'Solid Sale Getting Better Every Year:' Fasig-Tipton October Sale Concludes

Session-topping Hip 1575 | Fasig-Tipton

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LEXINGTON, KY – The Fasig-Tipton October Yearlings Sale concluded Thursday with a solid renewal which very nearly kept pace with its record-setting 2022 version even in the midst of a softening yearling market and a backdrop of uncertainty in the global economy and geo-political landscape.

“It was a very successful 2023 Fasig-Tipton October sale,” Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning, Jr. said after the last horse went through the ring Thursday evening. “The results were very similar to last year and very similar to the 2021 results, which is pretty remarkable when you consider everything that is happening in the world that we live in, from the economy to some of the challenges our industry has faced. To have 1,600 horses on offer the last four days and to be standing in the back walking ring with five horses to go and it is full of people and there is enthusiasm and activity, it shows the resiliency of our industry.”

Through four sessions, 1,064 yearlings grossed $51,120,000. The average of $48,045 dipped 4.6% from last year's record figure and the median of $24,000 was down 4.0% from another 2022 record.

The buy-back rate was 21.5%. It was 18.7% a year ago.

“The good news for all consignors is that, if you have a late-maturing horse, or a horse that has a little bit of an issue, you can bring that horse here. Can this sale support a very good horse? The answer is absolutely, positively, yes. I think this sale has established itself on the calendar as a very legit sale, one that you have to attend and participate in, whether you are a buyer or a seller. We look forward to continued growth and continued great graduates coming from this sale.”

Ocala horseman Karl Keegan made the highest bid of Thursday's final session of the auction, going to $330,000 to acquire a colt by Bolt d'Oro from the Knockgriffin Farm consignment.

Denali Stud consigned the second and third highest prices of the session, with Mike Ryan going to $310,000 for a son of Into Mischief and Jacob West going to $275,000 on behalf of Mike Repole for a daughter of Curlin.

Hip 1441, the Curlin filly bought for Mike Repole | Fasig-Tipton

The auction was a case of feast or famine, according to Denali's Conrad Bandoroff.

“When you lead a horse up here, you are in one of two positions,” Bandoroff said. “You are either coming up for a horse sale or you are coming up for a funeral. I think this market is highlighting the polarization. If you have one that is a quality individual who vets, there is a good market for it. If you have a horse that doesn't vet or doesn't have the commercial physical, it's going to be a difficult market and you've got to be realistic about it. But that could also be the definition of a fair market as well. We are having a good sale. We've been fortunate that we've had some good horses here and the good horses are selling well.”

Ryan, who purchased 10 yearlings for $2,195,000 during the auction, found plenty of competition for the yearlings he followed up to the ring.

“We were runner-up quite a bit, too,” Ryan said. “We were getting hammered. But we do feel like we got some quality at good value. It is the last stop and there are a lot of horses here. You have to look at a lot of horses to find the ones you want. But there are some nice pedigrees here. And obviously there is money here for the good ones. It's a solid sale and it's getting better every year.”

Keegan Stretches for Bolt d'Oro Colt

Looking to play at the upper echelon of the pinhooking game, Karl Keegan of Lucan Bloodstock stretched to $310,000 to acquire a colt by Bolt d'Oro (hip 1575) late in Thursday's final session of the Fasig-Tipton October sale.

Karl Keegan | Fasig-Tipton

“We are going to pinhook the horse,” Keegan said after signing the ticket on the bay colt. “It seems like all of these sales–especially the 2-year-old sales–are going to the upper end of the market, so we are trying to buy really, really good physicals by good stallions and hopefully it works out back in the springtime.”

The colt is out of Whirl (Curlin), a full-sister to graded winner Pacific Wind and a half to multiple graded winner Strike a Deal (Smart Strike). Consigned by Jim FitzGerald's Knockgriffin Farm, he was purchased for $145,000 at last year's Keeneland November sale and RNA'd for $240,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale in August.

