Saratoga Sale

Saratoga Sale

Skip Dickstein

Horsemen's Profits Fall at Saratoga Sale

Commercial breeders and pinhookers make less money than they did in 2011.

Commercial breeders and pinhookers found the going tougher at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale as prices and profits declined from a year ago Aug. 6-7 in New York. But based on some statistics, they fared better than they did in 2010 when the Thoroughbred marketplace still was reeling from the effects of America's Great Recession and the worldwide financial crisis.

Commercial breeders were in better shape financially going into the auction than they had been in 2010 because falling stud fees helped reduce their risk financially. To produce their sale horses, breeders paid an average fee of $55,042, which was down 5.1% from the average fee for the 2011 auction's stock. But the sale's average price tumbled 11.6% to $282,203, cutting down significantly on the money that breeders made.

Fifty-nine percent of the yearlings offered were profitable compared to 69% in 2011. The buy-back rate was 27% compared to 22%. And the price-to-stud fee ratio dropped to 4.87 from 5.23 last year.

However, 2012's results were better than 2010's statistics in two important areas. Two years ago, only 49% of the yearlings were profitable and the price-to-stud fee ratio was 3.19.

Pinhookers went into this year's Saratoga sale with a greater financial risk. They spent an average of $139,524 at public auction to purchase their stock as weanlings and short yearlings. The amount was up 13.8% from the average for the 2011 Saratoga auction's pinhooked horses.

Pinhookers sold their stock at Saratoga for an average yearling price of $236,429, which was down 16.1% from 2011's average for pinhooked horses. Fifty-six percent of the pinhooked yearlings offered were profitable compared to 78% last year. The rate of return on investment dropped to 54.3% from 108.2% in 2011.

The buy-back rate increased to 34% from 16%.

In 2010, 74% of the pinhooked horses were profitable, but the ROR was only 50.6%.