Prices dropped during the opening session of the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern fall yearling sale Oct. 5 in Maryland, following a trend that has been seen at nearly every Thoroughbred auction this year. But there were still a lot of smiling faces as buyers and consignors praised the newly renovated sale pavilion at the State Fairgrounds in Timonium.
The changes to the interior of the facility, which was functional but drab, were dramatic.
“It’s a vast improvement, and to be honest, it changes the entire atmosphere in this place,” said Florida pinhooker Nick de Meric. “You always felt like you were at a cattle auction before, and now we feel like we’re at a Thoroughbred sale. It’s wonderful.”
Warm tones of brown have replaced the concrete block walls’ dingy yellow color scheme, and the once bare concrete floors are covered by carpet and tiles.
“It’s certainly just what we needed, and it’s long overdue,” said consignor Bill Reightler. “We really appreciate it. It’s a lot more user friendly, and my hat’s off to Fasig-Tipton for doing it.”
Other improvements include theater-style seating, video screens that display the bids, remodeled bathrooms and offices, an area where races can be viewed on televisions, and a redesigned snack bar and bar area.
“It’s nice,” said seller Marshall Silverman. “When people go in, they feel better. The seats are comfortable, and it’s cleaner looking.”
Virginia horsewoman Susie Hart described the pavilion’s new look as “so appealing and accommodating.” But, she added, “Unfortunately the economy is keeping the horses from selling very well.”
In recent years, Fasig-Tipton has remodeled its Kentucky sale pavilion and begun an extensive renovation project at its sale grounds in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. The first phase of the Saratoga project was completed this past summer. Fasig-Tipton also is building a new office building in Kentucky.