The Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale came to a rousing conclusion May 18 with a second straight day of vibrant trade in Timonium, Md. The competitive marketplace fueled records in gross sales, average price, and median price, and for the seventh consecutive year the sale boasted a seven-figure sale-topper.
As has been the case all season, there was no shortage of buyers at all levels at the two-day auction. With a solid top-end of the market and a robust middle market, the sale attracted a deep buying bench as evidenced by the number of different buyers on the sale’s big-ticket horses.
“People are wanting horses, and luckily, we had horses they wanted, and it all added up and they fought to the end to get them,” said Paget Bennett, Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic sales director. “It’s just nice to have what people want. We’re thankful to have a lot of the people that didn’t come last year. They came and brought a great group of horses.
“The consignors like this sale because of the extra time it gives the horses,” Bennett added. “They don’t want to push them too early because they can push them early and not have anything left. A lot of times, they buy horses and target this sale. There will probably be a lot more people buying yearlings and targeting this sale.”
During the sale’s final session, 187 head sold for $17,865,500, a whopping 63.3% increase over the corresponding session a year ago when 151 juveniles brought $10,940,000. The average for the day was $95,537, a healthy 31.9% rise over last year’s second session average of $72,450. A total of 29 horses failed to meet their reserve, compared to 34 in the same session in 2020, with Tuesday’s RNA rate at 13.4%. The median price came in at $50,000; it was $40,000 last year.
For the entire auction, 357 horses generated gross sales of $33,692,000, a substantial 43% increase over the 2020 auction that saw 303 head sell for $23,572,500. It also eclipsed the previous record gross of $29,374,000 established in 2019. The sale average swelled to $94,375 this year, an increase of 21.3% over last year’s average of $77,797, and surpassed the previous high of $90,104, also set in 2019. The median price rose to $50,000 from $40,000 last year, setting a new benchmark from the previous record median of $45,000 in 2015. A total of 69 horses failed to change hands compared to 72 last year. This year’s RNA rate of 16.2% was the third-lowest in the sale’s history.
“The last two days have just been, oh my goodness,” Bennett said. “We had a great breeze show and then the activity on Friday, so you just kind of go, ‘Well, this is good, this is good,’ and then on Saturday and Sunday, it was very busy.
“You just get encouraged by what you see, who you see, and you just hope it translates,” Bennett continued. “Yesterday, the pavilion was full of people, the parking areas were jam-packed, and it translated into horses getting sold. People were just buying, buying, buying horses, and that’s what we’re here for. That’s the goal. I think it is exciting, and it’s exciting for Maryland and this division. We get a lot of horses that are successful that come out of this sale, so we just hope these buyers have the same luck.”
Bennett’s feelings about the sale and the state of the market were echoed by other stakeholders.
“It was a great market,” said consignor Tristan de Meric of De Meric Sales. “It is great to see strength from the market at all levels.
“We didn’t know what to think (coming into the 2021 2-year-olds in training sale season) to be honest,” he added. “We thought it was going to be better than 2020, but we weren’t sure it was going to be this much better. It’s really been an outstanding year. It’s great to see all the supporters of the industry showing up and being here.”
Ned Toffey, general manager of Spendthrift Farm, said: “Probably, like a lot of people, we were a little bit uncertain (about the market), but at that first sale down at OBS (Ocala Breeders’ Sales), it was good to see so many people there. A lot of people, a lot of good activity. There’s good money for good horses.
“At the beginning of yesterday, this pavilion was jammed full,” he continued. “It sort of feels to me like there is this COVID rebound. People just want to get out. They’ve been cooped up, and if they want to spend their money on a horse; that’s a good thing.”
The session’s top-priced offering on Tuesday was Hip 492, a Florida-bred filly by Gainesway stallion Tapit out of grade 1 winner Gomo (by Uncle Mo ) who brought $625,000 from trainer Mac Robertson, who signed the ticket on behalf of Xtreme Racing Stables.
Consigned by De Meric Sales, agent, the filly, bred by Bridlewood Farm, was a $475,000 RNA at The Gulfstream Sale, Fasig-Tipton’s 2-year-olds in training sale held March 31 at Gulfstream Park.
“I thought she was the best filly in the sale,” said Robertson. “Mike and Vicki McGowan (Xtreme Racing Stables) are looking for really good fillies. She had the best breeze, she is out of a grade 1 horse by a sire that everyone wants, so it makes sense to me. She went for a little more than we wanted, but the sale was strong.”
Bridlewood Farm acquired Gomo in foal to Medaglia d’Oro for $1.5 million out of the Taylor Made Sales Agency consignment at The November Sale, Fasig-Tipton’s premier breeding stock sale in Lexington, in 2017. Prior to her racing career for Paul Reddam’s Reddam Racing, Gomo was a $75,000 purchase by Dennis O’Neill at the 2015 OBS March 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale where she was consigned by Eddie Woods. Bred in Kentucky by John Liviakis, Gomo captured the 2015 Darley Alcibiades Stakes (G1) at Keeneland and earned $349,130 in her racing career for trainer Doug O’Neill.
Hip 211, a son of Lane’s End stallion Quality Road consigned by Eddie Woods, proved to be the breakout horse of the sale, selling to West Point Thoroughbreds for $1.5 million during the sale’s first session on Monday. The price equaled the highest price ever paid for a colt at the Midlantic sale, matching the $1.5 million paid for Curlin’s Honor in 2017.
Next up on the sales calendar is the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s June Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training and Horses of Racing Age slated for June 9-11 in Ocala, Fla. That sale will be followed June 23 by Fasig-Tipton’s Santa Anita 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale in California.