Pat Costello expected good things when he showed up at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Paddocks Tuesday night.
He knew Hip 168, a colt by Street Cry from a repeatedly proven graded stakes producing family, was on the short lists of most of the major players in town for the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale of selected yearlings. He'd seen them look at the colt, come back for a second look, sometimes a third, and he'd seen the veterinarians come do their job to either give the thumbs up or thumbs down to their clients.
What he didn't expect is what happened, the colt selling for $1.4 million to highlight an extremely strong final session of the 97th edition of the Saratoga sale that posted significant increases in total sales, average price and median Tuesday night.
"No way, nowhere near that," Costello said after John Ferguson, primary agent for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, signed the ticket for the Kentucky-bred colt. "He was awful popular back at the barn and he had 10 scopes or so. The thing that impressed me was he got better every day he was at the sale. Nice horse. I'm delighted for the owners, they're lovely, lovely people."
Costello sold the colt under his Paramount Sales banner for Ann McBrayer's Keene Ridge Racing. McBrayer bred the colt in partnership with Sheikh Mohammed's Darley, so the purchase essentially was buying out a foal share.
The colt was the lone seven-figure sale during the final session, which was extremely strong and continued the momentum established during Monday's opener and took it up a few notches higher.
Fasig-Tipton reported sales on 75 of the 86 yearlings offered Tuesday for $25,010,000, a massive 66.5 percent increase over the final session last year when 50 yearlings sold for $15,017,000. The session's average price was also a sharp increase, $333,467 compared to $300,340, a bump of 11 percent. Median rose 5.3 percent to $250,000.
The banner second session spurred huge increases for the two days. When the receipts were added up they showed a 40.5 percent gain in total sales (146 yearlings sold for $46,755,000), a 10.4 percent rise in average price ($322,448), a 5.3 percent boost in median ($250,000) and a remarkably low buy-back rate of 15.2 percent.
To read the rest of the Saratoga Sale recap, download Wednesday's digital edition of The Saratoga Special presented by Keeneland.