After a record-setting run in 2004, the market for select 2-year-olds in training is experiencing a slowdown in 2005. The cumulative figures through the first four of the five major select auctions are a gross revenue of $105,812,500 and an average price of $158,639. Compared to last year's results for the same four sales, the gross is up 13.6% and headed to yet another all-time high, but the average is down 1.6%. From 2003 to 2004, the gross increased 28.9% and the average advanced 37.2%.
More horses have been sold so far this year than last year – 1,042 compared to 888, which represents a 17.3% upswing. At the same time, the buy-back rate has risen, from 34.9% last year to 36.0% this year. The shift in the buy-back rate is not dramatic, but it does suggest the supply of select sale 2-year-olds might be starting to exceed demand.
Even so, there is still enough strength in the top of the juvenile market to produce a world record price for 2-year-old in training. At the Fasig-Tipton Calder auction, a Tale of the Cat
– Carry All colt sold for the unprecedented amount of $5.2 million.
However, most of the trends in 2005 have not been good news for yearling-to-juvenile pinhookers, whose profits have decreased significantly at each of this year's first four select auctions. Their rate of return on investment fell from 160.2% to 86.3% at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. Calder sale; from 178.6% to 129.5% at the Fasig-Tipton Florida sale; from 156.8% to 90.2% at the Barretts March sale; and from 121.2% to 38.7% at the OBS March sale.
This year's fifth and final major select juvenile auction will be at Keeneland in Lexington on April 19.