The Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern fall yearling sale, which will be held Oct. 1 in Timonium, Md., is in a prime location, especially this season. Revenue from alternative gaming is raising purses and increasing the value of other rewards for horsemen in that area of the country.
"We’re in a perfect locale for all the different state-bred programs where bigger things are happening, and we hope the people from those different programs will come and shop here," said Paget Bennett, Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic sales director.
An advertising insert in the Midlantic auction’s catalog provides information about new owner and breeder bonuses that are available to horsemen with Maryland-bred runners. For example, the owner of the winner of a $38,000 maiden-special-weight race could collect nearly $33,000 when bonuses are included, according to the insert.
Maryland racing is receiving a portion of revenues from video lottery terminals operating at several facilites in the state that aren't located at tracks.
"The New York program still has everybody excited, Pennsylvania is doing well, and then there’s West Virginia," said Bennett of other nearby states enjoying money from slots.
The sale’s catalog has 375 horses. That number is down 29.9% from last year’s total of 535, and the drop isn’t a surprise considering the nationwide decline in the size of the Thoroughbred foal crop. But according to Bennett, breeders and sellers also are being more selective about the horses they send to the auction.
"Consignors obviously don’t want to have their clients bringing horses here and not getting a good result or not getting them sold," she said. "I also think a lot of people who are still breeding those (non-commerical) horses are trying to get them into trainers’ hands to get the breeders’ awards versus trying to sell them because it doesn’t work out for them (commercially). We don’t need the numbers here as much as we need the right horses that are going to appeal to the buyers. With the supply being smaller, the demand should get a little stronger because we do have some nice horses."
Last year, when the sale was two days long, 332 yearlings were sold for a gross of $6,149,600. The average price was $18,523 and the median price was $9,250. Compared to 2010, the number sold dropped 15.3%, but the gross declined only 2%. The average and median increased 15.7% and 72.9%, respectively.
The buy-back rate fell to 26.2% from 30.1% the previous year.
So Many Ways, a 2011 graduate of the Eastern fall sale, captured the Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course Sept. 2. She also won the Schuylerville Stakes (gr. II) at the same track in July and is undefeated in three outings for trainer Tony Dutrow.
Marshall Silverman, agent for Pennland Farm, consigned So Many Ways to the auction. James Schenck, agent, purchased the bay filly for $22,000. Maggi Moss races the daughter of Sightseeing.
"That’s a great thing to have going for us," said Bennett of So Many Ways’ success. "There also are a lot of horses (pictured) on our catalog (cover) that people are familiar with,"
Those runners, which are earlier graduates of the auction, include grade I winner Plum Pretty and grade II winner Redeemed.
This year’s sale will start at 10 a.m. EDT.