Fasig-Tipton yearling sale concludes with gross, average gains
by Frank Vespe
Sometimes, it’s the advice you don’t take that turns out to matter most.
So it was with Dr. Stephen Sinatra when he and Corby Caiazzo, his equine advisor and trainer, went to the 2013 Fasig-Tipton mixed sale at Saratoga.
“We were at Saratoga October selling a horse,” Caiazzo recalled. “I had left and I said, ‘Don’t buy any horses; we have enough.’ When I came back, he said, ‘I bought a mare.'”
That mare, a winless daughter of Curlin named Current Event, cost Sinatra just $10,000. Safe to say she’s now proven her worth, to Caiazzo, and everyone else.
Tuesday at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Fall Yearling Sale, Current Event’s son World Affairs, by Cairo Prince, brought a winning bid of $300,000 that proved to be the sale topper.
“I thought he was really nice,” Caiazzo said of the colt, who was consigned by Becky Davis.
“I can’t take any credit for the horse. I actually first saw him, other than in pictures, at the sale,” Davis said. “They (Caiazzo and Sinatra) got him all ready and did a fantastic job obviously. As soon as I saw him, I thought we had a chance at a pretty good sale, and all the right people were looking at him. The catalog brought a lot of good buyers and they were all on this horse.”
Current Event is a daughter of the stakes winner Grand Merger, who herself is a full sister to Grade 1 winner Stephen Got Even. Current Event’s first runner, Untaken has won twice.
World Affairs’ sire, Cairo Prince, is a multiple graded stakes-winning son of Pioneerof the Nile. His first foals are yearlings, and the market has stood up and cheered for them; they’ve averaged just shy of $150,000 at the sales on a stud fee of just $15,000.
“He’s on fire; you can’t have a more popular sire at the sales right now,” Davis said. “He’s got good physical specimens out there.”
Added Caiazzo, “He’s the flavor of the month.
Davis had expected World Affairs to bring a top bid between $150,000 and $200,000 but “he flew right past that,” she said. “He had good x-rays, a really good scope, a good walk.”
Overall, World Affairs was the highlight of a day on which 10 horses brought winning bids of $100,000 or more. That roster included six horses bred in the mid-Atlantic:
- Hip 230, a Maryland-bred Flatter filly consigned by Northview Stallion Station who brought a top bid of $170,000 from John Hall as agent for Alan Burkhard;
- Hip 462, a Virginia-bred Tale of the Cat filly consigned by Audley Farm Equine who sold for $150,000 to Eisaman Equine;
- Hip 427, a Maryland-bred Shanghai Bobby colt consigned by Marshall Silverman. He sold to Charles Zacney for $135,000.
- Hip 246, a Maryland-bred, Delaware-certified Malibu Moon colt consigned by Candyland Farm as agent. Frank DeMarco bought him for $125,000.
- Hip 482, a Pennsylvania-bred Shackleford colt consigned by Darby Dan Farm that brought a winning bid of $100,000 from Pick View LLC.
- Hip 475, a Maryland-bred daughter of Quality Road consigned by Chanceland Farm. Eisaman Equine paid $100,000 for her.
Those sellers helped to bolster day two of the expanded sale, which added a half-day’s worth of horses versus 2016. Last year 323 horses through the ring fetched a grand total of over $6.4 million, with 268 actually finding a new home for an average purchase price of $24.017.
This year, 440 horses entered the ring and 312 left with new owners. The gross was more than $7.8 million, up 22 percent versus last year; the average, of $25,177, was also up, by 4.8 percent from 2016.
“We had a good audience and people found horses they wanted and stayed, and the good ones they battled on,” said Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sales Director Paget Bennett. “We’ve been trying to get to two days, trying to get our numbers up. We didn’t quite get to two days, but hopefully we can grow on this.”
The buyback rate increased form last year’s unusually low mark of 17 percent to 29.1 percent; 128 horses did not find a buyer.
“It’s been no different than what we’ve seen all year,” Bennett said of the buyback rate. “It’s just a selective market. We see it at all the sales.”
The overall picture, market participants said, was similar in many ways to that seen here and elsewhere in recent years: plenty of buyers, and money, for a horse that “checks all the boxes,” not so much for horses by regional sires, with less flashy pedigrees, or possessed of physical flaws.
While there was no horses that sold as well as last year’s top seller, a Curlin colt that went for $450,000, the number of six-figure horses grew from 11 to 16.
“It’s still very much a pinhooker’s game right now,” Davis said. “They can’t handle taking anything that’s got blemishes. You don’t have a lot of the racing guys putting up a lot of money.”
“From our end of the sale, we had more than enough activity,” agreed David Hayden, whose seven-horse Dark Hollow Farm consignment included three that brought $60,000 or more, including a $125,000 Bodemeister colt. “Saturday and Sunday we had probably about 120 show cards for seven horses.”
On the other side of the scale, 197 horses — 63 percent of those to sell — brought a top bid of under $10,000. That can leave regional breeders in a tough spot.
One of their challenges is finding commercial sires in the region. While sires with national profiles, like Cairo Prince, Maclean’s Music, and Bodemeister, all generated plenty of action, two of top three states represented in the sale were Maryland and Pennsylvania. The mid-Atlantic region’s sire population currently is a mix of established studs who can get a runner — but don’t necessarily thrill the marketplace — and young sires still seeking to make a name for themselves.
A regional sire making it big, Bennett said, would be a huge boost.
“It’d be awesome. I mean, because back in the day when you had the Allen’s Prospects and the Two Punches and the Not for Loves, that’s what we’re hoping we see something come back around,” she said, ticking off the names of some Maryland sires of years past who cut a genuine national profile.
Bennett pointed to El Padrino and Super Ninety Nine — two of the top 10 stallions here in terms of hips offered — as among those having potential.
“Hopefully (their offspring who sold here will) come back and perform at the track here next May, and we’ll be on to something,” she said. “It’s kind of exciting. Hopefully, we can get some new stuff that keeps people breeding their mares here in Maryland, rather than feeling they have to go to Kentucky.”