Fasig-Tipton Texas: Cautious Optimism

The March 31 Fasig-Tipton Texas auction will test the Southwest juvenile market.

by Shelby Downs

With sale prices unsteady across the country, the juvenile market in the Southwest will be tested for the first time this year during the Fasig-Tipton Texas 2-year-olds in training sale March 31.

The first horse will go through the ring at the Texas Thoroughbred Sales Pavilion at Lone Star Park near Dallas at 11 a.m. CDT. The under-tack show, which gives buyers the chance to see the 2-year-olds breeze over the Lone Star surface, will be held two days earlier, on March 29, starting at 10 a.m.

“I am cautiously optimistic,” said Tim Boyce, director of sales for Fasig-Tipton Texas. “Though given the fact that every other sale is down 30%, it tempers that optimism. I think how that affects the Southwest region will be interesting to see. We’ll be going into this with our eyes wide open.”

In all, 237 prospects have been cataloged for the auction, down from the 260 offered during the 2008 sale.

“We’ve had a lot of interest in the catalog, and there are some good horses on the grounds,” Boyce said. “Of course, you can have pretty horses and good pedigrees, but it all comes down to how they work.”

Among the nationally prominent sires represented in the sale are Forest Wildcat, Grand Slam, Holy Bull, Indian Charlie, Posse, and Stormy Atlantic , in addition to regional leaders Valid Expectations, Magic Cat, Leestown, and Easyfromthegitgo. Stallions represented by their first crop include Closing Argument, Purge, Pollard's Vision , and Roman Ruler, and Texas sires Intimidator, Midway Road, Special Rate, and Wimbledon.

“We haven’t had this kind of sire power before,” Boyce said. “It’s a strong showing for us here.”

The sale continues to draw some top consignors, including Robert Brewer, Benchmark Training Center, Twin Oaks Training Center, and Keith and Marilyn Asmussen’s Asmussen Horse Center, which consigned last year’s sale-topper, a Louisiana-bred daughter of Stormy Atlantic who brought $160,000.

Originally a showcase for Texas-breds, the catalog includes only 56 juveniles foaled in the Lone Star State. Kentucky-breds top that number with 66 consigned, but horses born in Louisiana are a close second at 65 consignees.

“This sale has arrived at an absolutely critical juncture in the Texas legislative session,” said David Hooper, executive director of the Texas Thoroughbred Association. “The composition of the sale catalog demonstrates how far Texas has fallen in comparison to its neighboring states, but the legalization of video lottery terminals would have far-reaching effects across Texas and put substantially more money and more Texas-bred stock into the sales.”

The 2008 sale grossed $2,883,000 from 168 sold. The average of $17,161 dipped 3.8% from the 2007 auction, but the median climbed a steep 50% to $15,000 from $10,000 the previous year. From a smaller catalog, the buy-back rate also improved to 35.4% from 39.2%.