The weekend before the Sept. 14 start of the Keeneland September yearling sale in Lexington, the auction's participants were worrying about the market and trying to guess how much it would be down from 2008. But some consignors were pleasantly surprised by how many people were looking at their horses. Here is what some of them had to say.
Consignors at the Keeneland September yearling sale were bracing themselves for one of the most daunting auction challenges of 2009: Finding new homes for thousands of young horses at a time when the weak economy is causing buyer demand for Thoroughbreds to shrink. Buyers, meanwhile, were excited about the prospect of bargains.
For Gerry Dilger of Dromoland Farm in Central Kentucky, the timing could not have been better. A little more than a week prior to the start of the Keeneland September yearling auction, two juvenile graduates of his breeding and selling program -Hot Dixie Chick and Dublin- scored victories in grade I races at Saratoga.
A son of Cahill Road brought the highest price of $60,000 during the Washington Thoroughbred Breeders Association (WTBA) summer yearling sale Sept. 8 at the Morris J. Alhadeff Sale Pavilion at Emerald Downs. Jill and Dave Heerensperger purchased the bay colt, which is a full brother to The Great Face, winner of the 2007 Longacres Mile (gr. III) and Mt. Rainier Handicaps at Emerald Downs.
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 Ontario division of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society (CTHS) has 464 horses cataloged for its Canadian-bred yearling auction. The select session is scheduled for Sept. 8 and the open session for Sept. 12 at the Woodbine Sales Pavilion at Woodbine racetrack near Toronto.
The 43rd annual Washington Thoroughbred Breeders Association's summer yearling auction will be held Sept. 8, beginning at 1 p.m. (PDT) at the Morris Alhadeff Sales Pavilion at Emerald Downs. There are 179 horses in the catalog and in addition to yearlings with Washington pedigrees, they include offerings from Kentucky, California, Oregon, and Canada.
Fasig-Tipton has cataloged 670 horses for its Midlantic Eastern fall yearling sale, which will be held in Timonium, Md., Oct. 5 and 6. The number is down 28% from 2008, when 930 horses were in the book and the auction was three days in length.
Reduced to a one-day sale, the Fasig-Tipton Texas summer yearling auction posted a gross that was down significantly Aug. 31 at Lone Star Park. Under last year's two-day format, 443 horses were cataloged, but only 319 were offered this year, contributing to a 43.9% decline in the gross, from $3,369,700 to $1,889,400. The buy-back rate rose from 36.6% in 2008 to 42%, with only 185 head selling. While the median increased to $5,000 from $4,500, the average dipped from $11,992 to $10,213, a 14.8% decline.
The Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. yearling sale, like many other auctions before it in 2009, couldn't overcome the weak economy and ended up posting results that were down signficantly from 2008.
According to an old saying, "Everything is bigger in Texas," but Fasig-Tipton's yearling sale in the Lone Star State has gotten smaller. And that could be a positive development.
The price for an individual horse peaked at $45,000 on the third day of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. yearling sale, with three lots each bringing that amount Aug. 26 in Central Florida. They were a Stormy Atlantic--La Defense colt, a Put It Back--Lovely Lyric colt, and a Pomeroy--Misty Springs filly.
A Dansili colt commanded the sale-topping price of Â£200,000 ($327,740 in U.S. funds) as the Doncaster Bloodstock Sales St. Leger yearling auction ended Aug. 26 with downturns of more than 20% in its gross revenue, average price, and median price.
A filly by the hot first-crop sire Wildcat Heir was the most expensive horse sold on the second day of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s slumping yearling auction, bringing $100,000 Aug. 25 in Central Florida. Repole Stable purchased the New York-bred chestnut from Bryan and Holley Rice's Woodside Ranch, agent.
A Royal Applause colt topped the opening session of Doncaster Bloodstock Sales' St. Leger yearling auction bringing Ã‚Â£120,000 ($197,765 in U.S. funds) Aug. 25 in England. BBA Ireland's Eamon Reilly purchased the bay yearling for Mark Gittins, outlasting Richard O'Gorman in the bidding.
The Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s August yearling sale broke slowly from the starting gate Aug. 24 in Central Florida, suffering downturns of more than 30% from 2008 in its gross revenue, average price, and median price. But a powerful-looking Medaglia d'Oro filly topped the select session by attracting a $275,000 final bid from Charlotte Weber's Live Oak Plantation that surpassed last year's peak price for an individual horse of $200,000.
