The Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale will be first test in 2012 of the top of the market for yearlings. Here's what people had to say about their expectations and other thoughts about the auction, which is scheduled for Aug. 6 and 7 in New York:
Pat Costello, Paramount Sales: “I am excited. We have a lovely, lovely group of horses and I’m very optimistic. I think the sale is going to be strong. The (declining) foal crop numbers are definitely having an effect. The Fasig-Tipton July select yearling sale was good and strong, so the momentum will carry on. The purses are phenomenal here and the buyers have more confidence. There is a buzz around already.”
Marshall Silverman, consignor: “I feel pretty positive about this sale. There are an awful lot of nice horses here and hopefully the money will spread out. The foal crop (size) is down, so the supply and demand situation should help all sales this year.”
Adrian Regan, Hunter Valley Farm: “We’re very hopeful with all the buzz that is around here at the moment because of the racing and the (increased) prize money. It’s a great atmosphere. There also seems to be some nice horses around here.”
Francis Vanlangendonck, Summerfield: “I think it’s going to be fine. When we showed the first day, we had all the right people looking already. All the players who spend of plenty of money are here and it looks like they are shopping a little more aggressively than they have in the past. Rather than just having a conversation, they’re actually looking at the horses and writing things down. They’re writing down the numbers of the horses they like and scratching off the ones they don’t like. They’re more comfortable with the economy in general and the prices of horses aren’t dropping anymore. The auction business has leveled off. They’re not afraid they’re going to buy a horse for ‘X’ amount of dollars this year and it will be worth half that six months from now.”
Tom VanMeter, VanMeter Sales: “I feel good. I’m an optimistic guy. I think it can be a really strong sale. There are good horses here and the right buyers are here or are coming. There is one particular buyer that we’re all aiming for. That’s why there are 13 Bernardinis in this sale.”
Headley Bell, Mill Ridge Sales: “I feel as good as you should feel coming into this sale. It’s Saratoga and Saratoga is a special place that just has an energy about it unlike other places. People come here to have fun and to enjoy the horses and the horse business. We bring a few horses up here that fit in this market and I really like the horses we brought up. I think they fit in very well and so we’re hopeful.”
Elliott Walden, WinStar Farm: “I think it’s a good group of horses from what I’ve seen so far. You have a lot of the top sires here and there are some very nice physicals. The other thing that might be a little different from years past is you have some horses that are really nice horses that are not by Darley stallions. The mentality of breeders has been to bring a horse up here that they (Sheikh Mohammed and his associates) would bid on. There are nice horses by their stallions here, but there seems to be a little more variety.”
Matt Lyons, Woodford Thoroughbreds: “I feel like we bought up an excellent group of horses. We only started showing this morning (Aug. 4) and (we’ve been so busy that) the horses haven’t made it back to their stalls yet. We’re excited. We’ve always brought some good horses up here and done well, so we’re hoping for the same thing to happen this year. You’ve got to bring up hot sires, you’ve got to bring up big families, and you’ve got to bring up your best individuals (to be successful).”
Guinness McFadden, Three Chimneys Sales: “You’ve got to bring a top-notch physical (specimen) with clean X-rays and a good pedigree. You really want to bring something that has foundation mare potential or stallion potential to shine up here all the more. Unless something is a collector’s item, you’re not going to get people fighting a lot over it.”
Craig Bandoroff, Denali Stud: “I’m optimistic. I think good horses are going to do well. People are here, and people are looking. They’re the same old people, but Ieverybody is pretty positive. The (increased) purses here (in New York) are making a difference. I’ve talked to a couple of trainers that say they have people who want to buy horses. If you take someone like Rick Porter, Charlotte Weber, or Jack Wolf, it just gives them a better reason to want to buy.”
Reiley McDonald, Eaton Sales: “I think it’s going to be very much like last year and like Saratoga is every year. Fifty percent sell or sell well and 50% don’t sell or just fall through the cracks. If you don’t bring the physical horse, it falls through the cracks. As of today (Aug. 4), we’re showing the daylights out of them. But I think the market is very, very particular right now. People have limited orders and limited amounts to spend. It was that way in July (at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky select yearling sale). With the exception of three or four individual buyers here, everyone will have limits.”
Wayne Sweezey, Sweezey & Partners: “I think the results of this sale reflect heavily on how much Sheikh Mohammed participates, so obviously we hope he supports the sale again. That would be great for everybody. As long as he is here supporting the sale, that props up the sale enough and we’ll have a decent sale. I’m anticipating the good horses will sell well and we’ll all walk out of here relatively happy.
“There have been plenty of people coming through that I see at all the other sales, but I wouldn’t say that I’ve seen any new faces. I think the quality is good. We brought nice horses up here and I see some high quality horses around us (in other consignments). I think Fasig-Tipton does a tremendous job with this sale pulling together some really top-end horses.”
Bill Farish, Lane’s End: “It was a good sale last year and it’s going to build a little bit on that. We’ve seen the yearling market bottom out and the numbers (statistics) were up at the (Fasig-Tipton Kentucky) July sale. We should see that here, too.”
Bruce Hill, Live Oak Stud: “It’s a good solid sale. It’s no different than most of them. I don’t think it’s anything above average, but average here is very good. There are plenty of good horses. There are some horses that we think are must haves and we would like to have them.
“We’ve had two or three sales where we came here and just said, ‘It’s one of the best sales we’ve ever seen.’ That’s happened about twice to me in the last 30 years. This is not one of those sales where you say, ‘Gosh, I don’t know where to start or stop, but there’s more good horses here than we’ve got money. I’m satisfied with that.
“We just wade in and we know where our limits are and where we’re comfortable, and we don’t begrudge him (Sheikh Mohammed) at all. If he beats us, he beats us. Ms. (Charlotte) Weber (Live Oak's owner) has been very good to know that that’s all relative and some people view her no different than we might view him. She’s OK with that and she doesn’t get angry at him. When we get beat, we just get beat. We go to the next sale.”
Jody Huckabay, Elm Tree Farm: “There are some nice horses here. There always are. I haven’t looked at many colts. I’m looking at fillies.”
Andrew Cary, Select Sales: “I’m excited. This is our first time up here as a consignor. I think it’s going to be exactly like it has been the last couple of years with the smaller (boutique) sales. There’s plenty of demand for the athletes that fit what people want. We tried to bring only horses that fit here. We only brought three. They’ve got sire power and pedigree, and they’re precocious athletes with good walks. They’re also correct. If you give the buyers what they want there is plenty of demand.
“We started showing Friday (Aug. 3) and there has been a good, steady flow of traffic. I think it’s going to be a lot like last year and hopefully even a bit better with (higher New York) purses and all the other developments that have been going on. If you’ve got the horse and it ticks all the boxes, there’s going to be a lot of competition.”
Patrice Miller, EQB: “It’s a very carefully selected sale with some exceptional individuals and a lot of really good individuals. A few are really, really exceptional. It’s the toughest sale ever to get anything bought at. I’m kind of little nervous about looking at any of the Darley sires because they are over-supported. It’s hard. I have a little shell-shock from the last couple of years, but I’ll be trying.”