Whenever a shortage of desirable product arises, those who can provide the most access to said products rarely fail at getting patrons to spend whatever it takes to acquire such goods.
For the second consecutive year, Fasig-Tipton utilized that concept to solid returns as both its July selected yearling sale and companion Horses of Racing Age auction both yielded a degree of fireworks throughout the selective atmosphere of Thoroughbred auction ranks.
Hours after a half sibling to graded stakes winners Executiveprivilege and Hoppertunity became the highest priced yearling to sell at Fasig-Tipton July since 2006 when he went to Florida-based Northwest Stud for $550,000, recent maiden winner Bedford Land topped the Horses of Racing Age sale when she sold to Three Chimneys Farm for $1.075 million.
Last season marked the first time Fasig-Tipton officials added the Horses of Racing Age sale to follow the first major yearling exercise of the year with the hope being that giving buyers more options at a time when the foal crop is shrinking would result in crossover gains.
Though the median for the yearling sale declined by 2.78 percent this year to $70,000, the overall gross of $15,253,000 from 162 head sold was up 4.2 percent from 2013 with the average rising 4.87 percent to $94,154. Lingering selectivity however resulted in a buyback rate increasing from 26.58 percent last year to 30.77 percent.
Similarly, the Horses of Racing Age sale saw its gross of $8,426,000 increase by 44.8 percent over 2013 as 109 horses sold, up from 55 sold a year ago. Its average ($77,303) and median ($35,000) declined by 26.93 and 22.22 percent, respectively.
“I definitely think these two (sales) feed off each other,” said Duncan Taylor of Taylor Made Sales, which consigned Bedford Land as part of the dispersal of stock from noted owner Eugene Melnyk. “People want more product. And with the shortage of race horses, I think this is a really good concept.”
Consigned by Hidden Brook, agent, the sale-topping yearling was a son of Cowboy Cal who is already a veteran inside the sales ring. His dam Refugee sold for $480,000 with the colt in utero during the 2012 Fasig-Tipton November mixed sale and the colt himself was purchased by McMahon & Hill Bloodstock as a weanling for $145,000 at the 2013 Keeneland November Breeding Stock auction.
After signing the ticket for the strong-bodied colt, Northwest Stud’s stallion director Alfredo Lichoa said they too would likely run the son of Cowboy Cal back through the ring at the 2-year-olds sales next March banking on the strength of his female family. Refugee has been a standout producer with Executiveprivilege becoming a multiple Grade I winner and Hoppertunity capturing the Grade II Rebel Stakes this March before an injury knocked him out of the Kentucky Derby.
“He comes from a very nice family and we thought he was one of the best looking horses in the sale,” Lichoa said. “He went for a little bit more than we thought but he’s one of the best horses in the sale. Hopefully we’ll see him at the select sales in March.”
Northwest has already had success with high-dollar pinhooks, having sold a Giant’s Causeway colt for $1.6 million at the OBS March selected 2-year-olds in training sale after buying that one for $550,000 at the 2013 Keeneland September yearling sale.
Regardless what was being offered, similar standards applied with all the major money falling on the same handful of best offerings. Hence, Three Chimneys chief operating officer Chris Baker said the budget had to go out the window as the bidding for Bedford Land – a Speightstown filly out of Grade I winner Pool Land – sailed into the seven-figure range.
Bedford Land broke her maiden at first asking for trainer Mark Casse at Churchill Downs going 4 1/2 furlongs on June 22.
“She can run a little bit, she’s shown that,” said Baker who added they would “figure out” a trainer. “We’re hoping we didn’t overpay, time will tell. We went higher than we were willing to go. I think we’re going to have to get used to doing that based on how everything is selling. Something that is quality or perceived to be quality is going to be expensive.”
The Melnyk dispersal provided a boost in quality for both the yearling and Horses of Racing Age sale. In addition, 13 mares and weanlings from Melnyk’s stock were also sold immediately after the yearling sale with those offerings generating $1,329,000 in gross.
End-users in particular have become more prominent at the July sale as the overall horse shortage no longer gives them the luxury of being able to wait further down line in a horse’s development before stocking up.
The response Fasig-Tipton got last year and again Monday all but assured that the pairing of the two sales will remain a fixture in the future in order to satisfy what the current market demands.
“We saw tremendous crossover tonight of bidders and buyers and it’s not a segregated world,” said Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning Jr. “The buyers are going to bid on some yearlings, they’re going to bid on some racehorses. Some of them bid on some weanlings and some mares.
“There is no question there is niche in the marketplace for the horses of racing age and it was demonstrated last year. It was very effective again this year and we will definitely continue to have horses of racing age as a component of the July sales market.”
Alicia Wincze Hughes: (859) 231-1676. Blog: horseracing.bloginky.com. Twitter: @horseracinghl.