About Us: History

History

Formed in 1898 by William B. Fasig and Edward A. Tipton, Fasig-Tipton Co. is North America’s oldest Thoroughbred auction company. Its first headquarters were in Madison Square Garden in New York, and Fasig-Tipton initially sold high-class road and carriage horses in addition to Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing stock.

After Fasig’s death in 1903, Tipton took on Enoch James Tranter as his partner. Tranter changed the old catalogue pages, which listed up to 30 dams, to focus on a horse’s immediate family members in racetrack performance and production. That change is still reflected in the sales catalogues of today. Fasig-Tipton also was the first auction company to require certificates of health and pregnancy at broodmare sales.

Fasig-Tipton’s Saratoga sale of selected yearlings is one of the premier horse auctions in the world. It has roots that stretch back to 1917 when Fasig-Tipton formed an alliance with some of the top Kentucky breeders to sell their yearlings during the race meet in upstate New York. The great Man o’ War sold as a yearling at the 1918 Saratoga sale.

The Saratoga sale has produced numerous household names for international horsemen, such as Raise a Native, Natalma, Hoist the Flag, Danzig, Miswaki, Conquistador Cielo, and two-time champion filly Open Mind.

The list continues as 1991 Horse of the Year Black Tie Affair, ‘93 Belmont Stakes winner Colonial Affair, ‘94 Kentucky Derby winner Go For Gin, ‘94 champion mare Sky Beauty, 2002 champion two-year-old male Vindication, ‘03 champion three-year-old male Funny Cide (New York-bred sale), and ‘05 Horse of the Year Saint Liam all emerged from the venerable New York sale grounds.

Humphrey S. Finney, for whom the Saratoga sales pavilion is named, announced his first sale for Fasig-Tipton in 1937. In his 1974 autobiography "Fair Exchange", Finney wrote about an auction company’s need to know about the horses and the value of what they are selling. That commitment to horsemanship and customer service remains a focal point for Fasig-Tipton today.

Kentucky

During World War II breeders could not freely ship yearlings around the country, so the Saratoga sale was put on hold. In 1943 Fasig-Tipton held the sale in a tent at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington. Fred W. Hooper Jr. purchased 1945 Kentucky Derby winner Hoop Jr. for $10,200 at the ’43 sale.

It was not until 1972 that Fasig-Tipton established its permanent Kentucky headquarters in Lexington, from which it initiates a year-round sales schedule for Thoroughbred auctions across the country.

The Kentucky division was an immediate source of high class racing stock. Its classic winning graduates include Seattle Slew, Genuine Risk, Dancing Brave, Rainbow Quest, and Unbridled.

The highest-priced broodmare of all time, Broodmare of the Year Better Than Honour, sold for $14-million at the 2008 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky selected fall mixed sale.

Other prominent Kentucky graduates include Kentucky Derby winners Go For Gin, Big Brown and Mine That Bird; Dubai World Cup victor Captain Steve; as well as champions Artax, Silverbulletday, Blind Luck, and Dubai Majesty.

Two-year-old sales

Finney and Joe O'Farrell, the pioneer of Thoroughbred breeding in Florida and founder of Ocala Stud, combined their talents in 1952 to put on the first two-year-olds in training sale at Hialeah Park. When additional training sales started in California, Maryland, Kentucky, and Louisiana, it was Fasig-Tipton conducting the auctions.

Fasig-Tipton’s Florida two-year-old sale has long been the worldwide leader, producing more stakes-winning graduates than any currently operating two-year-old in training sale.  "The Florida Sale" alternated between Calder Racecourse and Hialeah Park from 1983 through 2010. In 2015, the sale was relocated to Gulfstream Park and is now the only prominent Florida two-year-olds in training sale conducted on dirt.Kentucky Derby winners Monarchos and Nyquist, as well as dual Classic winner Risen Star, Japanese champion Kurofune, and North American champions Left Bank, Stevie Wonderboy, and Gio Ponti are just a few of the horses who have made "The Florida Sale" a premier event for international buyers. In 2006, "The Florida Sale" set an all-time record for most expensive horse sold at public auction when The Green Monkey hammered down for $16 million.

The Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale, established in 1986 in Timonium, Maryland, holds the current record for most expensive Thoroughbred sold at public auction in Maryland, a filly which sold for $1,250,000 in 2015. Notable graduates of the Midlantic two-year-old sale include two-time Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint winner Mizdirection, classic winners Bayern and Dortmund, and G1 winners Poseidon's Warrior, Lady of Shamrock, Dance to Bristol, and Eden's Moon.

New era

Synergy Investments Ltd., a Dubai-based company headed by Abdulla Al Habbai, purchased Fasig-Tipton Co. in 2008. The Hettinger family, led by John Hettinger, had been Fasig-Tipton’s majority shareholder after guiding the company through the industry struggles of the late 1980s.

With a promise to continue Hettinger’s passion and support for the industry, Synergy has updated and modernized Fasig-Tipton’s sales facilities in Lexington, Saratoga, and Timonium, Maryland as well as increased its profile internationally with the addition of representatives in Australasia, Europe, and South America.  Fasig-Tipton has also made considerable technological upgrades as part of its longtime company commitment to unparalleled customer service, as well as worked to further promote North American racing and breeding throughout the world.