“He was an outstanding physical,” Keegan said of the yearling. “He was at Saratoga and it looked like he went through a bad patch there. They took him back and gave him some time. And he really blossomed and showed himself well here. He's an exciting prospect for Lucan Bloodstock.”

Keegan admitted he had gone past his initial budget for the youngster.

“We were at $150,000 to $175,000, but my guy stretched,” Keegan said. “This was the only horse I wanted to walk away from the sale with. And my guy stood in and supported me.”

Lucan Bloodstock also purchased a colt by Tom's d'Etat (hip 1332) for $80,000 and a colt by Outwork (hip 1573) for $15,000.

Keegan said there was plenty of competition for the pinhooking prospects he was shopping for.

“It was very strong for the horses I was on,” Keegan said. “I came up here trying to buy these physicals to be in the upper echelon of the market at the 2-year-old sales. Those horses were really hard to buy.”

Ryan Strikes for Into Mischief Colt

Bloodstock agent Mike Ryan, busy all week at the Fasig-Tipton October sale, made his highest-priced purchase of the four-day auction Thursday, going to $320,000 to acquire a colt by Into Mischief (hip 1482).

Mike Ryan | Fasig-Tipton

“He's a beautifully bred horse,” Ryan said of the yearling. “He's going to be a two-turn horse. He has plenty of size and stretch and scope for an Into Mischief. He's got a serious pedigree. If he can perform on the racetrack, he's got a lot of appeal as a stallion.”

The bay colt, bred by My Meadowview and consigned by Denali Stud, is out of multiple graded stakes winner Tin Type Gal (Tapit), who is a daughter of Grade I winner Miss Shop (Deputy Minister).

“They are averaging $750,000 for the yearlings,” Ryan said of Into Mischief's knockout season at the sales this fall. “The median is $525,000. So this [final price of $320,000] is less than half the average. Of course it's the end of the year, but this horse has a lot of upside if he can perform.”

Curlin Filly to Repole

Mike Repole, who along with his partners will send champion Nest (Curlin) through the sales ring at Fasig-Tipton in a week and a half, restocked with another filly by Curlin Thursday at Newtown Paddocks when bloodstock agent Jacob West made a final bid of $275,000 to acquire hip 1441. The gray filly was consigned by Denali Stud on behalf of Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings.

Jacob West | Fasig-Tipton

“Mike has had a little bit of success with Curlin through the years,” West said after signing the ticket on the yearling. “It's the old saying, if it's not broke, don't fix it. She was just a beautiful filly and has the pedigree, through and through.”

The yearling is out of Tapping Pearl (Tapit), a daughter of Cat Dancer (Storm Cat) and a half-sister to Grade I winner Drill (Lawyer Ron).

West, on behalf of Repole, as well as other clients, has purchased six yearlings this week in Lexington.

“The market is incredibly harsh right now,” West said. “If you don't have the pedigree and the physical and the vetting, you get crucified. I feel bad for the breeders because I know how much work it takes to get them up to this ring. That's the unfortunate side of our business right now. It's incredibly polarizing. I don't see it changing for the foreseeable future.”

The polarized market has allowed him to find some bargains this week, West agreed.

“The first day of the sale, we bought a Quality Road filly for $3,000 and we bought a Gun Runner colt for $42,000,” he said. “They were just horses that the market didn't perceive to be what they wanted and they fell through the cracks. We had done our homework and due diligence and picked them up.

“The Quality Road filly had some significant vet issues, but $3,000 for a Quality Road filly, you're going to take a chance. The Gun Runner colt was just a backward horse. He didn't have the physical that everyone was looking for here. But for all of Mike's purposes, he will be patient on a horse like that, let him grow up and fill out. If he goes on and wins a big race, everybody will say, 'How the hell did they buy him for $42,000?' If you are willing to sacrifice on one of those things, you can find some bargains here.”

West concluded, “I'd say there are going to be some really good runners that come out of this sale. There are every year. It doesn't always have to be the sale topper that you land on.”

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