Strong results at Saratoga yearling sale

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Fireworks never went off, records didn’t fall, and yet the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale of selected yearlings will undoubtedly be remembered for years to come as a true success.

Success is measured in many ways at horse sales. High prices get the headlines but it’s the horses landing in new homes for what both buyers and sellers agree are fair market prices that trump them in a heartbeat. The concluding session of the Saratoga sale did just that as a spectacularly low buy-back rate for a major select auction paved the way to increases in several key market indicators. Simply put, the Saratoga sale was one of those rare auctions where buyers truly came to buy and sellers truly came to sell.

There are certainly always plenty of buyers and sellers at horse sales. The former kick the tires, hang out in the back walking ring, back at the barns working private sales, or commiserate with colleagues around the grounds. Sellers do their part, trying to move product in any variety of ways, glossing the horses up and hustling even in the last final moments before their horses go through the ring. Rarely do they move horses in as efficient a manner as they did Tuesday night.

Fasig-Tipton reported sales on 58 of the 70 yearlings offered during the sale’s second session-a powerfully low buy-back rate of 17.1% that cannot be stated emphatically enough for its importance to those who bring their product to market with bills to pay-for a total of $16.2-million, an average of $279,310 and median of $250,000.

Overall 108 of the 137 yearlings offered over the two days sold for $31,870,000, down just $130,000 from a year ago when 107 yearlings brought $32 million. The sale’s overall buy-back rate was 21.2%, a very low number for a select sale. The sale’s average dropped 1.3%, from $299,065 to $295,093, while the median rose 11.1% to $250,000.

“It’s been a long long time since I’ve been standing here after Saratoga after a session with a 17% buy-back rate and a 21% overall buy-back rate for the overall sale,” Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning said. “On the summary tonight you’ll see notes on private sales that aren’t reflected in the statistics and there was almost a feeding frenzy in the office today and I’m sure there will be tomorrow on a few horses that were bought back.”

Browning said the results also show an increased and “tremendous interest in horses, particularly quality horses.”

Business was strong throughout, even though the session lacked a true breakout sale.

The evening was certainly ready for some fireworks. Perfect weather, another big crowd and plenty of darkness and stars in the sky. The consensus after Monday’s opening session was that better things were yet to come, better colts will be offered up.

A colt did top the session-a son of Indian Charlie from the family of Vindication sold by the same man who sold a filly for $1 million the night before-but nothing approached the seven-figure plateau that was cracked twice Monday. The session topper, bought by Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Stables and George Bolton, brought $750,000. Bloodstock agent John Moynihan selected the colt, along with a Curlin colt that sold three horses later for $475,000 and purchased solely by Stonestreet.

To read the rest of the sale recap, check out Wednesday’s edition of The Saratoga Special.