05/24/2016 8:29PM

Strong second session, $1 million filly boost Fasig-Tipton Midlantic

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The Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-olds in training sale rebounded with a strong second and final session on Tuesday, led by a $1 million filly by phenomenal young sire Uncle Mo who was the second-highest-priced horse in sale history. She led a series of high-ticket offerings that helped the auction finish with a record total gross, but after a rocky opening session Monday, other economic categories showed declines.

A total of 337 horses sold over the two days of the auction, held in Timonium, Md., for gross receipts of $23,136,400, according to figures reported by the sale company shortly after the close of business Tuesday, before additional private sales were factored in. Fueled by the expanded catalog, that total was an increase of 2.1 percent from 2015, when 255 horses brought a then-record $22,659,000 over two days.

“Last year was huge, but to exceed last year was quite a move,” said Paget Bennett, Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic sales director. “Today was strong, and it was good, and I loved seeing another million-dollar horse. It was so rewarding that people can bring that kind of horse to this marketplace and feel confident. Good horses can’t hide from anybody.”

The average sale price, $68,654, and median, $32,000, were declines of 22.7 and 28.9 percent, respectively, from the record figures of $88,859 and $45,000 in 2015.

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After gross, average, and median posted declines between 18.5 percent and 33.3 percent between the comparable opening sessions on Monday, the second and final session helped stabilize the market somewhat. On Tuesday, 180 horses sold in the session for $12,420,700, a 29.2 percent gain from 128 for $9,612,000 in the second session in 2015. The average price was $69,004 and the median was $32,000, more moderate session-to-session declines of 8.1 and 26.8 percent, respectively, compared to $75,094 and $43,750 last year.

“I think it was just kind of the way the catalog fell into place,” Bennett said. “But perhaps after the way things went yesterday with some of their horses, perhaps [consignors] did kind of re-think what they needed to do with their expectations, so I’m sure that did play into it. But they got it right, and we got it right.”

Trainer Linda Rice signed for the sale-topping Uncle Mo filly on behalf of owners Chester and Mary Broman; all are based in New York. The price tag trails only last year’s $1.25-million Smart Strike filly in Fasig-Tipton Midlantic history.

The Uncle Mo filly, consigned as agent by Pike Racing, was tied for the fastest quarter-mile of last week’s under-tack preview, breezing in 21 2/5 seconds.

“The next morning, the vets started coming and checking on her," Al Pike said. "I think she got people’s attention. It's rare and it's exciting and we're really glad. … Obviously we love the filly, and we're thrilled that she's going to go to someone like Linda Rice, who's going to give her every opportunity to be as good as she's going to be.”

The filly is out of the unraced Tale of the Cat mare Dream Street, dam of four winners from five starters, including Grade 2-placed Lassofthemohicans, by Uncle Mo’s sire Indian Charlie. Dream Street is a half-sister to champion Housebuster, as well as a full sister to stakes winner Cat Buster, and half to Grade 2 winner and stakes producer Quero Quero, Grade 3-placed Maison de Reve, stakes-placed Yashima Japan, and stakes producers Night and Dreams, Dreamscape, and Desireux.

The filly, bred in Kentucky by Tom VanMeter, Gaines-Gentry Thoroughbreds, and Fox Strauss, failed to meet her reserve with a high bid of $80,000 at the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale. Pike, who was familiar with her family, subsequently privately purchased her as a pinhook prospect for client Danny Saloom.

“She caught my eye because she's beautiful and was a half-sister to a horse I had last year named Cadryrn, who's a pretty good horse,” said Pike, who sold Cadryrn for $160,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale. “I thought a lot of him. I can see some similarities to him. At the moment, we didn't know Uncle Mo was going to be doing what he's done. She had a few little issues, a few little flaws, but she outgrew most of them, and turned into a beautiful filly, and we thought she was pretty special all winter. We're very proud of her.”

The biggest blight during the sale was the buyback rate, which finished at 25.9 percent. That was a gain from 21.5 percent in 2015, continuing to display a very selective market.

“It’s definitely a little polarized,” said David Scanlon, whose Scanlon Training and Sales consigned the auction’s second-highest-priced horse, a Pennsylvania-bred colt by Maryland sire Friesan Fire who went for $825,000 to J.J. Crupi’s New Castle Farm. “We’re noticing when the horses are real good and jump through all the hoops, things like this can happen and you’re going to get paid for a horse. But the lower markets and middle markets, it’s harder to move horses. The big horses come out and sell themselves, but the others are harder to move.”

Led by the Uncle Mo filly and the Friesan Fire colt, six horses sold for half a million or more to lead that top of the market. The others were a $600,000 Medaglia d’Oro colt to Ruis Racing; a $510,000 filly from the first crop of The Factor to Stonestreet Farm; a $500,000 Malibu Moon filly to bloodstock agent Steve Young; and a $500,000 Speightstown colt to I.B.S.

For complete sale results, click here.