Revenues from a video-lottery-terminal casino at Aqueduct have raised purses in New York and boosted breeders' incentives. But there also is concern about the future of the Sport of Kings in the Empire State because of the New York Racing Association's problems with the government.
However, according to Fasig-Tipton's vice president of sales, Bayne Welker, the good should outweigh the bad for the company's new Saratoga fall mixed and horses of racing age sale in upstate New York. The auction is scheduled for Oct. 9 and will begin at 11 a.m. (EDT).
"I'm certainly optimistic going into this," Welker said. "I think the level of participation of people wanting to get into the New York program is very strong at the moment even with the uncertain climate of what is going on with NYRA. The money is good and there is a good breeding program, and I don't think New York racing is going away. It's always been turbulent there as far as racing is concerned and the breeders have come to expect it."
Fasig-Tipton cataloged 254 horses for the auction. Consignors include McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds, Sequel Stallions New York, and Harry L. Landry Bloodstock.
"We're very pleased with the catalog we have been able to put together; 254 horses is pretty much capacity (for the Fasig-Tipton facility) there," Welker said. "Our expectations truly were surpassed by the number of horses we got for the sale."
Trainers Tom Albertrani and Kiaran McLauglin, entered more than 20 racing/broodmare prospects and horses of racing age.
"The New York operations will be able to some sell horses and not have to train them for another two months before putting them on a van (to go to Florida for winter racing or to farms to rest)," Welker said. "It gives the buyers on the East Coast who might be running horses at lesser venues the opportunity to buy some promising runners that don't have to miss too much in the way of training (because they have been stabled nearby)."