Electric Atmosphere Fuels Day One of The Saratoga Sale

The Saratoga Sale, Fasig-Tipton’s select yearling sale in Saratoga Springs, NY, kicked off with a bang Aug. 8 in the Humphrey S. Finney Pavilion as the gross, average, and median all climbed.

The atmosphere was electric, with a packed house inside and in the back ring. A son of Uncle Mo consigned by Lane’s End as Hip 68 took top honors after selling for $1.5 million to a partnership in West Point Thoroughbreds and Woodford Racing, LEB, agent. The colt bred by Jane Lyon’s Summer Wind Equine was one of four yearlings to hit the seven-figure mark Monday evening.

“You could feel the excitement in the air tonight in Saratoga. The atmosphere was electric, the quality of horses was tremendous, and the quality of people here to buy those horses was tremendous. It was a great environment to have an auction,” Fasig -Tipton’s president and CEO Boyd Browning Jr. commented at the close Monday night.

The first day of selling saw 69 of 86 yearlings go under the hammer, selling for gross receipts of $28,930,000. An average price of $419,275 was established, showing a year-on-year increase of 16%. A median price of $350,000 was achieved, an increase of $50,000 compared to 2021. A low RNA rate of 19.8% represents the 17 yearlings who failed to meet their reserve Monday evening.

Photo: Fasig-Tipton Photos

Boyd Browning at Fassig-Tipton

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“We are delighted with the opening session of the 2022 Saratoga Yearling Sale. Although there was a significant improvement in all the statistical categories, we hit the superfecta having the average up 16% and median up 16%,” Browning said. “We are thrilled with those numbers. The gross was up 17%, and an RNA under 20% in a highly selective sale is a tremendous accomplishment.”

During the 2021 edition of The Saratoga Sale, Day One accounted for 70 yearlings sold of 96 through the ring, for gross receipts of $25,280,000. An average price of $361,143 was achieved, with a median of $300,000. Twenty-six horses failed to meet their reserve, representing an RNA rate of 27%.

Colts by leading sires Into Mischief (Hips 74 and 102), Justify (Hip 78), and Uncle Mo (68) sold for seven figures Monday, surpassing last year’s four total horses sold for seven figures during both days of selling.

Lane’s End sales director Allaire Ryan commented on the strength of the market: “Very strong. Plenty of depth as well; I think if you have a quality individual, there was no shortage of vet work—whether it was from pinhookers or end users. There’s obviously competition at the highest level for those kind of elite offerings. But I think overall the foot traffic at this sale has been unbelievable. We’ve been very busy the whole way through and people are here with good intentions. It’s nice to see the select market starts off on such a strong foot like this; it gives us some optimism headed into the fall sales now.”

Breeder Christian Black of Blackstone Farm saw Hip 78 sell for $1.1 million via Warrendale Sales to MV Magnier, who had Michael Wallace of the fledgling Telluride Agency sign the ticket.

“I think it’s a very competitive market if you have the right horse,” Black said. “It’s polarized like it always is. This (elite) segment of the market has always been pretty strong, but it’s a good market.”

Terry Finley at the August yearling session of The Saratoga Sale on Aug.  8, 2022, in Saratoga Springs, NY
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Terry Finley at Fasig-Tipton

West Point Thoroughbreds and Woodford Racing (LEB, agent) were the session’s leading buyers with their single purchase at $1.5 million.

“There’s a lot of things going on in the world, but I think the people buying horses at this level aren’t impacted by that much,” West Point’s president and CEO Terry Finley commented after signing the sales slip for the session-topping colt . “I knew that there were some significant buyers (competing for the horse). I think there probably were more than just the two of us past the million-dollar mark.

“Obviously, in a public market, the market tells you what to pay. (It’s) very competitive. I saw the prices; you’ve got good, solid colts that didn’t have the pedigree who were going for $700,000 to $800,000, Finley added. “When you have a little bit more pedigree and the physical, you’re going to be between one and two million. It just matters on the other side, how far they want to go.”

Perennial leading consignor Taylor Made Sales Agency sent 15 head through the ring Monday and saw 13 horses change hands for gross receipts of $4,565,000 at an average price of $351,154.

“Most encouraging is the breadth of buyers when you go through the results,” Browning commented. “There was lots of activity from a diverse buying group. We know there is already some competition for private sales, and our goal will be tomorrow to sell every one that we didn’t sell tonight through the ring, to get them sold. It’s important to have a clearance rate that high.”

The sale concludes tomorrow with Hips 107-216 scheduled to walk across the ring at 6:30 pm ET.

Browning added: “Great start, and I can’t wait for tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to it. It all relates to the quality of horses, and many folks brought tremendous horses here; I hope they feel rewarded tonight.”

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