Fasig-Tipton completed its inaugural Turf Showcase Sale of Selected Yearlings on Sunday night with disappointing figures, including a buyback rate close to 50 percent.
A total of 74 horses were sold, while 71 were not, making for an RNA rate of 48.9 percent. As of late Sunday, that figure included five horses sold privately after failing to meet their reserves in the ring.
Gross receipts totaled $5,035,000. The average price was $68,041 while the median was $52,500.
This is the first edition of the Turf Showcase, which kicked off the night before the start of Keeneland's September Yearling Sale. Although several lots were purchased by American racing and pinhooking outlets commonly seen at the top levels of other yearling auctions – Zayat Stables, De Meric Sales, SBS Sales, Fox Hill Farms, Donegal Racing, and West Point Thoroughbred all opened their wallets – participation from European interests appeared to be relatively scarce.
“I don't think there was a lot of participation from Europe, so that pushed the demand down and the Americans got to buy what they wanted,” said Duncan Taylor, president and CEO of Taylor Made Sales. “I think what you'll see is a lot of those horses probably would have been bought back spread out through the other sale, because if they're turf-bred and they're below average they're hard to sell in America.
“I think it just depends if they can be more select next time,” Taylor continued, when asked about prospects for next year's sale. “I think if it was the exact same kind of horses we sold this year, I don't think it would be sustainable.”
Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning said that although a number of European-based buyers were inspecting yearlings in the three days before the auction, he was disappointed more did not purchase.
“It certainly was an interesting evening,” said Browning. “We really didn't know what to expect coming into the night. I think we learned some things: some positive and some areas of improvement.”
Browning also speculated a few Ocala-based buyers were unable to attend the sale due to Hurricane Irma, which made landfall in Florida over the weekend.
Browning said he received considerable positive feedback leading up to the sale, but takes the results as an indication that selectivity still reigns supreme in the yearling market, niche or not.
“We didn't know going in if we were going to get 28 horses or 280 horses and it's hard, when you're out looking at horses on the farm to say, ‘Here's how we're going to dial this thing in.' We were probably a little too lenient on some physicals,” said Browning. “We may have had a little stallion overload in a few spots from North America-based stallions that we thought the world would accept and the world really didn't, despite some of the success those horses have had in the US. It didn't necessarily translate as we thought it might.”
Some consignors echoed those questions of whether the quality of turf yearling on offer had some impact on the results.
“It's a little unusual, because it's the first time. There's a lot of RNAs,” said Pat Costello, founding partner of Paramount Sales. “The good horses are probably selling all right. It's a different ballgame starting tomorrow and there's later book stuff here.”
The sale was a success for the legacy of Scat Daddy, who was the sire of both the co-toppers at $250,000. Hip 50, a colt out of the stakes-winning Rockport Harbor mare Harbingerofthings, was consigned by Vinery Sales on behalf of Spendthrift Farm. Lothenbach Stables was the purchaser. Hip 84, a Scat Daddy colt out of the Danehill Dancer mare Luvly Rita, was purchased by De Meric Sales. Taylor Made consigned the colt, who is from the family of G1 winners Yesterday and Quarter Moon.
To view the sale catalog, click here
To view the sale results, click here
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