02/02/2018 12:40PM

Solid demand expected at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky winter sale

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A mixed marketplace that made great strides in 2017-18 comes to a close at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky winter mixed sale, which serves as a final chance for buyers to secure mares before the breeding season.

The auction will take place Monday and Tuesday at Fasig-Tipton’s Newtown Paddocks base in Lexington, Ky., beginning each day at 10 a.m. Eastern.

The catalog comprises 574 entries as of Friday, with the possibility of additions before sale time. As it stands, the auction’s catalog is 10 percent smaller than last year’s, when 640 horses were cataloged at final count.

The mixed market has shown marked improvement during the current season, with every mixed auction hosted by the four major North American sale companies – Fasig-Tipton, Keeneland, Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co., and Barretts – finishing with an increased average sale price. The vast majority also showed gains in gross and median returns.

As the results continued to pour in, it became apparent from the reactions of buyers and sellers that the upward trend might have more staying power than just a few individual sales. That momentum is expected to carry into the Kentucky auction.

“There’s a good, optimistic vibe in the industry right now from a breeding standpoint,” said Tony Lacy of Four Star Sales. “Stallions are filling up. I think you’ll find people aren’t just planning six months ahead, they’re planning three, four, five years ahead, which they haven’t been able to for a while. From that standpoint, I think you’re seeing a breath of fresh air in the lungs of the industry, which hopefully will be sustainable for the foreseeable future.”

Lacy said he noticed the uptick starting as early as the first yearling sales last summer. Many of those were select auctions, but Lacy said his suspicion of a looming domino effect was confirmed at the Keeneland September yearling sale, where trade remained healthy from the elite first book through the less-select final sessions.

Breeders entering the autumn sales with more capital after a strong yearling season, paired with increasing interest in the North American product from international racing and breeding operations, helped fuel the mixed market. However, Lacy said the most important factor keeping the trade afloat beyond the highest levels was a better selection of desirable offerings in the middle and lower markets.

“I think quality will always sell well,” he said. “There’s an appetite for horses that are commercial, that are usable, that make sense, and are viable. Horses that people are looking to move on are going to struggle because if the people who are selling them don’t want them, the buyers generally struggle to make sense of them as well.”

Last year’s Kentucky winter mixed sale finished with 351 horses sold for $9,501,800, up 15 percent from 2016. The average sale price grew 12 percent to $27,071, while the median declined 5 percent to $9,000. The buyback rate finished at 25 percent.

Cinnamon Spice, a half-sister to Grade 1 winner and popular young sire Violence, topped the sale, going to Oussama Aboughazale’s International Equities Holding Co. for $700,000. The winning Candy Ride mare was offered as a broodmare prospect and was bred to Medaglia d’Oro for the 2018 foaling season.

The sale’s top yearling was Makes Mo Cents, an Uncle Mo colt who went to Artic Bloodstock. He is the first foal out of the winning Stormy Atlantic mare Infliction. Makes Mo Cents was pinhooked later that year at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall yearling sale, where he sold to bloodstock agent Patrice Miller of EQB for $125,000.