Struggles Continue for Canadian Yearling Sale

Open session Sept. 7 continues downward trend amidst continuing worries about future.

One year after a massive 50% drop in average price, the Sept. 7 open session of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society's sale of Canadian-bred yearlings at Woodbine took another hit.

A total of 75 yearlings were sold for $339,100, down from $490,300 for 100 yearlings sold in 2012. The average of $4,521 declined from $4,903 last year. There were 42 yearling listed as not sold, up slightly from 38 in 2012.

The open session followed the Sept. 3 selected session which also experienced declines across the board for the second year in a row.

Uncertainty for the future of horse racing in Ontario, due to the cancellation of the slots-at-racetracks program by the provincial government and Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, continues to plague the industry. There has yet to be any announcement from the Ontario government under Premier Kathleen Wynne of a financial plan in place for horse racing in Ontario beyond this year.

Meanwhile, the Thoroughbred meeting at Woodbine in 2013 has been healthy, with similar purses to last year, large fields and wagering totals consistent to last year.

The Ontario-sired program has been very lucrative to local horsemen and the top three prices from the open session were all from yearlings by Ontario sires.

A bay colt from the first crop of Queen's Plate winner Not Bourbon , who stands at Norse Ridge Farm in King City, ON, topped the session at $32,000, bid by Frank DiGiulio Jr. The yearling, the third foal of the winning Northern Afleet  mare Fleet Kris, was bred by Frank Mermenstein in Ontario and was sold by Gail Wood's Woodlands, agent.

DiGiulio, a longtime owner in Ontario and currently ninth on the owner's standings at Woodbine, also figured in the top-priced filly and second highest price of the sale. Along with his longtime trainer Robert Tiller, DiGiulio paid $26,000 for a daughter of Rebellion from the Broken Vow  mare Promise Ring.

Named D Forty Four, the filly was sold by Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency and bred by Barry and Helen Irving. The Irvings had purchased Promise Ring for $800 in foal to Alumni Hall at the 2009 CTHS mixed sale.

The third highest priced yearling was a $25,000 filly by Peaks and Valleys out of stakes placed D'wild Lady by D'wildcat. She was bred and sold by Bonnie Rowntree's Willow Ridge Farm Thoroughbreds. The buyer was Pam Edel, agent for CEC Farm.