Marked by a severe 22.9% decrease in average price, the annual selected Canadian-bred yearling sale, hosted by the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society (Ontario division) at the Woodbine racetrack sales pavilion on Sept. 8 was yet another North American auction that was a victim of a struggling economy.
The drop in average, from $39,131 (all figures in Canadian funds) last year to $30,142 this year was the biggest dive in more than a decade for the sale. The sales’ gross of $4,672,000, for 155 yearlings sold was down from $5,830,500 for 149 sold.
The median dropped from $27,000 to $22,000.
“I think it was fairly disappointing,” said Glenn Sikura, owner of Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm and president of the Ontario division of the CTHfS. “I know how hard everybody worked in the CTHS office to make this the best sale it could be but I think it was a fairly thin market.”
Certainly, the mood of consignors and prospective buyers was upbeat heading into the auction following a lavish pre-sale reception at Woodbine and the continued strength of the local racing program.
But as the sale went on, the top yearlings sold well while others struggled to get bids.
“I know everyone thought that the sale was going to do well this year but our local buyers have always been fairly reserved,” said Sikura “There were American buyers here but with its economy, we can’t expect them to step up and bully our sale.”
There were noticeable missing buyers from this year’s auction – in particular Bill Farish’s Woodford Racing syndicate, a leading buyer last year that did not purchase any horses in 2009.
It was good news then to see a relative newcomer to the business, Lana Sniderman-Berg purchase the sales-topping colt, a strapping son of world class stud Medaglia D'Oro for $155,000.
Sniderman-Berg, who has owned only a handful of horses in less than three years in the industry, bought the bay son of the stakes-placed and stakes-producing mare Words of Royalty (by Regal Classic) from the consignment of Gail Wood’s Woodlands, agent for William Scott of Calgary, Alberta.
“He was a little more expensive than we thought he would be but it’s very exciting,” said Sniderman-Berg, whose family owned the famed Sam The Record Man store in downtown Toronto.
Josie Carroll will train the Medaglia D’Oro colt, who is a half brother to champion Le Cinquieme Essai.
Colts ruled the sale as all five yearlings that brought six-figures were male.
The second-highest price of $100,000 was brought by a colt from the first crop of grade II stakes winner Strut the Stage (by Theatrical), who stands at Colebrook Farms in Uxbridge, Ontario.
The colt, sold by Richard Hogan, agent, is out of the mare Cherokee Treasure (by Cherokee Run) and was purchased by Toronto businessmen Rocco D’Alimonte and Frank Annecchini,
Also selling for $100,000 were two yearlings from the first crop of the graded stakes winning Danzig stallion Survivalist, who stands at Park Stud in Orangeville, Ontario.
One, a son of the mare Evanthia, by Cape Town, was sold by Hogan as agent for Kelynack Stable to trainer Brian Lynch, who signed as agent for Americans Ken and Sarah Ramsey. The other, sold by Park Stud’s Mike Byrne, was out of My Date (by Squan Lake) and was purchased by Roger Attfield.
The other $100,000 yearling colt was a son of Epsom Derby (Eng-I) winner North Light , sold by Sue Foreman as agent for Bear Stables.
The top priced filly was a $90,000 Hennessy – Noble Strike, by Smart Strike Gal sold by Hill ‘n’ Dale to Ciaran Dunne, who purchased the yearling as agent for Donver Stable.
The preferred session of the sale is on Sept. 12, beginning at 4 p.m.