Fasig-Tipton’s Texas sale of 2-year-olds in training, which is scheduled for March 30 beginning at 10 a.m. (CDT), has a stronger group of horses to offer, according to Tim Boyce, who oversees opertions in the Lone Star State for the Kentucky-based auction firm.
“I think we’ve got a much better catalog than we’ve had before,” he said. “I’m encouraged by the pedigrees and the individuals that have shown up here. An example of the strong pedigrees would be Hip No. 32, a Sky Mesa colt that is a half brother to a million-dollar earner (and grade II winner). We’re getting better sire power and better breeding all together coming out of Louisiana.”
Other reasons for a positive outlook are better economic news nationally and some signs of stabilization, and even improvement, at Thoroughbred auctions earlier this year.
“At least the economy isn’t in free fall anymore, and the stock market is pretty positive,” Boyce said. “The Southwest has been a little bit stronger than the rest of the country financially because oil and gas and those types of things have been carrying us, and the Southwest purse structure has been getting better. Purses are going up in Arkansas at the end of the meet (at Oaklawn Park), and Louisiana purses are very strong. In Texas, there’s some optimisim because of the sale of Lone Star Park to the Chickasaws, which is a change that could translate to better success.”
Lone Star is the site of the Fasig-Tipton Texas sale. The surface of its track was “tweaked a little bit,” according to Boyce, and the change might have contributed to faster times during the auction’s under tack show.
A Wildcat Heir – Always Freezing colt breezed an eighth of a mile in :9 4/5, and a Congrats – La Petite Justice filly covered a quarter mile in : 20 3/5. Last year the quickest times for the distances were :10 1/5 and :22.
The results for the 2009 edition of the auction included a gross of $2,477,000 for the 144 horses that sold. The average price was $17,201, and the median price was $9,650. The average was up less than 1% from the previous year, but the gross and median suffered downturns of 14.1% and 35.7%, respectively. The buy-back rate fell to 30.4% from 35.4% in 2008.