The Thoroughbred market’s dismal downward trend this year continued during the opening session of the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern fall yearling sale Oct. 5 in Maryland. The gross revenue suffered a moderate 9.5% loss from 2008, but the median price plummeted 35% while the average price fell 19.4%.
Even though the setbacks made it difficult for consignors to make a profit or to even recover the costs of stud fees, they showed an increasing willingness to accept what the market would bear. The buy-back/no bid rate dropped from 35.2% last year to 28.1% this year.
“It’s been tough to find a buyer in that lower range because people don’t want inexpensive horses,” said Francis Vanlangendonck of the Florida-based Summerfield sales agency. “But when a good horse walks through there, it’s selling, and it’s bringing about 30% less than it would have two years ago. The one thing about the market is that it’s becoming consistent. You can predict pretty well what’s going to happen, and we’re getting horses sold.”
The 192 yearlings that sold grossed $2,518,100 and averaged $13,115. The median was $6,500. In 2008’s corresponding session, 171 horses were sold for a gross of $2,783,400. The average was $16,277, and the median was $10,000.
Pennsylvania-based Marshall Silverman sent 17 yearlings from his consignment through the sale ring and bought back only one.
“I don’t think people are necessarily happy with the prices they got for their horses, but they got them sold,” he said. “We had reserves on some, but we were very reasonable with them. I tell you what, some people have bought some really nice horses today for not a lot of money. I sold a couple of really nice fillies that should have brought twice what they did. They were vetted, and they scoped well; they were good-walking horses, and they were pretty horses. But you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”
A handsome Malibu Moon colt was the only yearling to command a six-figure price. Dell Ennis of Virginia paid $117,000 for the bay yearling, but refused to talk about his purchase to reporters. “No comment,” he said after signing the sale ticket.
Consigned by Kentucky-based Paramount Sales, as agent, the colt is the second foal out of the 7-year-old Deputy Commander mare Two Chimneys, who failed to win in nine career races. She is a half-sister to Spinning Round (by Dixieland Band), who captured the 1993 Ballerina Stakes (gr. I) and three other graded events. Spinning Round is the dam of grade I winner Dream Supreme (by Seeking the Gold), who produced grade I winner Majestic Warrior (by A.P. Indy).
Dr. William Hovis and Taylor Brothers Properties bred the colt in Pennsylvania. He was a $19,000 buy-back as part of the Taylor Made Sales Agency consignment at the 2008 Keeneland November breeding stock sale. According to Paramount’s Gabriel Duignan, Kentucky-based horseman Ted Campion purchased the colt privately after he didn't sell as a weanling.
“He was always earmarked for this sale because he was a Pennsylvania-bred, and (his sire) Malibu Moon was a hero up here,” Duignan said. “He’s a very nice horse, and he’s been quite popular. I thought he had one of the better (catalog) pages in the sale. I’m very happy with how he sold, but I thought the man bought a very good horse at that price.”
The second and final session of the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic auction is scheduled for Oct. 6. Selling begins at 10 a.m. (EDT).