Fasig-Tipton concluded its single-session November Sale of breeding stock Monday night with a flurry of seven-figure sales and record gross sales of $74,200,000 and the third most expensive horse of all time in champion Songbird, who brought $9.5 million. Another racing superstar, Tepin, sold for $8 million and was the fourth highest priced ever at the sale.
Gross sales were up 37 percent from 2016, while the average of $645,217 was improved 5 percent. The median of $250,000 was down 34 percent. The average was the third highest in the history of the sale, with the median tied for second. A total of 17 horses went through the ring for $1 million or more.
The buyback rate this year was 18 percent, compared with 28 percent last year.
Final figures included two private sales as of late Monday.
The most anticipated two hips in the sale, Songbird and Tepin, lit up the board to a packed pavilion, with fans crowded along the hallways and balconies to see their favorites one more time. Songbird, billed as the “most accomplished broodmare prospect ever to be offered at public auction in North America,” will remain in Kentucky after being purchased by Mandy Pope's Whisper Hill Farm. Taylor Made Sales offered the daughter of Medaglia d'Oro, who was conditioned by Jerry Hollendorfer for Rick Porter's Fox Hill Farm.
“I really didn't think I'd have to go that high,” Pope said, regarding price. “I had a budget and I really didn't keep to it.
“Havre de Grace wanted somebody who cost about what she did. She was getting a little lonely out there,” Pope joked.
Porter told the press his stable star had nearly doubled her reserve, which was below $5 million. That was the same figure Porter said he put on Havre de Grace, who sold for $10 million at the 2012 Fasig-Tipton November sale.
“You know, if you've got one bidder at $5 million, it's going to be pretty obvious if it's just the auctioneer and that one other person,” Porter said. “There's no sense making a fool of yourself and I didn't want to make a fool of myself. I just thought it'd be better if they knew real people were bidding. Nobody wants to get run up on that kind of horse and if that was all she was going to bring, I was going to have to live with it.”
Five years after Pope made a splash with her purchase of Havre de Grace and Plum Pretty (who cost Pope $4.2 million), she admitted her original plan of selling colts and keeping fillies out of her expensive mares hasn't quite come off yet.
“What I have learned, which I knew going in, is that plans seldom work in this business,” said Pope. “You end up, for whatever reason, keeping the colts too. Right now I haven't gotten anything sold out of Plum Pretty or Havre de Grace. You have to be prepared to hang onto them and race them. That's the bottom line, and that's what I want. I want to be the breeder of some great quality, classic horses. To me, the Breeders' Cup is more of a goal than the Triple Crown for the colts. I think that ends up taking more out of the colts. I haven't pushed any of my horses, and I won't push any of these. So often the 2-year-old colts don't go on, and i want someone who's going to be running at 3, 4, 5.”
Pope indicated Songbird's breeding plans are not yet determined.
Tepin drew $8 million from M.V. Magnier, bidding from the back ring at Fasig-Tipton. Elite Sales consigned the daughter of Bernstein, who is also a half-sister to Vyjack, for owner Robert “Bat” Masterson. Two-time Eclipse Award winner Tepin won over the turf in three countries and faced the males repeatedly under the guidance of trainer Mark Casse. Magnier indicated Tepin, who sold in foal to Curlin, would join Coolmore's broodmare band in Ireland and likely visit Galileo in 2018.
Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning, Jr., admitted the sale of Songbird was especially emotional, not only because of her value and accomplishments, but because of his close friendship with Fox Hill Farms' Porter, as well as the importance of Songbird to his late father. Browning was at his father's bedside when he got the call about Songbird's entry into the November Sale; on one hand, he said, it was a proud moment, but on the other, he realized his father would likely not live to see the mare's sale. Boyd Browning, Sr., died in September of this year after a long illness.
“Songbird was a tiny bit bittersweet,” said an emotional Browning. “One of my good friends gave us one of the most magnificent horses we've ever had the privilege of selling. It's a responsibility we take really seriously when somebody gives you a horse like Songbird or like Tepin. You just want to make sure you can look Rick Porter or Bat Masterson in the eye and say, 'We've done everything we possibly could to sell your horse as well as we can.'”
When asked what he was thinking in the moments Songbird stepped into the orange sand of the auction pavilion, with Tepin circling outside awaiting her sale, Browning admitted he was focused on keeping himself together.
“I was thinking, 'I hope I don't throw up. It would look really unprofessional,'” Browning joked.
- Quidura (GB) went to trainer Chad Brown and Peter Brant of White Burch for $3.6 million. The daughter of Dubawi started her career in Germany and has accumulated two graded wins in the U.S. and Canada. Brookdale consigned the former H. Graham Motion trainee, who formerly ran in the colors of breeder Gestuet Faehrhof.
