Launching a new business venture in the midst of a global financial crisis would be a daunting task for most people, but the connections of several new consignments at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky select yearling auction seemed eager to take on the challenge the weekend before the sale’s July 20 start.
“We’re real excited,” said Terry Arnold, who manages Bill Shively’s Dixiana operation, which had six horses cataloged. “I think it’s something that Mr. Shively has wanted do for a while. He’s real proud of the horses that we raise, and he wants us to represent them out here. He’s one of those guys who if we sell something and it goes on and runs well, he’ll be just as proud of it as he is of the horses we raise ourselves.”
Shively, a successful insurance executive, bought Dixiana Farm near Lexington five years ago and purchased nearby Woodlyn Farm two years later. He recently bought another nursery, neighboring Domino Stud, and now owns 1,050 acres of Central Kentucky farm property and has a 118-member broodmare band.
“David Ingordo does the majority of our matings and our bloodstock work,” Arnold said. “Mr. Shively’s main thing is that he wants to raise horses that stay sound and have a lot of starts. Especially with young mares, we breed to proven stallions and we put a lot of thought into the race records in our matings.”
Dixiana has 30 horses entered in the Keeneland September yearling sale, according to Arnold.
“Mr. Shively isn’t too worried that the market is pretty volatile,” Arnold said. “It’s definitely a long-term deal for him, and he’s prepared to ride the waves.”
Carrie Brogden, Andrew Cary, and Tom Ryan are the principals in Select Sales, which was launched earlier this year. Brogden operates Machmer Hall, a farm near Paris, Ky., in partnership with her husband, Craig, and her mother, Sandy Willwerth.
Cary is the vice president of Thoroughbred Futures, a racing partnership venture. He formerly was the sales director at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms, and he also served as the assistant director of public sales for Taylor Made Sales Agency.
Ryan is the founder of Cherokee Equine International, a bloodstock agency. He formerly worked for Coolmore Stud and Bradley Thoroughbred Brokerage.
“Andrew is our general manager; he runs and manages Select Sales’ consignments,” Brogden said. “I do all the client relations and client recruiting, and Tom, who’s a bloodstock agent, has a keen eye, which is very important, and he’s got a lot of international contacts.”
Select Sales has 11 horses in the Fasig-Tipton July sale after scratching one yearling and plans to have consignments at the Keeneland September auction and the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October yearling sale. The company also will be selling horses in November in Kentucky.
“We just tried to bring yearlings here (to the Fasig-Tipton July sale) that were mature and had clean X-rays and good scopes (endoscopic exams),” Brogden said. “We also tried to bring horses that were really good-minded. I think the great horses are going to sell great, and the above-average horses are going to sell well. The average and below-average horses are going to have a tough time finding new homes. I think the yearling market is going to become more like the 2-year-old market and be more polarized.”
Tony Ferguson and John Sykes’ Woodford Thoroughbreds has 11 yearlings in its first Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July sale consignment after scratching one horse. Sykes formerly operated Cloverleaf Farms II in Florida, and Tony Ferguson was involved in the massive ClassicStar venture that filed for bankruptcy protection and still is involved in litigation. Woodford Thoroughbreds acquired ClassicStar’s farm property near Versailles, Ky., and some of the operation’s broodmares in 2007.
“We’re excited, obviously; this is a big step for us,” said Woodford Thoroughbreds’ general manager, Matt Lyons of selling at Fasig-Tipton in Kentucky. “We think we brought a nice, solid group of horses to this sale, and we think we’ve got some end user-type horses as well as some horses that will fit pinhookers. Fasig-Tipton is very good to work with and we’re looking forward to the sale. It’s hard to know what will happen because there is a lot of uncertainty with the economy and everything else that is happening in the world, but we feel if we’ve got the right horses, we’ll get them sold and we’ll do pretty well.”
Woodford Thoroughbreds also will offer horses at the the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale and the Keeneland September auction.
“When we buy mares, we go for mares that are proven producers and that were very solid runners themselves,” Lyons said. “We’re trying to produce racehorses.”