The Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern fall yearling sale concluded yesterday, with 530 horses selling for $8,840,400 over the three-day auction of thoroughbreds at the Timonium fairgrounds.
Those numbers were down slightly from the same sale last year. At the 2001 auction, 541 yearlings changed hands for $9,153,000 - an average of $16,919 per horse. The average this week was $16,680.
However, the number of buybacks - horses not sold because they didn't meet their minimum price - decreased from 211 last year to 175 this year. Also, the median price rose from $8,000 last year to $9,500 this year.
"That's pleasing," said Mason Grasty, executive vice president of Fasig-Tipton Midlantic. "While we didn't have the number of high-priced horses we had last year, the higher median means that most people were getting more for their horses than they did last year."
The median is the price at which an equal number of horses sold for more, and an equal number sold for less.
Last year, 12 yearlings sold for $100,000 or more, compared with six this year. The sales topper this year was a Florida-bred daughter of Silver Charm and the El Raggaas mare My Big Sis, which attracted a bid of $150,000 from the New Jersey-based Buzz Chace.
Two yearlings sold for $125,000. The Maryland-based Skeedattle Associates paid that for a Kentucky-bred son of El Prado and the Theatrical mare Nabla. And Gary Biszantz, the California owner, bought a New York-bred colt by Boston Harbor and the Princely Pleasure mare Strawberry Burrah.
Pat Kelly, the New York trainer of Evening Attire, winner of last weekend's Jockey Club Gold Cup, bought four horses, including one for $100,000 (a Kentucky-bred son of El Prado and the Cozzene mare Lady Aloma).