09/30/2007 11:00PM

Six-figure buys kick off Fasig-Tipton sale

EmailFasig-Tipton Midlantic's Eastern fall yearling sale produced some early six-figure horses Monday at its first of three sessions in Timonium, Md.

At 5 p.m. Eastern, the opener's top price was $190,000 for Hip No. 104, a colt by the late champion Maria's Mon and out of the Fred Astaire mare Jinger Feathers. Pinhooker Nick De Meric, agent, purchased the colt, a half-brother to Grade 3 winner Caught in the Rain and to 2007 stakes-placed runner Rogers.

The Welker Sales Agency consigned the session-leading colt.

Hip No. 104 was one of eight yearlings to bring $100,000 or more. Others included Hip No. 60, a $180,000 Forest Camp-Hope's Diamond colt that L & F Stables (Buzz Chace, agent) bought from Candyland's agency, and Hip No. 102, a $120,000 Smart Strike-Jetto filly that Bowling & Dodd Inc., agent, bought from the Summerfield agency. Also selling above $100,000 were Hip No. 204, a $115,000 Fusaichi Pegasus-Mary Livermore colt that Bluewater Sales, agent, sold to Murray Smith, and Hip No. 220, a $110,000 Smarty Jones-Mescalina filly that Becky Davis, agent, sold to Milton P. Higgins III. Three yearlings had brought $100,000. They were Hip No. 68, a Lion Heart-Ice Carnival filly that Dixiana Stables (Bluewater Sales, agent) sold to Jay Em Ess Stable; Hip No. 132, a Trippi-Kris' Pine Sticks filly that agent Tonya Jurgens sold to Fox Hill Farms; and Hip No. 175, a Proud Citizen-Lose the Blues filly that Crossroads Sales, agent, sold to Fred Heyman and Nancy Clark.

The auction's early strength, especially for top offerings, was offset somewhat by the session's early unsold rate. Through the first 245 cataloged horses, the session had offered 211 yearlings, of which 72, or about 34 percent, failed to reach the reserve prices set by their sellers. That was running higher than last year's first-session buybacks of 30 percent.

The auction was to continue through Wednesday with sessions beginning daily at 10 a.m. at the Maryland State Fairgrounds.

Foreign sire to stand in Kentucky

Hill 'n' Dale Farms has announced that Japanese Group 3 winner Seeking the Best will enter stud at the Lexington, Ky., stallion station in 2008. The 6-year-old Seeking the Gold horse will stand for a $7,500 fee.

An Irish-bred, Seeking the Best never ran in the United States, but his pedigree and sale record should look familiar to American horsemen. He is out of the Grade 3 winner and Grade 1-placed mare Mackie, by Summer Squall, whom Britton House Stud of Ireland purchased for $5 million at the 2000 Keeneland January sale. Britton House bred Seeking the Best and put him through the auction ring at Keeneland's 2002 September yearling sale, where he brought $1omillion from Kazuko Yoshida.

Seeking the Best is a half-brother to 2002 Arlington Classic winner Mr. Mellon, Group 3-placed Danebury Hill, and stakes-placed Beaucette.

From 21 starts, he won 9 times and earned $1,803,353.

Stonewall reduces stud fees

Stonewall Stallions in Versailles, Ky., has dropped the fees for most of its stallions for the coming season, and it will keep Medaglia d'Oro's fee at $40,000 despite the stallion's strong debut at this season's yearling auctions. The farm also announced it would limit its stallions' books to 135 in the coming season.

Stonewall hasn't yet announced a fee for Lawyer Ron, who finished a neck behind Curlin in the Jockey Club Gold Cup on Sunday and is pointing for the Breeders' Cup Classic.

So far this year, Medaglia d'Oro's 64 yearlings to sell at auction have averaged $122,982, according to SireAverages.com.

"We are aware of the market conditions and wanted to show sensitivity to the breeders of 2008," Stonewall manager Bert Welker said in announcing the fees.

The other 2008 Stonewall stallions and their fees are A. P. Warrior, who drops from $20,000 to $15,000; Da Stoops, who remains the same at $10,000; Doneraile Court, who drops from $10,000 to $6,000; Frisco Star, down from $5,000 to $3,500; It's No Joke, down from $10,000 to $7,500; Leroidesanimaux, down from $25,000 to $17,500; Marquetry, the same at $7,500; Strong Contender, the same at $10,000; Unforgettable Max, down from $7,500 to $6,500; and Value Plus, the same at $12,500.

Pico Central heading to Korea

Multiple Grade 1 winner Pico Central is headed to Korea, Padua Stables confirmed Monday. The 8-year-old Spend a Buck horse has been sold privately to the Korean Racing Association's Jeju Stud Farm in a deal brokered by California-based agent Rollin Baugh.

Padua representative Nadia Sanan said that the deal was the result of the Koreans' long interest in the horse and not part of the Sanan family's plans to relocate their Padua operation from Summerfield, Fla., to Kentucky.

Pico Central stood at Padua in Florida for a $7,500 fee this year.