F-T Review: What Happened to the Market?
The Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July select auction got the yearling selling season off to a sobering start in Central Kentucky. The buy-back rate rose while the number of horses sold, gross revenue, average price, and median price all declined.
Following are what some of the participants in the July 14-15 auction had to say about the negative developments:
Michael Hernon, Gainesway: “The bar is high; the demand is for the good horses. People are willing to reach out with strong prices for the horses that fit their criteria, so the market is demanding. They want a really good physical horse. The horse must look the part, show well, and then vet out to the satisfaction of all the varying criteria from the various inspectors.
Meg Levy, Bluewater Sales: “The polarity of the market is getting even worse. Everybody wants the best and they’ll stretch for the horses that jump through the hoops -- the veterinary, the physical, and the pedigree.
Stuart Morris, Dapple Stud: “To me, the market is telling us the same thing it’s always told us. The really good horses bring a whole lot of money; they sell very, very well. The horses that are deemed marginal or less are kind of left on the sidelines. I don’t think it’s any surprise.
Barry Berkelhammer, who selected yearlings for Starlight Partners: “I think the middle of the market has certainly been affected (by the economy), and at the lower end, prices are dropping. I don’t think there is as much demand. The pinhookers are being a little more careful, and there aren’t enough racing guys for that $75,000 and under kind of horse.”
Niall Brennan, Florida pinhooker: “I’m being a little bit conservative, maybe, but I don’t think it’s a big adjustment. One thing we’ve seen is that there is a ceiling now at the 2-year-old sales. This year, $600,000 or $700,000 was the ceiling, and it means people (pinhookers) are more comfortable paying $100,000 for a yearling than they are going to be paying $250,000 or $300,000.
Kitty Taylor, Warrendale Sales: “With the current economic climate in the world, I think people are going to the safe harbor of proven sires. When I talk to pinhookers at the barn or a trainer like Ron Ellis, they say, ‘I’m not even looking at first year sires.’ You’re seeing people kind of readjusting and buying more of the (yearlings by) proven sires. They are taking less of a risk; there is no question they're taking less of a risk. Every time you turn on your TV, it would make you take less of a risk.”
Lance Robinson, Utah horseman, pinhooker, breeder, and owner: “The good horses are doing well. The ones we’re buying we’re spending plenty for them, and the good ones that we have here to sell, we feel like they’re bringing what they should. It looks pretty tough for the less expensive horses.”
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