Hartley/DeRenzo go to $450,000 for American Pharoah filly
Filly was bred in New York by Joanne Nielsen
As the only yearling by American Pharoah in the New York-Bred Yearling Sale, a filly sired by the Triple Crown winner lit up the bid board early during Saturday's first session of the auction, going to Hartley/DeRenzo for $450,000 (£352,000/€394,000).
Bred in New York by Joanne Nielsen of Sunnyfield Farm, the filly consigned as Hip 329 by Summerfield was produced from the Distorted Humor mare Visions Of Annette and is from the female family of Grade 1 winners General Challenge and Evening Jewel.
At the Saratoga sale held earlier this week, an American Pharoah colt bred by Nielsen and consigned by Summerfield was bought by Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert on behalf of MV Magnier for $1 million.
Randy Hartley said he and Dean DeRenzo had several horses on their shortlist for the sale's first session but that the filly was at the top.
"This is the one we really wanted," Hartley said, adding the filly will be pinhooked to be resold later. "There is so much upside."
Hartley said while the price tag was hefty, at the end of the day the transaction may look like a bargain.
"You always hope to get a bargain, but for me, I think at the end of the day, I think this will end up being like a bargain for one of his. His babies are looking fantastic," Hartley said of the appeal of foals from American Pharoah's first crop. "I just think he was one of the greatest racehorses I've ever seen."
Francis Vanlangendonck said he and Nielsen were pleased with the filly's price.
"That exceeded all expectations," the consignor said. "With clients like her that give you good horses to sell, it makes it easy. This filly was athletic and had a great walk. These guys know a good horse when they see one, and she fit the part."
Average spikes and median even
The timing for the start of Fasig-Tipton's New York-Bred Yearling Sale couldn't have been any better.
During the hours leading up to the sale, two New York-breds won Graded stakes at Saratoga, a stone's throw from where the sale is held, with Voodoo Song scoring the Fourstardave Handicap and Sue's Fortune taking the Adirondack Stakes.
Whether those results played a role in the outcome of the session is uncertain, but by the end of the rainy night - bolstered by a diverse group of buyers vying for yearlings sired by some of North America's top stallions and carrying the New York-bred stamp that qualifies them for lucrative purse incentives - the average soared well above the comparable session a year ago while the RNA rate spiked.
Fasig-Tipton reported 80 yearlings grossed $8,326,000 for an average price of $104,075 and a $75,000 median. The median was even with last year's first-session figure, and the average soared 18 per cent above last year's $87,688 figure when 93 head grossed $8,155,000. With 56 horses not sold, this year's buy-back rate was 41 per cent, compared with 24 per cent during the 2017 first session when 30 were bought back.
Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning jnr labeled it a "pretty good" night, noting the average was the first in excess of six figures for any session of the New York-bred sale, but the buy-back rate was disappointing.
"Certainly, there continues to be significant demand for what are perceived to be the higher quality offerings, with lots of competition," said Browning.
"The buy-back rate was higher than we would have liked. This sale traditionally has had a higher-than-you-would-hope buy-back rate because the owners and breeders of those horses have significant alternatives, and it is important for them if they don't get what they think is a fair price to control the destiny of that horse with regard to its racing career."
Browning said that similar to other sales in recent years, buyers were choosy about what they took home.
"If you don't jump through the hoops, there is virtually no one in place to buy your horse," he said. "It is still a selective marketplace, and we are going to see that selectivity all year long. I think we will continue to see strong demand for most of the horses and less demand than you would like for some of the horses."
The sale concludes on Sunday with a session that begins at 6.30pm Eastern Time.
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