By Bill Oppenheim
Last weekend's Fasig-Tipton New York-bred sale rounded off the company's first three yearling sales of the season by setting new records for gross ($16.2 million), average ($89,088) and median ($69,500), and of course when we say 'set new records,' that actually does mean the metrics were actually higher, not just from 2016, but even from 2015, which we've been using as the benchmark year all through 2017. The gross was up by 18% and the average by 15% over 2016, but the numbers which really confirm the North American yearling market, anyway, is actually improving are the 9% increase in both gross and average over the 2015 New York-bred sale, when exactly the same (182) number of yearlings sold. As you can see in the Weekly Sales Ticker, this means the three-sale gross has improved by 5%, from $81.6 million to $85.3 million, while the average is up by 9%, from $153,458 with 532 sold over the three sales in 2015, to $167,286, with 510 sold (down 4%) this year. It augurs well for Keeneland September, which jumped from a gross of $219 million in 2012 to $281 million in 2013 (a 28% rise), but has since stalled at $279 million (2014), $280 million (2015), and $272 million (2016). At least we know the target for 2017: $280 million, plus of course this year we get the new Fasig Turf Sale on Sept. 10 thrown in.
With an average of $89,088, the New York-bred sale wasn't going to have any bigger impact on averages for the top sires than did the season-opening Fasig July Sale, which in fact had very similar figures to the New York-bred sale (number sold: 172 July, 182 NY-bred; gross–$16.1m July, $16.2m NY-bred; average–$93,645 July, $89,088 NY-bred–five years ago the July gross was almost double that of the NY-bred sale). The top three coming out of the Select Sale had none in the New York-bred sale, so Medaglia d'Oro (4/$756,250), War Front (2/$710,000), and Tapit (4/$600,000) remain unchanged (see table of North American top sires of 2017 yearlings). Pioneerof the Nile (3/$458,333) and Curlin (6/$437,500) swap places in fourth and fifth, and a total of 14 sires averaged $270,000 or more with two or more sold over the three-sale series.
Five first-crop sires have averaged over $100,000 (see table of North America top freshman sires of yearlings), headed by the Three Chimneys duo of Will Take Charge (11/$257,272–expected) and Strong Mandate (6/$222,833–not expected), followed by Cairo Prince ($177,647, with 17 sold from 18 through the ring), Verrazano (8/$143,625), and Fed Biz (12/$112,500). Five second-crop sires also averaged over $100,000, which is unusual, headed by Orb, who had 14 sell from 15 offered, for an average of $336,428 (click here–NA 2nd-crop sires), and also including: Animal Kingdom (6/$251,166), Declaration of War (7/ $173,571), Jimmy Creed (4/$130,500), and Violence (14/$114,571). Three top sires with their first 3-year-olds sport healthy six-figure averages heading into September: Union Rags (10/$237,500) and the Classic-winning sires Bodemeister (6/$192,500) and Maclean's Music (9/$185,000–not a bad return on a $6,500 stud fee) (click here–NA 3rd-crop sires).