Bayne Welker, Fasig-Tipton's vice president of sales

Bayne Welker, Fasig-Tipton's vice president of sales

Anne M. Eberhardt

Could Aqueduct Casino News Boost N.Y. Sale?

Confidence booster to industry might shore up yearling prices.

Could the recent good news for the New York racing industry provide a boost to the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling auction? Bayne Welker, Fasig-Tipton’s vice president of sales, hopes so.

Earlier this month, the New York Lottery Division recommended Genting New York, a Malaysian-based casino group, to run the much-delayed Aqueduct video lottery terminal casino project. Final approval will require clearing more hurdles, but New York Gov. David Paterson has said he would go along with the lottery agency’s selection.

“It certainly was something in a positive direction for New York-breds and the state of New York as a whole in regard to its racing,” Welker said. “There has been a lot of trepidation throughout the racing community and throughout the breeding community up here as the year’s gone on with all that’s happened -- the ups and downs in Albany and with NYRA (New York Racing Association). This provides a little more confidence.”

There are 175 horses cataloged for the auction. The number is down from last year’s total of 235. The sale will be held Aug. 7 and 8 in Saratoga Springs. Each session will start at 7 p.m. EDT.

“We hope the sale's results will come close to mirroring last year's,” Welker said. “We all know that we are in times equally as tough (as they were in 2009). What we saw here (during the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select auction) is that quality is still going to sell well. But there won’t be much demand for what the market defines to be marginal or below.”

Stallions with offspring in the catalog include Afleet Alex , Any Given Saturday, Bluegrass Cat , Corinthian, El Prado, First Samurai , Malibu Moon , Roman Ruler, and Tapit .

“The pinhookers who were up here for our select sale appear to be staying over and probably a few more will come in,” Welker said. “That’s always helpful because you need that segment of the market to keep the sale vital. We also hope to be able to go across the street (to Saratoga Race Course) and get the trainers over here. We had people stop at Finger Lakes while they were on their way here, and last year that was productive because a couple of guys from there came here. We just hope there is enough optimism in New York racing to make this a strong sale.”

In 2009, the 107 yearlings that sold grossed $4,353,500 and averaged $40,687. The median price was $27,000. Compared to the previous year, the gross declined 20% while the average fell 25.2%. The median was down 40%.

The buy-back rate fell to 46% from 47.4% in 2008.