year Sold Gross Average Median Buyback
2017 74 $5,035,000 $68,041 $52,500 49%

Fasig-Tipton Turf Showcase, top 10 purchases

Price Pedigree Buyer Consignor
$250,000 Colt by Scat Daddy - Harbingerofthings, by Rockport Harbor Lothenbach Stables Vinery Sales, agent for Spendthrift Farm
$250,000 Colt by Scat Daddy - Luvly Rita, by Danehill Dancer DeMeric Stables, agent Taylor Made Sales, agent
$200,000 Filly by Kitten's Joy - Brushwork, by Discreet Cat Cheyenne Stables Taylor Made Sales, agent
$200,000 Colt by Scat Daddy - Madera Dancer, by Rahy Hunter Valley Farm Taylor Made Sales, agent
$200,000 Colt by Malibu Moon - Article Rare, by El Prado Michael Stinson/Tom McGreevey, agent Darby Dan Farm, agent
$185,000 Colt by Animal Kingdom - Lady of Akita, by Fantastic Light DeMeric Stables Runnymede Farm, agent
$150,000 Colt by Noble Mission - Mayoress, by Machiavellian J S Company Taylor Made Sales, agent
$150,000 Colt by Divine Park - Quality Included, by Include Godolphin Brereton C. Jones/Airdrie Stud
$140,000 Colt by Scat Daddy - Last Song, by Unbridled's Song Tom McCrocklin, agent, SBS Sales Bluewater Sales, agent
$137,000 Colt by Hard Spun - Bola de Cristal, by Galileo Jerry Crawford, Donegal Racing Four Star Sales, agent