The Fasig-Tipton July select yearling auction has fewer horses and is shorter this year. Those are changes that should appeal to both buyers and sellers, according to the company’s vice president of sales, Bayne Welker.
There are 303 horses cataloged for the one-day auction, which is the first major event in the yearling selling season. It will be held July 12 in Lexington. As of July 10, 38 horses had been scratched based on information published on Fasig-Tipton’s website (www.fasigtipton.com). Last year, there were 407 yearlings in the book and the sale ran for two days.
“With the lower number of horses, it’s going to bode well for the consignors,” Welker said. “Whenever the numbers were lower at this sale in the past, it usually was better as far as the average and median prices were concerned. Being at around 300 horses this year, I feel very good that the average and median will creep back up again.”
As for the buyers, “we kind of polled a lot of them after last year’s sale to see what they would prefer,” Welker said. “With a lot of racing going on at this time of year, the majority of them did say they preferred to get in and do their work, go through one day of a sale, and then move on. That made us feel like that condensing the sale would make it more user-friendly.”
The 2010 edition of the auction suffered only a 2.5% decline in average, with that figure slipping to $75,780. The gross declined 11.6% to $18,414,500 while the median dropped 9.1% to $50,000.
Meanwhile, the North American yearling market last year showed signs of stability. The average dropped less than 1% to $39,982 and the median of $10,000 was the same as it was in 2009, ending two consecutive years of decline.
“I’m a little nervous because it’s the first sale of the year,” said consignor Kitty Taylor of Warrendale Sales. “But I have nice horses here, and I’m starting to see the regular folks come through the barn so that’s good. The 2-year-old sellers certainly had a good auction season this year, so hopefully the pinhookers will do their usual reinvesting in yearlings. I’m cautiously optimistic, especially for the horse that have the nice physicals.”
Kentucky-based trainer Kenny McPeek was among the shoppers inspecting yearlings in the days leading up to the Fasig-Tipton July auction and he seemed to think the market for young horses was poised for an upswing.
“We’ve had a lot of interest presale from clients,” he said. “You never know how people are going to react once the bidding starts, but we’ve got several orders and people are wanting to see my shortlist. I think the sale will be OK. People have been quite down for the last couple of years, but there is some positive energy coming back into the game.”
Also looking at yearlings was Todd Quast, who oversees T. Paul Bulmahn’s GoldMark Farm in Florida.
“This sale for me is always about individuals, and I’m hoping to find some good ones,” he said. “I’m thinking the prices are still going to be a little bit soft. I think things are a little better economically, which is great for everybody, but I still think there will be opportunities here. Hopefully, there will be some bargains.”
The sale will begin at 10 a.m. (EDT) at Fasig-Tipton’s Newtown Paddocks complex and will be followed by phase one of Bill and Corinne Heiligbrodt’s dispersal, which will offer broodmares, foals, yearlings, horses of racing age, and a stallion.
“Whenever you have that one word, dispersal, it always piques people’s interest,” Welker said. “It’s going to bring some buyers in that we may not have been able to entice in years past. I think the Heiligbrodt dispersal will help the yearling sale and I think the yearling sale will help the Heiligbrodt dispersal.”