Fasig-Tipton mixed sale dips; Ghostzapper colt is topper

A smaller book and less glitz in its racing age portion led to declines in the December 5 Fasig-Tipton December mixed sale in Timonium.

In all 148 horses sold at the one-day event fetching a total of more than $1.5 million. The average was $10,257, and the median was $5,000. Those numbers compared unfavorably with last year’s total of more than $3.2 million sold at an average of $18,800.

On the good news front, the buyback rate declined this year. Thirty-nine of the 187 horses through the ring did not find a new home, a buyback rate of 20.9%. That was down from last year’s 24.6% figure.

“There’s horses that people want and there was good competition for them,” said Paget Bennett, Fasig-Tipton Midlantic’s sales director. “And then the others, the market just tells you.”

The sale topper was a weanling Ghostzapper colt who brought a winning bid of $82,000. The colt, out of the unraced Exaggerator mare Dance All Day, is a Maryland-bred with an inkwell’s worth of black type on his page. He was consigned by Northview Stallion Station (David Wade) as agent, and Machmer Hall signed the ticket.

But one critical difference in this year’s event versus last year’s was evident in the makeup of the top end of the sale. The next three top sellers in this year’s event were a broodmare prospect, a broodmare, and a weanling. The top horse of racing age to sell, Paynter’s Prodigy (hip 200), brought a winning bid of $40,000.

By contrast, the top six sellers last year all were horses of racing age, and all brought top bids of at least $80,000. Four of those brought winning bids of $100,000 or more, with the First Samurai gelding Radical Right enticing a top bid of $260,000.

Paynter’s Prodigy, the top horse of racing age at this event, is a two-year-old gelding by Paynter out of the unraced Midnight Lute mare English Chocolate. He had made one prior start; racing for owner Rose Petal Stable LLC and trainer Gary Capuano, he won a two-turn, $12,500 maiden claimer Nov. 11 at Laurel Park. Today he was consigned by Marshall Silverman as agent and purchased by Flatbird Stable.

Flatbird made three purchases at the sale for a total value of $100,000. Machmer Hall made two for a total of $120,000; those two were the only buyers to reach six figures in purchases.

Bennett attributed the sale’s declines to fewer horses in the book, overall softness in the marketplace, and the uncertainty in Maryland. The company’s other two major Timonium sales – the May two-year-old sale and fall yearling sale – also were down this year versus last, though both were down from particularly robust 2022 sessions.

“I think it’s just overall what we’re seeing,” she said of the declines, adding that Maryland’s problems – the Racetrack Operating Authority tasked with envisioning the future here delayed its anticipated report from December to January 5 – are “playing a part, too. People are like, ‘Why am I going to buy a horse if I don’t know’” what the future will hold.

Bill Reightler was the sale’s leading consignor by both volume and dollar amount. Reightler sold 49 horses for a total of $480,200, edging Northview, whose 34 sold brought $471,400. While Northview sold the sale topper, Reightler, as agent, sold the second-most expensive horse. That was the four-year-old broodmare prospect Truancy, who sold as hip 127. Country Life Farm as agent signed the ticket on the $55,000 purchase.

Maryland-breds led the sale, with 70 selling – nearly half the total – for a grand total of $579,400. That included the sale topper.