08/07/2007 11:00PM

Mr. Greeley colt tops F-T second session; sale suffers declines

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - A $2.2 million Mr. Greeley colt from the family of multiple Grade 1 winner Raging Fever topped the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale Tuesday night. Barry Irwin of the Team Valor syndicate purchased the colt, as well as a $230,000 Tapit-Bathsheba colt, from Graham Beck’s Gainesway Farm agency.

The two-day auction saw declines across the board. Together, the Monday and Tuesday sessions sold 142 yearlings for $41,082,000, a dip of two percent from last season’s two-day auction, despite a larger catalog of 214 horses as compared to 180 in 2006. Average price fell 11 percent to $289,310, and median was off by seven percent at $227,500. Buybacks rose from last year’s remarkably low 19 percent but still remained moderate at 24 percent.

The bidding for Hip No. 142, the sale-topping Mr. Greeley-Win My Heart colt, pitted Irwin against another partnership group, that of Lakland Farm owner Lewis Lakin, West Point Thoroughbreds founder Terry Finley, and Thoroughbred owners and breeders Marianne and Larry Hesse. Agent Buzz Chace represented Lakin, Finley, and the Hesses during the bidding, several times shaking off his bid-spotter before coming back to make another bid. Finally, Irwin prevailed.

“It was more nerve-wracking than a horse race,” Irwin said afterwards. “In a horse race, you pretty much know when the damn thing is going to be over.”

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas bought Tuesday night’s most expensive filly, an $875,000 Storm Cat daughter of Fusaichi Pegasus’s full sister, Blissful. The filly was offered by Eaton Sales, agent, as Hip No. 160 and is a full sister Group 3-placed Where’s That Tiger. Lukas said he would put a partnership together to campaign the filly.

Tuesday night’s session also featured some notable buybacks. Hip No. 117, a Storm Cat-Sweet Alabama colt that Taylor Made, agent, consigned on behalf of B. Wayne Hughes, failed to reach his reserve at $800,000. Hip No. 185, an A. P. Indy filly out of Cologny that Viking Stud consigned for Mrs. Lynn Schiff, also went unsold on a final bid of $750,000.