By Jessica Martini
LEXINGTON, Ky – The action picked up noticeably during Tuesday's second session of the Fasig-Tipton October Fall Yearlings Sale, with a colt by Violence bringing the auction's highest price since 2013 when selling for $500,000 to trainer Mark Casse on behalf of John Oxley.
“It was a good day today,” confirmed Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning, Jr. “We saw lively bidding from the beginning to the end, with the third to last horse bringing six figures. It seemed to have a little more energy throughout the session today, probably due to having better horses. That's just the way the horses fell in the catalogue.”
For the session, 237 horses sold for $8,415,000. The average was $35,506 and the median was $12,000. Through two sessions of the four-day sale, 467 yearlings have grossed $14,894,500 for an average of $31,894 and a median of $11,000. The cumulative buy-back rate is 26.6%.
Last year's three-day sale produced an average of $33,065 and a median of $14,500.
“I don't think there are any real surprises in the marketplace,” Browning said. “If a really nice horse walks through there, every bid spotter is bidding because there are people who are really desirous of the horse. That's what we have seen this year and the same trends that we saw at the first yearling sale of the year are continuing at the last yearling sale of the year. It was a pretty solid marketplace, pretty stable. It's still not easy to sell a horse with flaws in pedigree, conformation or vetting, but when you line them up and you meet all the requirements, they are going to exceed your expectations.”
The session topper (hip 542), third-highest priced colt in the October sale's history, was a yearling by Violence. The chestnut was sold by Taylor Made Sales Agency on behalf of a pinhooking partnership and the result highlighted the unique nature of the October sale for Mark Taylor.
“It's a weird sale,” Taylor said. “This is one of the only places where we sell that you have $500,000 horses and $5,000 horses selling back to back. It's like this crazy, schizophrenic ride through the day where people are high-fiving and people are handing out handkerchiefs and crying all right here together. That's the reality of the market. It's expensive to train horses, it's expensive to maintain horses and some of them at the lower levels are just hard to get sold.”
Still, Taylor saw an improved market during Tuesday's second session.
“I think it's better today,” he said. “Monday I think was particularly difficult because there were a lot of horses and people were running around trying to get caught up and then it rained all day, so people couldn't get their second looks, so they really weren't confident. If they kind of liked a horse, they didn't get a good look because of the rain, they just kind of passed. Today feels better to me.”
The October sale continues through Thursday with sessions beginning daily at 10 a.m.
More Violence for Oxley and Casse
Two weeks ago, Mark Casse purchased a yearling colt by Violence on behalf of John Oxley for $275,000 to top the OBS October Yearling Sale. The trainer was back in action Tuesday, purchasing another son of the young Hill 'n' Dale stallion for a session-topping $500,000 during day two of the Fasig-Tipton October sale.
“He is beautiful. He's a picture to look at,” Casse said after signing the ticket on hip 542. “That was a lot of money for him–I didn't think he'd bring quite that much. But he did and luckily Mr. Oxley was game.”
The chestnut colt is out of graded stakes placed Witch's Coven (Cuvee).
“He is just a big, powerful colt with a great neck and shoulder, good walk. He's kind of everything you look for. Now he just has to run very fast,” Casse concluded.
With his first foals to race, Violence is already the sire of stakes winner and graded-stakes placed 'TDN Rising Star' Barry Lee and stakes winners Encumbered and Buy Sell Hold.
“I have bought three or four yearlings by Violence,” Casse, who has trained 2017 Grade I winners Classic Empire (Pioneerof the Nile), La Coronel (Colonel John) and Dream Dancing (Tapit) for Oxley, said. “So I hope he keeps doing well.”
Hip 542 was consigned to the October sale by Taylor Made Sales Agency on behalf of a pinhooking partnership which purchased him for $180,000 at last year's Keeneland November sale.
“The partnership is a big group of our customers that all like to play the weanling-to-yearling game,” said Mark Taylor. “So we bought him and six or seven other ones last year. He was the last to go through and they had a nice year. So hopefully they might do it again next year.”
Of the colt's appeal as a weanling, Taylor said, “I have to give credit to my niece, Katie Taylor, and John Hall and to my brother Frank. They picked him out. He was just gorgeous. He was a really, really good-looking horse. I heard some people ask, 'Is he too good-looking?' It was almost like, 'Can he run? Because he's so good looking.' But he was perfect, beautiful, correct with just an awesome top line.”
The original plan was to sell the yearling at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale, but the youngster failed to sell at $270,000.
“We took him up there and it didn't work out,” Taylor said. “The colt had been awesome, but he didn't take the ship well up there and kind of fell apart a little bit. So we decided to take him home and just give him time and he really came around and showed well here. And of course Violence has done nothing but improve his reputation since August anyway. It was really fortuitous that we didn't get him sold–he almost got there at Saratoga and we were lucky he didn't.”
Frommer Gets Into Mischief
Pinhooker Cary Frommer got into the action at Fasig-Tipton Tuesday, going to $270,000 to secure a colt by Into Mischief. Out of Well (Well Decorated), the gray yearling (hip 506) is a half-brother to multiple graded stakes winner Kobe's Back (Flatter) and graded stakes winner Well Spelled (Spellbinder).
