07/16/2002 11:00PM

Mazel Trick colt leads sale


LEXINGTON, Ky. - As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, a $535,000 colt by first-crop sire Mazel Trick was the session-leader at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky's July select yearling sale in Lexington.

The two-day sale, which was to sell nearly 300 horses in its Wednesday session, opened with 260 hips in a new sire showcase featuring first- and second-crop sires.

The session-leading Mazel Trick colt, sold as Hip No. 144, went to Ben Glass, agent. A chestnut, the colt is out of the unraced Private Account mare Private Dish. Private Dish also has produced the stakes winner Lolabell (Phone Trick) and stakes-placed Cliffty Falls and Dish It Out, both by Naevus.

Former Kentucky governor Brereton C. Jones Jr.'s Airdrie Stud consigned the colt. Airdrie stands Mazel Trick.

The second-highest price at the time was the $500,000 that pinhooker Jerry Bailey, agent, paid for Hip No. 26, an Exploit colt out of the stakes-placed Eastern Echo mare Eastside Westside. Taylor Made Sales Agency consigned him.

Trade appeared strong at the Fasig-Tipton auction, which consists largely of middle-market horses. Fasig-Tipton officials and consignors on the grounds had been concerned about the state of the bloodstock market following 30 percent across-the-board declines and a 40 percent buy-back rate at the more expensive boutique Keeneland July select sale on Monday and Tuesday. The Keeneland sale ended Tuesday night with a $3.1 million Storm Cat-Tacha colt as its sale-topper.

With just a quarter of Fasig-Tipton's 600-horse catalog auctioned on Wednesday afternoon, sales executives were relieved with the early results.

"We didn't sleep well this week," Boyd Browning, Fasig- Tipton's chief operating officer, said. "But the feedback we were getting from our consignors was that they were getting a lot of pre-sale activity and people were looking at their horses. About a quarter of the way through the sale, our average currently is up slightly at between $99,000 and $100,000, our buy-backs are down slightly, and our median is about the same as our overall median from last year." The 2001 median was $77,000.

The Keeneland and Fasig-Tipton July sales serve different buying segments, but Browning said he had been concerned that general economic worries and upper-market woes at Keeneland might affect middle-market Fasig-Tipton.

"The psychology of it is important. When people feel good, they're more likely to spend money. When they're not optimistic, they're less likely to spend money. So, yes, we were concerned."