On the heels of a healthy selected yearlings sale earlier this week, optimism is high on the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga grounds as attention shifts to New York-breds for this weekend's preferred yearling sale Aug. 9-10.
New York-breds brought high prices from prominent buyers in the open sale, with Stonestreet Farms, George Bolton, and Darley bloodstock agent John Ferguson all signing tickets.
Meg Levy's Bluewater Sales earlier consigned hip 130, a $700,000 Awesome Again colt out of the Lord At War mare Zambezi Belle purchased by Stonestreet and Bolton. The colt was bred by Camelia Casby. With eight horses consigned by Bluewater in the sale this weekend, Levy expects the strong market to continue.
"This is a great example of a program that is working both commercially and on the racing side," said Levy. "Over the last couple of years, this sale has become extremely competitive and you can see that the numbers have expanded."
The 316 horses consigned represent an increase over the number cataloged last year, which has the potential, said New York Thoroughbred Breeders' executive director Jeffrey Cannizzo, to be both good news and bad news.
"That's the million-dollar question," he said. "Will having a bigger book cause the average to dip a little bit from last year? Sure."
But, he pointed out, it's possible that a lot more horses will be sold.
"The catalog is very, very strong from a pedigree standpoint," he said. "Our gross and what horses sell for based on their pedigrees could increase."
"There's a product walking around here that anyone would be proud to look at it," said Bill Graves, Fasig-Tipton's vice president of recruiting and selections. "And being a New York-bred is a bonus these days."
Craig Bandoroff's Denali Stud is offering 29 horses at the sale, including a full brother to New York-bred millionaire Naughty New Yorker (Quiet American—Naughty Natisha).
"It would be hard to believe this sale wouldn't be good," said Bandoroff, pointing out that some maiden special weight races in New York offer $98,000 purses, a result of video lottery terminal revenue from the Resorts World Casino New York at Aqueduct. "We all know purses create demand, and there's a lot of demand.
"And the quality of horses is getting a lot of better," he added. "You look at those New York-bred fields and there are a lot of well-bred horses by Kentucky stallions."
As a result, said Graves, the same people who bought horses earlier this week may well be back this weekend.
"I think you'll see an awful lot of the same people," he said. "I think you'll also see people that buy horses to re-sell."
Levy pointed out that the purse structure in New York also makes New York-breds attractive to partnerships.
"People can get in at a reasonable entry level and expect to have a racing stable that pays the bills," she said.
A strong market, a desirable catalog, and a racing program that supports the state's breeding industry all augur well for positive results, said Cannizzo, .
"I'm expecting lot of good things to come out of this sale," he said.