With the weak economy continuing to have a negative impact on all sorts of businesses, Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. executive Tom Ventura has modest expectations for the auction firm's August yearling sale in Central Florida.
International Equine Acquisitions Holdings (IEAH), through agent Nick Sallusto, was the biggest-spending domestic buyer at the recent Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling auction in New York, paying $2,150,000 for six yearlings. All the horses could be offered next year at sales of 2-year-olds in training, according to IEAH president and director Michael Iavarone.
Arqana's Deauville August yearling sale finished its four-day run with a 3.4% increase in its average price and a 7.1% upswing in its median price from 2008. The gross revenue fell 1.5% while the clearance rate declined from 76.8% last year to 74.7%.
The California Cup yearling sale has 282 yearlings in its catalog. The auction, which is a joint venture between Barretts and the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association, will be held Oct. 5 in the Hinds Pavlion at Barretts, which is located at Fairplex Park in Southern California. The sale will start at 11 a.m. (PDT).
A Medaglia d'Oro colt brought the sale-topping price of $275,000 as the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling auction ended its two-night run Aug. 16 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y, well behind last year's record-setting pace. Trainer Seth Benzel, agent for Whitehall Stable, purchased the bay yearling. James Pippo is the president of Whitehall, which puts together racing partnerships.
A Peintre Celebre–Hayhaat colt brought the highest price of 205,000 euros ($291,264 in U.S. funds) Aug. 16 on the third day of Arqana's Deauville yearling sale in France. Agence FIPS purchased the colt from Neustrian Associates.
The Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale got off to a rocky start Aug. 15 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. The gross revenue dropped 41.7% from a year ago while the average and median prices both plunged 47.1%. The buy-back rate was 54.3% compared to 52.5% in 2008.
A Pivotal filly topped the second session of Arqana's Deauville August yearling sale, bringing 300,000 euros ($427,722) Aug. 15 in France. Sheikh Mohammed's bloodstock manager, John Ferguson, purchased the filly from Capucines.
Fasig-Tipton reversed the negative business trends seen at Thoroughbred auctions this year at its recent Saratoga select yearling sale, where the gross revenue, average price, and median price all enjoyed significant upswings from 2008. The second and final auction on the company's upstate New York calendar is the New York-bred preferred yearling auction, which will be held Aug. 15 and 16. Each session will start at 7 p.m. (EDT).
Sheikh Mohammed's bloodstock manager, John Ferugson, who was the biggest spender at the recent Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling auction, was busy again Aug. 14 during the opening session of the Arqana's Deauville August yearling sale in France. He bought the session-topping Storm Cat colt for 900,000 Euros ($1,282,860 in U.S. funds) from Etreham.
The Oklahoma City yearling sale, scheduled for Aug. 24 in Oklahoma, has 113 horses in its catalog, including a close relative to the $2.8-million Storm Cat – Onaga colt that topped the recent Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling auction. The yearling, by Storm Cat's grandson Lion Heart, is out of a full sister to Onaga, according to the auction's sales manager, Terri Carter.
"I've never seen anything like this," said Holly Bandoroff of Denali Stud of a bizarre incident that involved a well-bred dark bay or brown filly, a bald man in a plaid shirt, at least three Fasig-Tipton officials, and several policemen during the second and final session of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale in New York Aug. 11.
Boosted by the Sheikh Mohammed stimulus package, the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale got off to a sizzling start Aug. 10 in New York at a time when the struggling economy is causing prices to fall at other Thoroughbred auctions. The gross revenue for the 76 horses that sold was $25,470,000, which was a whopping 40.3% increase from the opening session a year ago. The average price grew 10.7% to $335,132, and the median price increased 6.4% to $250,000.
A muscular bay son of first-crop sire and champion Bernardini became the first horse to command seven figures Aug. 10 during the opening session of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling auction, bringing $1.2 million from Sheikh Mohammed.
Sheikh Mohammed, the world's biggest Thoroughbred auction spender, inspected yearlings consigned to the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale the morning of Aug. 10, just hours before the 6 p.m. (EDT) start of the New York auction. As a light rain fell, the ruler of Dubai looked at some horses while standing under the cover of the new walking ring. He previously had visited the Fasig-Tipton sale grounds early in the evening on Aug. 9.
