New York-Bred Sale soars to record level
Pioneerof the Nile colt sets new sale benchmark
It was déjà vu all over again at the Fasig-Tipton New York-Bred Yearling Sale in Saratoga.
For the second year in a row, a record-priced offering fueled a vibrant market that set records for gross, median, and average price, topped by a son of Pioneerof the Nile purchased by Shortleaf Stable for a sale-record $600,000 (£471,000/€527,000) on Sunday.
Fasig-Tipton reported 172 yearlings were sold for $18,492,000, up 14 per cent over last year's record $16,214,000, with the record $107,512 average representing a gain of 21 per cent over the $89,088 figure a year ago. The record median of $76,000 was up nine per cent from $69,500 last year. The 91 horses who went unsold represented an RNA rate of 35 per cent, compared with 25 per cent in 2017 when 62 of 244 were unsold.
An American Pharoah filly sold during Saturday's session for $450,000 by Summerfield on behalf of breeder Joanne Nielsen's Sunnyfield Farm was a record price for a filly at the auction.
This year's sale-topper exceeded the $500,000 price paid by Waves Bloodstock for a Cairo Prince colt consigned by RFHF Bloodstock in 2017.
Illustrating the strength of the sale, there were 30 horses sold for $200,000 or more, compared with 16 such individuals a year ago.
The action during the final session was competitive for the most desired lots, almost frenzied at one point.
"The last half of the session was just electric," Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning jnr said. "Obviously, that is really reflective of how the horses happened to fall (in the catalogue). We just had one beauty after another that sold really well."
Browning said the buying bench was diverse during the two-day auction, with some new buyers who previously had not bought at the sale.
"That's a direct result of the quality and success New York-breds have been achieving all over the world," Browning said.
Even with record sale, the market remains polarised, Browning said.
"If you don't meet the criteria, it's very, very thin if it exists at all," he said. "There are horses that go through this sale and other sales, and the reality is they don't receive a bid, which is a tough pill to swallow. That's always been the case but the cut line is a little higher and once you get above the cut line, the return is stronger than it has been in years."
Consigned by Thorndale Farm as Hip 588, the sale-topper was bred by Jonathan Thorne and is out of the A.P. Indy mare Score, a daughter of Grade 1 winner Educated Risk who has produced Grade 2-placed Timely Tally and stakes-placed Dattt Melody, an earner of $270,362.
Shortleaf Stable's Ed Anthony said the colt's hefty price tag was in line with his appraisal, considering Pioneerof the Nile's success as a sire and the colt's female family that includes champion Inside Information in the third dam.
"(The price) was not higher than I expected, for that pedigree," said Anthony. "That's about what I figured, and I knew we'd have competition. If you're looking for stallion prospects and want to be relevant in the classic picture and Triple Crown trail, you've got to pony up sometimes and play the game."
Though the colt was catalogued in the New York-bred sale, Anthony said he would have been as well-received in the Saratoga Sale, Fasig-Tipton's selected yearling sale held in the same Humphrey S Finney Pavilion earlier in the week, or early during the Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
"The market is so hot, it's not surprising (that it's a record) when a pedigree like that comes through," Anthony said.
Breeder Thorne, who operates Thorndale near Millbrook, New York, was overwhelmed by the colt's success in the sale ring. Thorne purchased Score while carrying the Pioneerof the Nile colt in utero for $120,000 from the Denali consignment to the 2016 Keeneland November Breeding-Stock Sale.
"I feel very lucky to have bred such a beautiful horse, such an intelligent horse," Thorne said. "I've loved every minute of being around him. The record sale price is great, but he deserved it. He's a fantastic horse. The people that got him got a really good horse."
Thorne said the colt's achievement in the sale ring is a credit to his staff.
"It's a very hard thing to do," said Thorne, whose family has been involved in New York breeding since 1980. "All of us in this business are trying to do the same thing. Obviously, it's very rewarding when that happens. I owe a lot of credit to my team at the farm. He's very easy to take care of, but they do a lot of other work as well. My guys here at the sale did a great job, the horse did a great job. He got a tonne of interest."
Day one report Hartley/DeRenzo go to $450,000 for American Pharoah filly