09/07/2011 2:57PM

Washington sale up 20 percent in average; $105K sale-topper

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AUBURN, Wash. – Spirited bidding at the top of the market led to gains Tuesday at the Washington Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association’s annual yearling and mixed sale at Emerald Downs. Of the 116 select yearlings cataloged, 75 changed hands for an average price of $12,447, an increase of nearly 20 percent from the previous year.

Six yearlings sold for more than $40,000, including the $105,000 sale-topper, and eight others commanded $20,000 or more. But while the bidding was fast and furious for some yearlings, the bottom of the market remained soft. A total of 30 yearlings failed to meet their auction reserves, and many of the 75 yearlings to change hands sold for less than $2,000. The median sales price of $5,700 was off about 1 percent from 2010.

Ed and Theresa DeNike of Kent, Wash., purchased the sale-topper, a colt by Candy Ride from Emerald Downs stakes-winning mare Sudden Departure. The colt was bred and consigned by Rick and Debbie Pabst’s Blue Ribbon Farm in Buckley, Wash.

Ken Alhadeff of Seattle paid $82,000 for a full brother to 2010 Longacres Mile winner Noosa Beach. A son of Harbor the Gold – the sale’s leading sire by average – the colt was consigned by breeder Bar C Racing Stables of Hermiston, Ore.

Trainer Tim McCanna purchased a full brother to Washington champion 2-year-olds No Constraints and Sundance Circle for $67,000. The colt, out of Washington broodmare of the year Nightatmisskittys, was consigned by Dana Halvorson, a bloodstock agent and president of the breeders’ association. Halvorson said he was pleased with Tuesday’s sale from start to finish.

“There was lots of energy in the crowd, we were up 20 percent, and the general feeling was very positive,” he said. “Overall, considering the way things are in general in the economy, we’re pretty optimistic. You didn’t feel a doom and gloom; you just felt an energy, and that was throughout the sale. We had a good crowd, and they were enthusiastic.

“There were some nice horses that didn’t bring any money; it’s still a horse sale. But we had some of our busiest days in years showing these horses, and the top ones brought what they would have brought in any good market. There were a lot of horses in the $10,000 to $20,000 range, which we didn’t have last year. It was way sturdier this year, whereas last year we simply didn’t have a middle.”