07/14/2005 11:00PM

Record catalog for Fasig-Tipton July


LEXINGTON, Ky. - With the high-flying Keeneland July sale on hiatus for the third consecutive summer, Fasig-Tipton Kentucky's July yearling sale on Monday and Tuesday launches the season. When it opens at Newtown Paddocks in Lexington this year, the sale will have a couple of notable distinctions: a record number of horses in the catalog and Grade 1 winner Buzzards Bay as a last-minute special addition.

The 2005 Fasig-Tipton July catalog went to press with 672 lots, up sharply from last year's 492.

"Consignors just gave us a whole lot more horses that fit this sale," said Boyd Browning, Fasig-Tipton's chief operating officer.

The company trimmed its August Saratoga auction from three days to two this year, and the increase in July numbers may suggest growing consignor confidence in the middle-class market's strength generally and, specifically, in the July sale's healthy recent results. Last year, the two-day auction sold 338 head for $38,620,000 (up 37 percent) for a $114,260 average (up 23 percent) and an $80,000 median (up 19 percent).

Attendance by agents representing such major worldwide buyers as Michael Tabor and Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum has helped the July sale add gravy at the top in the million-dollar range in recent years. Last season's sale-topping Elusive Quality colt brought $950,000 from Sheikh Mohammed.

And while Browning notes that the Fasig-Tipton July selections are "more forgiving on pedigrees," focusing more on the horses' physical conformation, there are some boutique-style catalog pages on offer. The catalog features lots by such currently fashionable sires as Awesome Again, A.P. Indy, Distorted Humor, Fusaichi Pegasus, Giant's Causeway, More Than Ready, Unbridled's Song, and Yes It's True.

There are also lots with Grade 1 or Group 1 connections. Among those are Hip No. 133, an Orientate half-brother to 2004 champion and Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Smarty Jones, and Hip No. 7, whose dam is a half-sister to recent Epsom Derby winner Motivator.

The auction starts with a "new sire showcase" on Monday, highlighting progeny of young stallions that can appeal to all segments of the market.

Middle-market buyers and pinhookers are still mainstays at this auction, and their state of mind and money will have an effect at Newtown Paddocks. One concern is that pinhookers are coming off a rockier 2-year-old sale season than they had last year. Fasig-Tipton's bellwether Calder sale saw records across the board, but major auctions elsewhere saw dips. Barretts slipped in average and median, Keeneland fell across the board, and the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s March auction also declined in average and median. But gains at regional auctions in Maryland and Texas may bode well for yearling sales like Fasig-Tipton July, and, as Browning pointed out, pinhookers will need to restock their shelves for the 2006 juvenile season in any case.

"You wish pinhookers had done better overall, you wish the world economy was in better shape, you wish tax incentives we've had in place were still in play this year, you wish the state of racing was in better shape in a few locations," Browning said. "That said, there's always some uncertainty. But, overall, I think the marketplace will be very solid and very strong. I don't see dramatic gains from 2004, but I don't see any dramatic downturns, either."

Santa Anita Derby winner Buzzards Bay is an unusual addition to the July catalog. The 3-year-old Buzzards Bay, a possible starter in the Haskell, Travers, or West Virginia Derby, will do a star turn in the auction ring because of the decision of his owners - David Shimmon and Bill Bianco - to end their partnership. Fog City Stable partner Shimmon will continue to race under the Fog City name, while Bianco also is expected to stay in the game. Buzzards Bay, a son of Marco Bay out of the the Seneca Jones mare Lifes Lass, will be on view in Barn 11 as part of Darby Dan's consignment.

The July sale opens at 10 a.m. Eastern each day.

Here are a few of the yearlings worth noting:

* Hip No. 7, a Malabar Gold filly out of a half-sister to 2005 Epsom Derby victor Motivator;

* Hip No. 26, a Snow Ridge half-brother to Canadian champion 3-year-old A Bit O'Gold;

* Hip No. 66, a Street Cry half-sister Grade 1 winner Flat Fleet Feet;

* Hip No. 70, an Aptitude colt out of a half-sister to popular sire Distorted Humor;

* Hip No. 95, a Came Home half-brother to $413,117 earner Testafly;

* Hip No. 133, an Orientate half-brother to champion and Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Smarty Jones;

* Hip No. 166, a Johannesburg half-sister to Gritty Sandie, a $536,445 earner;

* Hip No. 170, a Millennium Wind half-brother to $683,517 earner Private Horde;

* Hip No. 184, an Exchange Rate half-brother to Kentucky Derby runner-up Closing Argument;

* Hip No. 185, a Tiznow half-sister to $499,621 earner Case of the Blues;

* Hip No. 192, an Officer filly out of Grade 1-placed Nervous Baba;

* Hip No. 196, a Broken Vow colt out of a daughter of Breeders' Cup Distaff winner One Dreamer;

* Hip No. 213, an Orientate half-sister to $428,314 earner Mountain Range;

* Hip No. 252, a Tiznow half-sister to Grade 1 winner The Groom Is Red;

* Hip No. 253, an E Dubai colt, first foal out of stakes winner Shesastonecoldfox;

* Hip No. 259, an Orientate half-brother to Grade 1 winner Mayo on the Side;

* Hip No. 278, a Buddha half-brother to $515,033 earner Shot of Gold;

* Hip No. 313, a Songandaprayer half-sister to $429,285 earner Mr. Livingston;

* Hip No. 343, a Forestry half-brother to Grade 2 winner and $905,497 earner Da Devil;

* Hip No. 347, a Maria's Mon half-brother to Grade 1-placed St Averil;

* Hip No. 352, a Forestry daughter of $432,548 earner Barefoot Dyana;

* Hip No. 353, a Lost Soldier half-brother to graded performers Native Regent, Royal Fair, and Morriston Belle;

* Hip No. 367, a Deputy Commander half-sister to $459,974-earning stakes winner Smilin' Slew;

* Hip No. 386, a Lion Hearted half-sister to Grade 1-placed Western Winter;

* Hip No. 399, a High Yield half-sister to Grade 1 winner Agincourt;

* Hip No. 410, a Forestry colt out of Grade 1 winner Catatonic;

* Hip No. 433, a Sky Classic half-brother to $567,515 earner Express Tour;

* Hip No. 509, an Eltish half-sister to Grade 1-placed stakes winner Flamenco;

* Hip No. 513, a Forestry colt, first foal for stakes winner Lotta Rhythm;

* Hip No. 557, an Unbridled's Song colt, first foal for stakes winner Rhum;

* Hip No. 581, a Pulpit colt out of a half-sister to sire Belong to Me;

* Hip No. 602, an In Excess full sister to Grade 2 winner Romanceishope;

* Hip No. 603, a Littlebitlively half-sister to millionaire Kiss a Native;

* Hip No. 607, an Our Emblem half-brother to $738,642 earner U Can Do It;

* Hip No. 613, a Glitterman daughter of $407,204 earner Sam's Sunny Halo;

* Hip No. 622, a Capote half-sister to Grade 1 winner Vivid Angel;

* Hip No. 631, a Hennessy colt out of Sunday Silence's daughter, Silence Beauty;

* Hip No. 653, a Quiet American filly out of a half-sister to champion and Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Silver Charm;

* Hip No. 656, a Forest Wildcat half-brother to $666,164 earner Soto.