Updated on 09/15/2011 2:34PM

Surprise gains at Tattersalls


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Topped by Barouche Stud's $2,236,500 purchase of broodmare Zibilene, the Tattersalls December mixed sale ended Thursday in England with unexpected gains across the board.

The December sales - comprising mare, foal, and yearling divisions - featured a record 102 lots that sold for six figures or more, including top-priced Zibilene.

Zibilene, a half-sister to dual champion and 1994 Breeders' Cup Mile winner Barathea, sold Wednesday. Gerald Leigh's Eydon Hall Stud sold the 4-year-old, who is in foal to Darley Stud stallion Machiavellian.

The mixed sale began on Nov. 26 with yearlings and continued from Nov. 28 through Dec. 1 with foals.

Overall, the three auctions sold 1,384 lots for gross revenue of $75,650,000 up 2 percent from last year, when a larger group of 1,541 horses were sold.

The four-day mare portion of the December sale rang up increases in gross and average, despite selling fewer lots. From 767 total lots sold this year, the gross was $54,152,348, an increase of 4 percent from last year, when the auction sold 788 lots. Overall average rose 7 percent to a record $70,604, and median jumped 11 percent to $26,652.

Prices for mares dropped significantly on Thursday, when the session-topping filly, Countess Sybil, brought just $54,054. Whitsbury Farm and Stud Ltd. bought Countess Sybil, a 3-year-old Dr Devious filly, from Mill House Stud, agent. Countess Sybil, a winner, is out of Countess Candy (by Great Nephew), making her a half-sister to stakes-winner Mint Crisp.

"This has been a truly extraordinary sale," Tattersalls chairman Edmond Mahony said after the mare sale's conclusion Thursday night. "There cannot have been one single pundit who would have predicted the trade we have seen here at Park Paddocks over the past two weeks. Yearlings, then foals, and finally the breeding stock have all reached record levels."

Conquistador Cielo recovering

Claiborne Farm stallion Conquistador Cielo, the 1982 Horse of the Year, remained at the Hagyard Davidson McGee equine clinic in Lexington on Thursday, one day after undergoing surgery to remove six feet of his small intestine.

"He's eating and is bright and alert," Claiborne manager Gus Koch said of the 22-year-old Mr. Prospector stallion. "All of his vital signs are normal. He's doing as well as can be expected."

Koch said that farm officials and veterinarians had not yet discussed a plan for returning the horse to the Paris, Ky., nursery.

Conquistador Cielo, who stands for an advertised 2002 stud fee of $15,000, developed colic early Wednesday morning because of the intestine wrapping around a lipoma, or fatty tumor, in his abdomen. Dr. Michael Spirito performed the hour-long surgery to remove the affected intestine and resection the bowel.

Conquistador Cielo, winner of the 1982 Belmont Stakes and Metropolitan Handicap, is the sire of Grade 1 winners Marquetry, Wagon Limit, Norquestor, and Conquistarose.

Kentucky equine industry takes hit

Kentucky's income from the equine industry has fallen by $210 million in 2001 because of the effects of mare reproductive loss syndrome, according to a report issued Wednesday by economists at the University of Kentucky's College of Agriculture.

The figure reflected lost income from reduced stallion income, lower prices for breeding stock and young horses that would have been auctioned, and lost boarding fees.

Despite the losses, the equine industry remained Kentucky's leading farm business, and though University of Kentucky agricultural economists are predicting the loss of another 5 percent in 2002, the horse industry is expected to remain the commonwealth's leading farm enterprise.