F-T Officials See Positive Signs at Calder

Barns are busy at the Florida select sale of 2-year-olds in training.

Two days prior to the Fasig-Tipton Florida select sale of 2-year-olds in training, Fasig-TIpton's chairman, Walt Robertson, described the mood of the auction firm’s officials as “cautiously optimistic." But then, after thinking about it a little bit, he decided to change his comment a little bit.

“I’m not going to even use the word cautiously; I feel pretty good about things,” he said Feb. 28 at Calder Casino and Race Course in South Florida. “We’ve got some very nice horses, we had a good breeze show Friday (Feb. 26), and I think they’ll sell well. The buyers seem to  be liking them.”

Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning also had a positive outlook, but he said it would be unrealistic to expect a return to the record-setting prices the auction generated prior to the global financial meltdown in the fall of 2008.

“You’ve got to keep it in context,” he explained. “I’m not sure it will be as good statistically as some of the historic, record-setting years, but I think it will be a successful sale for our consignors overall. Things have gone very well so far. We’ve got a good group of horses here, and they performed well on the racetrack. The barns have been busy today, and they were busy yesterday. We have a pretty broad cross section of buyers, both American and international, and it also looks like there are people at various levels (of the market) shopping for horses.”

Buyers checking out the horses at Calder included representatives of Coolmore Stud, European trainer Brian Meehan, and Kentucky-based trainer John Ward.

During the sale’s under tack show, fillies posted the fastest works. Some people might see that as a bad omen because fillies generally bring lower prices than colts do. But Browning said there were plenty of outstanding colts for buyers to choose from and that shoppers wouldn’t overlook them even though their times weren’t as flashy as the females’ clockings.

“I have a really high level of confidence that the buyers will be able to evaluate the works and put them in perspective,” Browning said. “I think we have a bunch of very special colts. Many buyers want to buy the two-turn colts. They’re looking for horses that are going to be running a mile or a mile and a quarter. Those horses aren’t necessarily geared to have the fastest breeze at an eighth of a mile in late February of their 2-year-old year, and I think the buyers truly understand that.”

The auction begins at 11 a.m. (EST) March 2.