F-T Eastern Fall Sale: Poised for an Upswing?

It's looking good for the Maryland sale because many other sales also have improved.

Many recent yearling sales have shown improvement in their performances from a year ago and Fasig-Tipton officials are hoping the Midlantic Eastern fall auction also will experience an upswing.

The sale will be held Oct. 4-5 in Timonium, Md., with each session beginning at 10 a.m. (EDT).

“We’ve seen encouraging sales trends throughout the yearling sales of 2011 thus far and we would expect those to continue at our sale in Maryland,” said Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning. “I think we will find a similar – if not maybe even a little stronger demand – than we’ve seen at other sales. New York-breds have been in very high demand throughout 2011 and we’ve got a nice group of more than 120 in our auction. Very nice graduates continue to come out of  our sale and there seems to be a lot of interest in it, so we’re looking forward to it.”

There are 535 yearlings cataloged for the auction. The number is down 17.1% from last year's total of 635. The auction is held in an area of the country that is in close proximity to a number of racing states, many of which enjoy purse boosts from alternative gaming at racetracks. A video lottery terminal is scheduled to open at Aqeduct in New York later this year and revenue from that facility should increase the money available to runners in the Empire State significantly.

“The bright spot is clearly New York, but the Pennsylvania program is still good and Delaware’s program is still pretty good, although you hate to see days like today (Sept. 28) because of a lack of entries," Browning said. "New Jersey’s program is OK, and Maryland continues to seek a stronger racing product and a stronger racing calendar.”

The Eastern fall auction also attracts buyers from outside the region. California resident Samantha Siegel of Jay Em Ess Stable has been a major shopper there for many years. In 2010, she was the auction’s biggest spender, paying $572,000 for four yearlings. Her acquisitions included the $250,000 sale-topping After Market – Christmas Strike colt (named Market Strike).

“We’ll have a number of pinhookers from Florida there and we’ll see some Kentucky faces, too,” Browning said. “The yearlings in this sale have been given plenty of time to mature and this sale also has been a very good source of a lot of quality horses for many people.”

Among the auction’s graduates are 2011 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I)  winner Plum Pretty and Ask the Moon, who has captured the Personal Ensign Invitational Stakes (gr. I) and the Ruffian Handicap (gr. I) this year. Plum Pretty was a $75,000 buy-back at the 2009 edition of the Eastern fall auction and Ask the Moon brought $45,000 in 2006.

Last year, the 392 yearlings that were sold grossed $6,273,800 and averaged $16,005. The median price was $5,350. Compared to 2009, the number sold and gross grew 1.3% and 11.7%, respectively. The average increased 10.3% while the median declined 2.7%.

The buy-back rate was 30.1%, up from 27.1% the previous year.