The real fireworks were saved to the end of Monday's Fasig-Tipton Florida Sale of 2-year-olds in training when two of the final seven horses through the ring brought prices in excess of $1 million. Those two – a $1.1-mllion filly from the final crop of 1992 Horse of the Year A.P. Indy and a $1.6-million colt by the A.P. Indy stallion Bernardini – topped a spotty sale that registered a decrease in the number sold and gross revenues but increases in average price and median in comparison to the 2012 auction.
The sale, conducted at the Palm Meadows training center in Boynton Beach, Fla., saw 46 of 78 juveniles through the ring bring $17,725,000, an average price of $385,326 and middle market median number of $300,000. That's down 7.7% in gross but up 20.6% in average and 31.8% in median from 2012, when 60 head sold for $19,215,000, an average of $320,250 and median of $227,500.
This year's RNA rate was 41.0% (32 of 78 through the ring), compared unfavorably to a much more acceptable percentage in 2012, when 24 of 84 failed to find new buyers, or 28.5%. Even more troubling is the percentage sold from catalogued: just 34% of the 136 originally catalogued were sold, as consignors withdrew lots that weren't getting serious looks or veterinary examinations at the sale barns as the auction approached.
Steve Young, acting as agent for Robert LaPenta, bought the sale-topping colt, the first foal produced from the Forestry mare Hishi Aspen, who raced in Japan, winning three races there without earning black type. Hartley/DeRenzo Thoroughbreds, agent, sold the colt after buying buying him for $250,000 as a yearling at the 2012 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale.
Underbidder on the Bernardini colt was Nick Zito, who has trained some of LaPenta's best horses over the years and was seated near LaPenta and Young. Horse sales can make for some interesting bidding wars, and in this case Zito said he was acting on behalf of a new client, Joseph Moss, of Austin, Texas. LaPenta has expanded his East Coast racing stable in recent years to California, where he's had horses with Bob Baffert.
“This was the best horse in the sale and one of the fastest Bernardinis I've seen,” said Young, who was the sale's leading buyer with four purchases totaling $2,480,000. “It's from the same cross as (stakes winner) Turbulent Descent and Applauding.”
A.P. Indy, who was a sale-topping yearling in 1990, champion 3-year-old and Horse of the Year in 1992, and a leading sire throughout his long career at Lane's End Farm in Versailles, Ky., had just one offspring in the sale from his final crop of foals. The filly, who was the first foal out of stakes winner Foxy Danseur, a daughter of Mr. Greeley, was consigned by Stephens Thoroughbreds. She was a $300,000 Mayberry Farm purchase at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale and was bought for $1.1 million by Dimitrios Katsaros' Green Hills Farm, which bred 2012 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint winner Hightail.
Hartley/DeRenzo, consignor of the sale topper, also sold a high-priced Smart Strike filly out of unraced Music Room, by Unbridled's Song. Regis Farm paid $700,000 to acquire the filly, who was purchased by Hartley/DeRenzo for $250,000 at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale.
Those two successful sales are a far cry from their world record pinhook home run in 2006, when The Green Monkey sold at the Fasig-Tipton Florida sale for $16 million after Hartley/DeRenzo bought the colt for $425,000 as a yearling. The Bernardini colt and Smart Strike filly represented half of their four-horse consignment to the Florida sale, and the other two horses failed to surpass their reserve price. And that's the trend that's becoming a tradition at many select sales of 2-year-olds in training.
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