As she heads into the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July select sale, which is the first major auction of the yearling selling season, consignor Kitty Taylor of Warrendale Sales said she feels like the manager of a baseball team. The sale is scheduled for July 13-14 in Lexington and has 494 horses in its catalog, many of which fit into the middle market range.
“It’s kind of like the opening day of the season at the ball park,” Taylor said. “Your team has practiced and you’ve looked at your players, but until they play, you really don’t know how good they are.”
With yearlings, the concern is whether they will be good enough to catch the eyes of buyers, who are looking for the right combination of pedigree and physical appearance. Another worry – especially in 2010 -- is the health of the overall yearling marketplace itself.
Most yearling sales in 2009 experienced significant setbacks as financial crisies domestically and abroad caused a variety of businesses to struggle.
Juvenile auctions earlier this year showed signs of stabilization and some even posted gains, giving yearling sellers hope that the huge plunges in the Thoroughbred market have ended. But a volatile stock market and other mixed economic indicators are making consignors jumpy.
“There is too much uncertainty out there, and that’s what concerns me,” said consignor Craig Bandoroff of Denali Stud. “But I always go into the July sale with reservations and hesitation, just because it is the first sale of the year and it’s been a tricky sale for me.”
Fasig-Tipton officials made a big promotional push for the July auction over the Fourth of July weekend. They visited four major racetracks, where they set up hospitality areas and provided paddock access and trackside viewing to owners and trainers. In addition, the company moved the starting day of the sale from a Monday to a Tuesday to make it easier for owners and trainers involved in weekend racing to get to the auction in plenty of time to inspect the yearlings.
Bandoroff is pleased Fasig-Tipton’s executives and staff made the efforts to pump up interest in the sale.
“The July sale gets supported by people who make a living in the horse buisness, so people who trade (pinhook) horses go there,” he said. “If they see nice horses, they’ll buy them. But we all know we need other people like end users (who race the horses they buy), and Fasig-Tipton is working hard to accomplish that (get them to attend the auction).”
The sale will begin at 11 a.m. (EDT) each day at Fasig-Tipton’s Newtown Paddocks complex.