05/01/2017 12:53PM

Tapwrit tops list of Derby auction horses

Barbara D. Livingston
Tapwrit was the most expensive Derby contender at auction, selling for $1.2 million at the 2015 Saratoga select yearling sale.

The average cost at public auction for a Kentucky Derby contender in this year’s field was $274,043.

Of the 24 horses still publicly in Derby contention through Monday, 16 of them changed hands at public auction a combined 22 times. Six of the hopefuls are campaigned as homebreds, and one horse, Santa Anita Derby winner Gormley, was acquired through a private purchase.

The most expensive auction graduate among the Derby contenders is Tapwrit, a Tapit colt who sold to the partnership of Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Bridlewood Farm, and Robert LaPenta for $1.2 million at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale.

The least expensive was Gunnevera, the winner of the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes, who sold to trainer Antonio Sano as agent for $16,000 at the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale.

The colt, from the first crop of Dialed In, was co-bred and consigned by Jim and Pam Robinson’s Brandywine Farm, which also bred and sold Derby contender Royal Mo.

Pam Robinson said she expected about $60,000 for Gunnevera prior to the release of the September catalog, but landing as the second horse of the auction’s eighth session torpedoed his stock, with many buyers still settling in for the day.

“There was nobody there, so we knew we were in trouble, but we had 100 yearlings to sell, so we try not to accumulate them,” Robinson said. “We were extremely disappointed he brought just $16,000. He was a very nice colt, a very honest colt, very willing and athletic.”