02/05/2018 8:17PM

Mixed returns to open Fasig-Tipton Kentucky winter mixed sale


The opening session of the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky winter mixed sale went without the splashy prices that drove the top of the market last year, producing declines in gross and average with a slightly higher median, and spearheaded by the $260,000 broodmare prospect Bling On the Music.

Monday’s session finished with 181 horses sold for revenues of $4,134,200, down 12 percent from last year’s first day of trade when 164 horses changed hands for $4,702,300. The average sale price dipped 21 percent to $22,841 from $28,763, while the median rose 3 percent to $10,000 from $9,750.

The day one median was higher than either of the two sessions in 2017, but Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning was hesitant to declare the figure as an indication of an especially bustling middle market compared with the previous sale.

“The numbers can be really misleading at a lot of horse sales, particularly in this range in the marketplace,” Browning said. “I think it’s very similar to what we’ve seen, and I think we continue to see polarization. If you’ve got a good one, you’re better off than you were 12 months ago, and if you’ve got one not deemed a ‘good one,’ you’re worse off than you were 12 months ago. I honestly don’t think there’s much change in the middle market, particularly in the broodmare section.”

The buyback rate finished at 26 percent, compared with last year’s day one figure of 31 percent.

At the top of the market, two horses sold for $200,000 or more, trailing the five to do so during last year’s comparable session, which was topped by the $475,000 mare Super Majesty. The number of six-figure transactions dipped to nine from 12, while sales of $50,000 or more rose to 21 from 18.

:: DRF BREEDING LIVE: Real-time coverage of breeding and sales

Monday’s session took place during a rough day for the stock market, in which the Dow Jones industrial average dropped by 1,175 points, the biggest single-day decline in more than six years.

The stock market can have an effect on the Thoroughbred market, with buyers and sellers from various business backgrounds interacting in the auction sphere, but there was little concern on the Fasig-Tipton grounds that the recent economic swoon would have a significant bearing on the current sale, or the Thoroughbred market long-term.

“The Dow’s basically gone up roughly 50 percent over the last 14 months, so if you have a little correction over a day or two relatively speaking, everyone’s still got a whole lot more money if they were investing in the market today than they could have reasonably expected in the last 12-14 months,” Browning said. “For everybody’s perspective, I hope we don’t have another 5 percent drop Tuesday, and another 5 percent drop Wednesday, [and so on], but overall, I don’t think the market has any direct impact on a sale like this, in the marketplace this quickly.”

Douglas Arnold, who was at the sale shopping and selling for his Buck Pond Farm, pointed out that the trend of positive returns at Thoroughbred auctions in 2017 and into 2018 can help protect the overall health of the market from outside influences when they arise. He also noted that Monday’s stock market performance was far from an indication that the economic sky was falling, and that many of the horses trading at the current auction wouldn’t necessarily go to buyers whose budgets were tied closely to the greater marketplace, compared to a select sale.

“One thing that happens in our game is people who are losing money in other things say, ‘Hey, I’m making money in the horse business,’ Arnold said. “It’s a longer-term deal. We have a three-year cycle on buying a mare, so you really can’t be too short-sighted, and there’s still a lot of expendable cash out there. There’s money that’s been on the sidelines, and so much of it’s coming back in. Nobody realized it was that much. I think we’ll be fine.”

Monday’s session-topper was Bling On the Music, a Grade 2-placed stakes-winning broodmare prospect who sold to Oussama Aboughazale's Sumaya U.S. Stable, under his International Equities Holding, for $260,000.

The 4-year-old filly won 3 of 6 starts for earnings of $153,167, highlighted by victories in the Gold Rush Futurity at Arapahoe Park and the Texas Thoroughbred Futurity at Lone Star Park. She also finished third in the Grade 2 Pocahontas Stakes at Churchill Downs.

Keene Thoroughbreds bought Bling On the Music for $95,000 at the 2016 Texas Thoroughbred Association 2-year-olds in training sale, and raced her with trainers J. R. Caldwell and Allen Milligan.

"I thought she was a very attractive mare,” said Sumaya Farm manager Jody Alexander. “We're looking for mares that we think will fit with California Chrome in the Southern Hemisphere, or even for a few more mares to support him in the Northern Hemisphere. Plus, we're still trying to get mares for our stallion, Protonico."

Bred in Texas by William S. Farish, Bling On the Music is by Too Much Bling out of winning Action This Day mare Soft Music, whose three foals to race are all winners. Her extended family includes Grade 1-placed stakes winner Inca Roca, and Grade 2-placed Laddie Boy.

Baccari Bloodstock consigned Bling On the Music, as agent. Consignor Chris Baccari had acquired the filly privately after her racing career.

"I know she's by the sire that she's by, but she's a very good physical and she's got a really good race record,” Baccari said. “I probably should have kept her myself to breed her, but I've got too many horses in training right now. She is a very good filly.”

The top yearling of the day was a Distorted Humor filly who went to Machmer Hall for $105,000.

The dark bay or brown filly is out of the Grade 3-placed stakes-winning Gilded Time mare Gilded Gold, whose three winners from four runners include the stakes winner Thieves Guild. Further down the page are Grade 2 winners Gigantic Breeze and Dr. Kashnikow, and Grade 3 winner Hope for a Breeze.

"She's out of a stakes-winning, stakes-producing mare,” said Machmer Hall’s Carrie Brogden. “We figured we could go to a yearling sale, 2-year-old sale, she could join the Machmer Hall broodmare program. Distorted Humor's becoming such an unbelievable broodmare sire, so we figured with what we do on our farm, she could be a very versatile purchase. She wasn't perfect in the front end, but I was very happy with her.”

"I think it's value,” Brogden continued. “With this kind of filly, we have more options. She has plenty of page, no matter what she does in the future, to be appealing at any level. Who's not going to want a young, well-bred Distorted Humor filly in their broodmare band that's got a body and a walk like that?"

Colts Neck Stables and Barry Weisbord bred the filly in Kentucky. Gilded Gold raced for the partnership of Weisbord, Bobby Flay, and Robert Masterson, and she was sold to Korean interests for $15,000 at the 2017 Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

The filly that sold Monday became the first six-figure pre-racing-age foal out of Gilded Gold to change hands at public auction. Thieves Guild, by Medaglia d'Oro, brought $310,000 while in foal to Speightstown at the 2016 Keeneland November sale.

Denali Stud consigned the filly, as agent. 

The Fasig-Tipton Kentucky winter mixed sale concludes Tuesday, beginning at 10 a.m. Eastern.

To view the full results from Monday’s session, click here.