The Fasig-Tipton July select yearling sale, which ended its two-day run Tuesday in Lexington, suffered downturns in its average and median prices, but with more horses on offer and more being sold, its gross revenue increased.
Reasons given for the setbacks by sale company officials, consignors, and buyers included a larger New Sire Showcase, a bigger catalog, the lack of a superstar yearling bringing a blockbuster price, and cutbacks by some yearling-to-juvenile pinhookers.
In general, buyers seemed pleased with prices. Some said they got higher quality horses for lower amounts than they would have paid in years past. Others said they got good yearlings for what they were worth without having to pay extra.
While consignors said they would have liked to have gotten more money for their yearlings, many expressed relief that the results hadn't been worse.
"Overall, it's been better than I thought it would be," said Mark Taylor of Taylor Made Sales Agency, which encouraged its clients to set reasonable reserves.
Following are some other opinions:
Brian Graves, Gainesway: "For the good athletic horse that passes all the scrutiny -- the vets and all that -- the market has been really good. It's been surprisingly good in spots. But there doesn't seem to be much cushion for an average horse if they have any vet issues. I think we’re seeing al lot of people falling on the same horses, the ones with high quality, big airways, and clean X-rays. The market might be tightening maybe just a touch, but it's hard for me to say if it’s that or if it's a bigger catalog situation. When they slimmed down the numbers last year, more of the average horses got through a little easier. I don't see any huge red flags."
Jeffry Morris, Highclere: "We sold a lot of horses right at the reserve on the first day and they weren’t reserved aggressively. Everyone was concerned about the numbers (of yearlings in the catalog). They might as well open this thing up and have a three-day sale and make it a crapshoot or they need to go back and sell 400 or 450 horses and make it a select sale. Now we’re in the middle."
Meg Levy, Bluewater Sales: "The market is more and more physically sophisticated and physically selective. That's where we are, and it's going to continue. Some of our end users have become commercial breeders and it's only natural (that the number of sale yearlings have increased)."
Jack Wolf, Starlight Stables: "I made this comment to Barry (Berkelhammer) yesterday (Monday): 'We’re usually horrible at guessing what these horses will sell for, but we bought four horses and three of them were right exactly at where we evaluated them.' We're real pleased with the purchases that we made, and I'm real happy with the horse I just sold, too (a Harlan's Holiday filly that brought $300,000)."