Both Pa-breds and the get of Union Rags sold extremely well at the hugely successful Fasig-Tipton Selected Yearlings Sale in Saratoga on Aug. 7-8 that saw big increases in total sales, in average price and in median price as well as a big drop in yearlings not sold.
The top Pa-bred sold was hip number 163, a bay colt by Malibu Moon out of Cloud Jumper, by Street Cry (Ire) that sold for $700,000 to Spendthrift Farm LLC, and a bay colt by Union Rags out of Passion Du Coeur, by Distorted Humor, hip number 26, was bought by Robert Baker and William Mack for $650,000.
"There were eight of Union Rags' get in the Selected Sale, and seven of them found new homes," said Russell Jones, a highly respected bloodstock agent who sold his agency, Walnut Green, to Mark Reid and later retired, but now he helps his wife Donnan's cousin, Phyllis Wyeth, who bred and raced Union Rags, winner of the Belmont Stakes, and later retired him to stud.
"All of them brought fair prices and in some cases exceptional prices," said Jones. "Two were bought by Hartley/De Renzo thoroughbreds. Hartley and De Renzo are two very, very good pin hookers from Ocala, so that's a real endorsement."
The two bought by Hartley/De Renzo were hip number 4, a bay colt out of Majestic Jewel, by Cindago, who brought $370,000, and hip number 203, a bay colt out of Heavenly Pride, by Sky Mesa, who sold for $200,000.
"I thought the best colt was hip number 26, who was bought by Wayne Lucas for $650,000 for Robert Baker," said Jones. "It's a breakthrough when Wayne Lucas starts buying your yearlings."
"Steve Young bought hip number 58 for $285,000," said Jones. "The rest of the Union Rags' get were about average, but not stars, I think there are better ones to come in the fall sales. The one that sold for $650,000 is a very nice horse."
"Overall, it was a very good sale," said Jones of the Selected Yearlings Sale. "You had to be a bad horse not to sell well. But boutique sales like Saratoga are not prime indicators of the market. We'll get a better feeling for the market after the fall sales."
The Selected Sale was followed the next week by a New York-bred sale, and Jones said that was a strong sale, too.
"ONE OF Union Rags' fillies went for $270,000, and Karen Dunne, who's a pretty shrewd pin hooker, bought one for $90,000," said Jones. "Those are good prices for New York-breds."
Of the other three by Union Rags, hip number 22, a gray or roan filly out of Newstouse, by Unbridled's Song, who is also a Pa-bred, was bought by Kenneth Hackel for $125,000, hip number 59, a chestnut colt out of Skyscape, by Marquetry, was bought by Woodford Racing for $200,000 and hip number 69, a bay colt out of Suave Voir Fair, by Suave, was bought by Robert E & Lawana Low for $170,000.
Hip number 126, a bay colt out of Apt to Star, by Aptitude, didn't meet his reserve of $195,000 and was not sold.
The average price for a Union Rags' was $286,000.
Union Rags stands for $50,000 at Lane's End Farm in Versailles, Ky.
FIVE PA-BREDS were sold for an average of $304,000, and two were not sold.
The highest price was for the Malibu Moon colt, hip number 163, who was bred by Brushwood Stable.
Hip number 12, a dark bay or brown colt by Orb out of Midnight Bliss, by Midnight Lute. bred by Blackstone Farm LLP, was bought by Juddmonte Farms for $375,000.
Hip number 168, a dark bay or brown filly by Ghostzapper out of Coppermine, by Unbridled's Song, also bred by Blackstone Farm LLC, was bought by Donegal Racing for $200,000.
Hip number 60, a dark bay or brown filly by Tiznow out of Slews Golden Ru.e, by Langfuhr , yet another bred by Blackstone, was bought by Slit/Litt for $120,000. and the fifth Pa-bred sold was the Union Rags filly, hip number 22, that sold for $125,000.
Two Pa-breds didn't reach their reserves, hip number 41, a filly by Curlin out of Redaspen, by Bianconi, didn't sell. Her reserve was $140,000, and hip number 146, a filly by Tiznow out of Brilliiancy. by Exchange Rate, didn't reach her reserve of $190,000.
Eight Virginia-breds went through the ring, with five sold for an average of $288,000, with a bay filly by Scat Daddy out of Bilboquet, by Smart Strike being bought by White Birch Farm for $600,00, making her the highest price Va-bred.
Two Maryland-breds went through the ring, with one selling, a filly by Scat Daddy out of Winning Season, by Lemon Drop Kid, for $155,000.
TWO YEARLINGS were bought by Delaware Valley residents.
Mr. and Mrs. Roy Jackson of Unionville, Pa., bought a bay colt by Into Mischief out of Victorious Ami, by Victory Gallop, for $850,000, and Isabelle de Tomaso of Colts Neck, N.J., bought a chestnut filly by More Than Ready out of Joffe's Run, by Giant's Causeway for $300,000.
Sales amount was $52,995,000 for 156 sold, as compared to the 2016 sales total of $45,570,000 for the same number of yearlings.
This year's average price was $339,712 as compared to 2016's average of $292,115,a rise of 16.3 percent, and the 2017 median was $300,00 while 2016's was $237,500, which was up 26.3 percent.
Yearlings not sold dropped from 47 last year to only 38 this year.
This was a record median, the second highest for gross sales, the second best average price and a remarkably low buy-back rate.
While in past years, a few very high priced yearlings brought the average up, this year only two sold for $1 million, while many brought very good prices, including 30 that sold for $500,000 or more.
A colt by Curlin out of River's Prayer, by Devon Lane was bought by Eric Fein for $1 million Monday evening, and a colt by Orb out of Flashy American, by Flashy Bull was bought by Kerri Radcliffe Bloodstock Tuesday evening for $1 million.
"There was remarkable depth in the buying pool between $200,000 and $750,00," said Fasig-Tipton President and CEO Boyd Browning. "Just enormous competition. Horses were exceeding their reserves by two, three and four times in many, many instances, and you'd see it consecutively."
"That demonstrates a really healthy marketplace and It also demonstrates the consignors generally speaking are very realistic in setting their reserves." said Browning. "The buyers are competitive and have a real appetite for quality horses.”
"I saw the correlation and the closeness between the average and the median of a sale, and it just shocked me," said Browning. "It shocked me that the two were so close. I've been doing this a long time, and I honestly can't recall ever seeing as close a relationship at an upper level sale of the average and median that we've seen over the last two nights."
"One of the strengths of this sale is the quality of the horses that were on display," said Browning. "It's not just our inspections team, which I think does a hell of a job and has done for many, many years. It's the integrity of our team. We have a committed team that cares about the industry."