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Mine That Bird - Kentucky Derby

A colt by Birdstone, the sire of Mine That Bird (above) proved the star turn during the opening session of the Fasig-Tipton July Sale when selling to John Ferguson for $400,000.  PICTURE: Getty Images


Fasig-Tipton opens
with expected declines

Fasig-Tipton July comparative results day one ($)

 Year  Cat  Off  Sold  % sold  Aggregate  Average  Median
 2009  247  217  125  58  8,933,500  71,468  50,000
 2008  284  254  142  54  13,311,000  93,739  75,000

THE hot debate on the grounds at Fasig-Tipton leading up to its two-day selected yearling sale in Lexington, Kentucky, was by how much the market would be down. When the answer came on Monday, most felt that it was as well as could be realistically expected.

The average of $71,468 was down 24 per cent from 2008, with the median taking a sharp 33 per cent hit - from $75,000 to $50,000 this year. However, the clearance rate of 58 per cent showed a minimal improvement, a reflection of Fasig-Tipton's new policy of reporting private sales on its summaries.

A son of leading second crop sire Birdstone, who was the sole offering by his sire, proved to be the star turn when selling to John Ferguson for $400,000. The hammer price represented a huge return on investment for Dapple Bloodstock, who had acquired the colt for just $37,000 at the Keeneland January Sale earlier this year. He is out of the unraced Seattle Slew mare Slew Smarts and a half-brother to the stakes-placed Por Que. 


Ferguson said: "He was a very athletic, balanced colt by a sire that's had two Classic winners this year, and I felt he was a horse that we should follow through, and we did. I'm delighted."

Ferguson also bought a $350,000 Bernardini colt consigned by Lane's End. The colt out of Grade 2 winner Lyphard's Delta is a brother to two Pattern winners by Bernardini's sire A.P. Indy.

Ferguson described him as "typical of many of the Bernardinis" he has seen.

"We're very excited about Bernardini and we feel he's got a great future," he said.

"I would think that probably we will try one or two Bernardinis in Europe so this colt might be one of them. Sheikh Mohammed will come over to Kentucky in September, and we'll go through the stock and decide then."

He added: "I'm very happy with the sale as a whole. I think the general feeling around the place is that the standard of quality of horseflesh is high, and for some people it's a tough market but I'm afraid that's beyond horsemen's control so they'll just have to be patient."

The top filly was a daughter of Long Lashes' sire Rock Hard Ten who sold for $350,000 from the draft of Bluewater Sales. Her new owner, Mercedes Stable, raced her sire in partnership and retains a portion of him at stud.

Mercedes' racing manager Dennis Yokum, who bought last month's Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Handicap winner Seattle Smooth out of this sale in 2006, said: "We weren't trying to buy a Rock Hard Ten because we breed so many of our mares to him, but we're trying to buy the best individuals and it just so happened that she was a Rock Hard Ten. It's a strong price, but I don't think it's as strong as it would have been a couple years ago."

Rock Hard Ten's only other yearling catalogued attracted a final bid of $200,000 from Jack Wolf's Starlight Partners, who were also responsible for a $310,000 Medaglia d'Oro colt.

Thirty-one individuals were reported sold for six figures. Among new stallions with two or more at that level were Rockport Harbor, who had five yearlings in the $100,000-to-$210,000 range; Silver Train, with three over the $100,000 mark; and five each with a pair of high-dollar yearlings: Bellamy Road, Bernardini, Congrats, Flower Alley and Henny Hughes.

Several European buyers were in attendance, notably Stephen Hillen who paid $100,000 for a Roman Ruler filly and Blandford Bloodstock, who signed for two lots.

However, Fasig-Tipton were disappointed by the level of European participation as well as trainer activity after having aggressively recruited potential purchasers and even chartering a plane from California.

Bayne Welker, an account executive with the sales company, said: "We've made a valiant effort to get these guys here, and it won't be a one-time deal. We think we can make it a little easier for the trainers because we've done some of the culling by going through the nominations process and taking out what we thought were the lesser physicals. I think that sellers realise that we made every effort that we possibly could to get everybody here. The market is what it is."

Even with so many horses going unsold, there are still plenty of satisfied people around the sale, and indications are that trade on the second day promises to be stronger.

What they're saying at Fasig-Tipton:

Dan Hall, agent : "The good ones have sold fair, but the drop-off is quicker and more steep. It's more of the same that we've been seeing but I think it's a little more exaggerated this year than in the past."

Mike Levy, Bluewater Sales, consignor: "There will always be a home for quality, in any market, good or bad. What are left are professionals, and professionals are very picky, they know what they want, andthat is what will continue to sell well."





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