08/07/2006 11:00PM

Spa yearling sale set to go

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Fasig-Tipton's Saratoga sale grounds were busy with potential bidders on Tuesday afternoon, when the auction house prepared to host the opening session of its two-day select yearling sale Tuesday night.

The auction offers a larger selection this year, with 180 lots cataloged, compared with last year's 150. Company officials hope the larger auction will perform at least as well, if not better, than last year's edition. In 2005, the auction sold 103 lots for $33,415,000, a drop from the previous year, when 150 yearlings brought a total of $45,705,000. But the average price of $324,417 and median of $225,000 both represented gains last year. The buy-back rate in 2005 was 24 percent, up from 21 percent in 2004.

Last year's sale-topper was $3.1 million Black Cat Crossing, a Storm Cat-Rings a Chime colt that Coolmore purchased from Taylor Made, agent.

Among the offerings this year is a half-sister to another noteworthy Coolmore purchase. Hip No. 95, selling at the final session on Wednesday night, is a daughter of Vindication and Magical Masquerade, making her a half-sister to the world-record $16 million colt, The Green Monkey, whom Coolmore bought at the 2006 Fasig-Tipton Calder 2-year-old sale in Miami. That colt recently pulled a gluteal muscle during a workout at Saratoga and is on the sidelines. The Taylor Made agency consigns Hip No. 95.

The sale was to take place on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Humphrey S. Finney Pavilion in Saratoga, with session beginning each night at 7:30.