'Guarded Optimism' on Eve of Texas Yearling Sale

Bolstered by the revival of racing in Oklahoma and the continued increases in purses in Louisiana, there is “guarded optimism” among Texas breeders and sales company officials on the eve of the Fasig-Tipton Texas summer yearling sale.

Sponsored by the Texas Thoroughbred Association, the sale will be held Aug. 27-28 at the Lone Star Park sales pavilion.

Tim Boyce, local director of sales for Fasig-Tipton Texas, hopes the sale will get a boost from the enhanced strength of the racing programs in Louisiana and Oklahoma, both of which are seeing purses infused with revenues from slot machine gaming.

With 417 horses cataloged, approximately 75% of the yearlings to be offered are evenly split between Texas- and Louisiana-breds, with some Oklahoma and Kentucky-breds in the remainder.

“There is a lot of optimism and enthusiasm in Oklahoma and Louisiana. That has buoyed up the entire Southwest, and we should benefit from that,” Boyce said. “We’re basically a Southwest sale. With the correction in the 2-year-old market, there is logical trepidation in the yearling sale market. What I feel good about is that we have better quality and some hot paper this year. There is guarded optimism here.”

Boyce said there should be strong demand for the Texas-breds in the sale because of how well horses bred there have done in other racing jurisdictions this year. Among the offerings are 27 yearlings sired by leading Texas stallion Valid Expectations. The catalog also includes offspring of leading freshmen sires Posse, Harlan’s Holiday and Van Nistlerooy, as well as the first yearlings sired by top runners such as Chapel Royal, Even the Score  , Peace Rules and Tapit  .

Boyce said the catalog is also enhanced by the presence of a half-brother to recent Saratoga Special (gr. II) winner Kokiak Kowboy. Consigned by Brad Dawkins, the colt is by Golden Missile.

Boyce said sales company officials are hopeful there will be a stronger presence at the sale by pinhookers looking to buy yearlings for resale as 2-year-olds for a profit.

“Pinhookers have had a lot of success here,” Boyce said. “They get a lot of quality here, and I am looking for more participation by pinhookers this year.”

Topped by an Include filly at $140,000, the 2006 event resulted in 272 horses sold for a gross of $3,228,900. The $11,871 average represented a gain of 15% from the previous year, and the median price rose 22.2% to $5,500.

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