- Gomo, G1-winning daughter of Uncle Mo, drew $1.5 million from Bridlewood Farm. The mare sold in foal to Medaglia d'Oro for Taylor Made. Doug O'Neill trained the mare for owner Reddam Racing.
- Crowley's Law, a group stakes-placed mare in both England and the States, brought $1.1 million from buyer Breeze Easy. Taylor Made consigned Crowley's Law, who most recently started for Rockingham Ranch and trainer Peter Miller. Breeze Easy spent $1.1 million on Yahilwa, a Medgalia d'Oro daughter who sold in foal to War Front from the Taylor Made consignment.
- Coasted, runner-up in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, sold for $1.3 million to Katsumi Yoshida. Bluewater consigned the daughter of Tizway, who is out of graded stakes winner Malibu Pier. Leah Gyarmati trained the filly for Treadway Racing Stable. Yoshida also got Finest City for $1.5 million. The daughter of City Zip, consigned by trainer Ian Kruljac for Seltzer Thoroughbreds was named Champion Female Sprinter in 2016 and won last year's Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.
- Catch A Glimpse, three time Sovereign Award winner and Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner, brought $3 million from K I Farm Corporation in Japan. Bluewater consigned the racing/broodmare prospect, who ran for the Mark Casse stable and Gary Barber, Michael James Ambler, and Windways Farm. Branch Equine bred the daughter of City Zip out of Irish River (FR) mare Halo River.
- American Story, dam of graded stakes winner American Gal, sold to Don Alberto Corporation for $2.2 million. The daughter of Ghostzapper out of Meadowlake mare Holiday Runner was consigned by Hill 'n' Dale Sales, agent. Don Alberto also picked up Dacita (CHI) for $1.85 million. Dacita is a daughter of Scat Daddy and a full sister to graded stakes winner Dosificado. she retired a graded stakes winner in both hemispheres, racing in the U.S. for trainer Chad Brown and owners Sheep Pond Partners and Bradley Thoroughbreds.
- Stays In Vegas, selling in foal to Curlin, hammered at $1.45 million to James Keogh, signing for Star Guitar Inc. The daughter of City Zip, offered by Hill 'n' Dale Sales, retired at the end of last year the winner of more than $400,000 and the Grade 3 Senorita Stakes. Jerry Hollendorfer conditioned the mare for Jungle Racing, KMN Racing, and LNJ Foxwoods.
- Nickname, a daughter of Scat Daddy who retires as a Grade 1 winner, brought $3 million from agent Kerri Radcliffe. Consigned by Claiborne Farm, agent, Nickname was trained by Richard Mandella for LNJ Foxwoods in her time on-track.
- Miss Temple City drew $2.5 million from agent Steve Young, who declined to identify the purchaser but noted the mare will stay in the United States. Select Sales, agent for The Club Racing LLC, consigned the daughter of Temple city who has earned more than $1.6 million in earnings. Miss Temple City wrapped her career last month with a sixth in the G1 Shadwell Turf Mile for trainer Graham Motion.”She was good her whole life and I hope she's good in her second career,” said Young. “We had to fight hard to get her but I'm glad we got her. She won against colts, she won against older horses, she was great over in Europe, she's a Dynaformer line horse who won going five and a half furlongs — she's a very rare horse.”
- Mesa Fresca, dam of Grade 1 winner Harmonize, brought $2 million midway through the night. Brookdale Sales, agent for Jack Swain, consigned the Sky Mesa daughter, who was presented in foal to commercially-popular stallion War Front. Cheveley Park Stud was the purchaser.
- Land Over Sea kicked off the broodmare portion of the session with a bang, dropping the hammer at $1.3 million to Shadai Farm.The half sister to War Story sold in foal to Nyquist, and boasts a runner-up effort in the 2016 Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, as well as a win in the G2 Fair Grounds Oaks from the Doug O'Neill barn. Consigned by Taylor Made Sales, the daughter of Bellamy Road raced under Reddam Racing's silks. Shadai later paid $1.1 million for Illuminant, a Quality Road daughter who retired a multiple graded stakes winner. Illuminant was trained by Michael McCarthy for Eclipse Thoroughbred, SF Racing, and Head of Plains Partners.
Two weanlings also topped seven figures within the first two hours of the auction.
- The first was Hip 21, a Street Sense filly who raised $1 million from Reynolds Bell, acting agent for Alpha Delta. The full sister to Grade 1 Las Virgenes winner Callback was consigned by Paramount Sales.
- Later in the sale, an American Pharoah weanling consigned as Hip 46 also brought $1 million for consignor Eaton Sales. Emmanuel de Seroux signed the ticket on behalf of Grand Farm of Japan. The filly is out of Untouched Talent, making her a half sister to graded stakes winner and sire Bodemeister.
To view the sale catalog, click here
To view the sale results, click here
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