While the Thoroughbred market has been in a continual slump over the last year due to the downturn of the overall economy, the royally-bred young horses in the dispersal of the Young family's Overbrook Farm could boost business at this year’s Keeneland September yearling sale, which will begin Sept. 14 in Lexington.
The dispersal consists of 52 yearlings, 10 of which are by Overbrook's great pensioned stallion Storm Cat, that will be offered throughout the two-week sale. The consignment includes one yearling that Overbrook owns in partnership, as well as three Storm Cat yearlings resulting from foal share deals. Eaton Sales will handle most of the dispersal, with Lanes End, Four Star Sales, and Mill Ridge Sales also consigning one yearling each.
Overbrook Farm, founded and developed by the late William T. Young into one of North America’s most successful breeding establishments, announced in June that it will completely disperse its yearlings, breeding stock, and the majority of its horses in training beginning at Keeneland's yearling sale.
When asked about his top picks in the dispersal, Ric Waldman, Overbrook’s advisor and manager of stallion operations, named the following yearlings: Hip No. 58, a filly by Storm Cat--Wandesta, by Nashwan; Hip No. 223, a colt by Distorted Humor --Sanibel Island, by Capote; Hip No. 698, a colt by Mr. Greeley-- Harbor Springs, by Vice Regent; Hip No. 9, a colt by Storm Cat--Referendum, by Unbridled; and Hip No. 885, a filly by Elusive Quality--Summer Raven, by Summer Squall.
A detailed description of each of Waldman’s top candidates, as well as a few other Overbrook standouts, can be read here in Deirdre B. Biles' Hammer Time blog .
During the first week of September, Waldman said Overbrook had already received a considerable amount of interest in its yearlings, and that Coolmore Stud’s agent Demi O’Byrne had visited the farm to inspect several horses in person.
Waldman, who has handled Storm Cat’s portfolio for nearly 18 years, explained how this year’s yearling consignment will be bittersweet, as it marks the beginning of the farm’s dispersal before ceasing operations.
“We’ve spent years of accumulating top bloodstock, and then trying to perfect it and make it better,” Waldman said. “For the most part, even though we’ve sold yearlings occasionally from our families, very few of the yearlings from some of our families ever reached the marketplace."
From 2005-2008, Overbrook and Prince Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms worked out an arrangement where the latter farm bred several mares to Storm Cat, and then each operation went through a selection process with the resulting foals.
Three yearlings from the Overbrook/Juddmonte arrangement will be offered at the sale: the aforementioned filly by Storm Cat—Wandesta and a filly by Storm Cat—Fanzine, both consigned by Eaton; and a colt by Storm Cat—Gombeen, consigned by Mill Ridge Sales, agent.
Waldman said many more horses from the Juddmonte arrangement would be offered in Overbrook’s broodmare and racehorse dispersal consignment in Keeneland's November breeding stock sale.
"Typically, (foal sharing) will be with one farm that has such an unlimited supply of a top stallions, and then a high quality breeder that has a large number of mares, and if the goals of both the operations are similar, it’s easy to enter into these agreements,” said Waldman. “My guess is, (Juddmonte) was looking to race and own a top Storm Cat colt, but also it allowed them to get some Storm Cat blood into their broodmare band, as we were trying to get some Juddmonte mares into our broodmare band.”
|Overbrook Farm Slide Show|
Although selling yearlings from some of the storied families upon which Overbrook’s success was built will undoubtedly result in mixed emotions, Waldman hopes Overbrook’s final yearling consignment will also fuel some much needed shopping momentum at Keeneland.
“Dispersals create a feeding frenzy and excitement even in a market that’s projected to be a little bit sluggish,” he said. “So there’s no question this dispersal will do something to help stimulate the market.”
While his expetations are high, Waldman said it was difficult to predict the kinds of prices Overbrook’s yearlings will command; all he can do is hope for the best.
“It’s really tough to gauge what you think they’re going to bring,” he said. “We won’t be putting reserves on them, so they’ll bring what they bring, and we’ll just take what it is. I just don’t know what the market will be, so maybe that makes it easy for someone to not be disappointed when their expectations don’t even exist.”