01/26/2017 11:00AM

Regional growth fueling Fasig-Tipton Midlantic winter mixed sale

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The Fasig-Tipton Midlantic winter mixed sale in Maryland has always been a melting pot of the region’s breeding programs, and those programs’ recent growth suggests the ingredients might become of increasingly higher quality.

In particular, activity in the auction’s home state of Maryland has seen a steady gain, with the number of mares bred rising each of the past five years. The 913 mares bred in Maryland last year was the most since 2008, and its 2.7 percent share of the number of North American mares bred was the highest since 2005.

“It’s nice to see some renewed interest in the breeding industry in the Midlantic region,” Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning said. “Certainly, the purse increases and improvements in the program have stimulated activity in the Maryland breeding area. The Pennsylvania program has been good for a few years and remains a popular option, and then there’s New York and New Jersey and so forth.

“That marketplace is a regional market that serves a number of states that are on the uptick, and it’s nice that the state where the most activity is occurring is where we hold our sales.”

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This year’s auction takes place Sunday at Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic base on the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, beginning at 11 a.m. Eastern.

The rising interest in the region’s breeding programs is apparent in the sale’s catalog, which grew 47 percent to 228 entries from 155 last year.

Of the 86 yearlings in the catalog, 57 percent are Maryland-breds and 19 percent were born in Pennsylvania.

Last year’s Midlantic winter mixed sale was the first in its current January slot, after previously being held in December, meaning there was no 2015 sale.

The 2016 auction closed with 104 horses sold for revenues of $878,100. The average sale price finished at $8,443, the median was $4,350, and the buyback rate closed at 13 percent.

Topping the sale was a yearling Curlin colt who went to Machmer Hall for $76,000. Out of the winning Housebuster mare Thrill Seeker, the Pennsylvania-bred chestnut colt was resold for $180,000 at last year’s Keeneland September yearling sale, going to owner Mike Repole.

The most expensive mare, and the second-highest price of the sale, was Moon Orbit, an unraced daughter of Malibu Moon who sold to Susan Casey for $65,000. Moon Orbit was bred to Palace Malice for her first mating.