“Obviously, he's an Into Mischief with a stallion's pedigree,” Frommer said of the youngster's appeal. “He's young and immature, but we feel like he's going to come around the right way. And there is nothing wrong with an Into Mischief.”
Frommer, who sold two seven-figure juveniles at this year's Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream sale, agreed the market was competitive for the top offerings.
“The ones you want, you have to pay for. There's no doubt about it,” she said. “A lot of them, nobody wants, you can't get them sold. The middle market is doing the same thing it's been doing for a couple of years now. Our success at the 2-year-old sales has been with expensive, really right, yearlings. You have to be willing to pay more than you thought you'd have to for a horse and then hope you get more than you thought you could get for one.”
Bred by Joanne Mummert and John Barrett, Jr., hip 506 was consigned to the October sale by Brookdale Sales. The colt was making his second trip through a sales ring Tuesday, having RNA'd for $190,000 at last month's Keeneland September sale.
“I don't know if there was a difference,” Joe Seitz of Brookdale, which also consigned the yearling to the September sale, said. “I thought he looked good both times, but it just seemed the stars aligned today. He got quite a bit of exposure and he showed really well. He got quite a bit more attention out here and quite a bit more vettings. He showed really well and he stuck out. He was just a high-energy, feel-good horse and he carried that the whole time he was here and I think that attracted attention to him. I would actually see people notice him in the courtyard.”
Medaglia d'Oro Colt to Wilsons
A colt by Medaglia d'Oro will be joining the West Coast stable of Holly and David Wilson after bloodstock agent Mike Lightner signed the ticket at $250,000 to secure the half-brother to multiple graded stakes winner Miss Ella (Exchange Rate).
“We'll take him to Oak Ridge and break him and train him,” Lightner said. “My daughter Mary will train him on the East Coast and get a race in him and then he'll go to Vladimir Cerin in California.”
“I thought he was a pretty colt and his pedigree is so good,” Lightner, who saw off trainer Mark Casse to secure the yearling, said. “I was going to buy 10 for Dave and we needed one more really well-bred colt and he kind of fit the bill for us.”
Lightner added he wasn't done shopping for the Wilsons.
“We might need a few fillies,” he said. He added with a smile, as the trainer walked by, “If Mark Casse will let me have any.” Casse, laughing in return, added, “He learned everything he learned from me…well maybe that's backwards.”
Hip 383 was consigned by Brookdale Sales as agent for his breeder Jack Swain, who campaigned Miss Ella.
“He was a really nice horse and I was really pleased to see Mike Lightner got him, so he is going to go to a good home,” said Brookdale's Joe Seitz. “I liked the way the horse has progressed and the family, in addition to Miss Ella, continues to improve with Lasting Legacy being a 'TDN Rising Star.' It was a perfect storm. He's a nice horse, blossomed well for this time of year and he showed really well out here. And with the family's update, everything came together at the right time.”
Cairo Prince Colt Heads West
A colt by Cairo Prince will head west to join the barn of trainer Brad Cox after bloodstock agent Clay Scherer signed the ticket at $215,000 on behalf of an undisclosed client.
“He was a nice athletic, well-balanced colt,” Scherer said. “He looks like everything you'd want to go to the races and do well with. And you couldn't ask for a hotter sire than Cairo Prince right now.”
As he spoke to reporters, Scherer got an endorsement from his former boss, Hill 'n' Dale Farm owner John Sikura, who slapped the owner on the back and said, “Another protege making good. I knew the business was his passion and he's been very successful.”
Hip 456 is out of multiple stakes placed Try to Remember (Include) and is a half-brother to Grade I placed Holiday Soiree (Harlan's Holiday). The yearling was consigned and bred by Brereton Jones's Airdrie Stud.
The result was another highlight for hot first-crop sire Cairo Prince.
“They look like they are going to be early and carry their speed going two turns,” Scherer said of the yearlings by the Airdrie stallion he has seen.
A Lucky Score
Last fall, a group of pinhookers, which included Archie St. George, was able to acquire a colt by Lookin at Lucky for $42,000 at the Keeneland November sale. Sent through the sales ring again Tuesday with the St George Sales consignment, the yearling rewarded the partnership when selling for $170,000 to Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey.
“He was always a very nice horse,” St. George said. “He had a lot of quality and presence to him. I had seen him a lot from an early age and he improved all through his yearling year. He was always a nice horse and the mare throws very nice foals.”
St. George had plenty of experience with the family of the yearling (hip 536) having handled the dispersal of breeder Marc Ferrell's VinMar Farm last November that included the colt and his multiple stakes placed dam Wind Caper (Touch Gold).
Of the colt's final price tag Tuesday, St. George said, “I was hopeful that he could bring $100,000-150,000. He had a lot of interest and he'd done very well. Two of the guys from the farm–Richard and Cesar–were involved in him and it was their first pinhook. They owned a small piece of him, so it's exciting for them. We'd like to thank Ramsey Farm and the underbidder and everyone who was interested in him.”