Buyers and consignors were upbeat as they prepared for the Aug. 10 start of the two-night Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale in New York.
Here is a list of horses that buyers and consignors believed could bring high prices during the second session of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale Aug. 11 in New York.
Here is a list of horses that consignors and buyers thought had the potential to bring high prices during the first session of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling auction in New York Aug. 10.
Read what buyers and consignors had to say Aug. 9, the day before the start of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale in New York.
The unemployment rate is down; more homes are being sold; the stock market is on the upswing; and some companies that were hit hard by a plunging economy are starting to make money again. With the recession showing signs of easing, is a rebound in the Thoroughbred marketplace on the horizon?
The Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale will have a touch of the exotic this year with a colt by Encosta de Lago among its offerings. Encosta de Lago was the leading sire in Australia for 2008/2009, and his offspring generate bidding frenzies when they're sold Down Under. But will buyers at Saratoga be interested when they have a chance to buy one of the stallion's sons Aug. 11, during the second session of the New York auction?
The catalog for Book 1 of the Tattersalls October yearling sale in England is available online and can be viewed at www.tattersalls.com. The sale will be held Oct. 6-9, and there are 676 horses in the catalog.
Sam-Son Farm, one of Canada's most successful Thoroughbred breeding and racing operations, will have a consignment at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling auction, Aug. 10 and 11, in New York. The five horses cataloged include an A.P. Indy colt that is a full brother to Canadian champion Catch the Thrill and a Giant's Causeway filly that is from the family of Eclipse Award winner and Canadian Horse of the Year and Triple Crown winner Dance Smartly.
The number of horses cataloged to the 2009 Keeneland September yearling sale fell 6.6%, from an all-time high of 5,555 for the auction last year to 5,189. According to Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland's director of the sales, the weakening of the Thoroughbred market in general -- because of problems within the horse industry and economic difficulties around the world -- was an important factor in the decline.
Fasig-Tipton and the New York Racing Association are teaming to award a $100,000 "Juvenile Jackpot" to the first graduate of the 2009 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale that wins a graded stakes during the 2010 Saratoga meeting in New York. Should no juvenile qualify for the prize in 2010, the award will double to $200,000 for Fasig-Tipton yearlings purchased that year that run at Saratoga in 2011.
Fasig-Tipton's Texas division has cataloged 370 horses for its yearling sale. The number is down 26.9% from last year's total of 506, and the auction's length has been reduced from two days to one. The sale is scheduled for Aug. 31 at Lone Star Park, beginning at 10 a.m. (CDT).
The Fasig-Tipton July select yearling sale, held July 20-21 in Lexington, ended with significant setbacks in gross revenue, average price, and median price, but managed to lower its buy-back rate from a year ago slighty. Read what sale company officials and sale participants had to say about the market.
"You can call it a midlife crisis or whatever you want, but it's the best thing I've ever done," said pinhooker Murray Smith of her move earlier this year to Southern California from the Ocala area in Central Florida.
Fasig-Tipton's July select yearling sale ended with a bang instead of a whimper in Lexington, getting a boost from the progeny of the hot stallion Medaglia d'Oro. Even though the key business figures were down from the previous year, the final day produced the auction's highest price and results that were stronger than the opening day's statistics.
The only yearling in the world by the illÃ¢â‚¬"fated European champion George Washington is scheduled to be offered in Book 1 of the Tattersalls October yearling sale Oct. 6-8 in England.
The Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. has cataloged 1,151 yearlings for its August yearling sale. The number is down 14.2% from last year, when 1,342 horses were in the book.
Blood-Horse bloodstock sales editor Deirdre Biles recaps the first day of the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July Select Yearling sale
The declines were in line with expectations during the opening session of the Fasig-Tipton July select yearling sale. Buyers and consignors had predicted the market would be down significantly, and there were no surprises July 20 in Lexington.
Even though the stock market has been enjoying a recent rally, buyers and sellers of young horses aren't expecting a similar rebound in yearling prices. Heading into the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July select auction, which kicks off the 2009 yearling selling season, some people were predicting further downturns of 30% or more in key business figures, mainly because the health of the overall economy, here and abroad, remains weak.
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