For the second consecutive year, Fasig-Tipton saw solid returns at its July selected yearling sale and companion horses of racing age auctions, both of which yielded a degree of fireworks Tuesday.
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 (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.
Though the median for the yearling sale declined by 2.78 percent, to $70,000, the overall gross of $15,253,000 from 162 head sold was up 4.2 percent from 2013 and the average rose 4.87 percent, to $94,154. Lingering selectivity, however, resulted in the buyback rate increasing from 26.58 percent last year to 30.77 percent.
Similarly, the horses of racing age sale saw its gross increase 44.8 percent, to $8,426,000, as 109 horses sold, up from 55 a year ago. The 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 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 as agent, the sale-topping yearling was a son of Cowboy Cal who is already a veteran in 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 was purchased for $145,000 by McMahon & Hill Bloodstock as a weanling at the 2013 Keeneland November Breeding Stock auction.
After signing the sales ticket, Northwest Stud's stallion director Alfredo Lichoa said they probably would run the son of Cowboy Cal back through the ring at the 2-year-olds sales in 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 last March before an injury knocked him out of the Kentucky Derby.
Northwest has 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 it for $550,000 at the 2013 Keeneland September yearling sale.
As the bidding for Bedford Land, a Speightstown filly out of Grade I winner Pool Land, sailed into the seven-figure range, Three Chimneys chief operating officer Chris Baker said the budget had to go out the window.
Bedford Land broke her maiden at first asking for trainer Mark Casse at Churchill Downs, going 41/2 furlongs 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."
Alicia Wincze Hughes: (859) 231-1676. Blog: horseracing.bloginky.com. Twitter: @horseracinghl.