Barry Irwin, who heads Team Valor International, is changing his strategy for acquiring horses for the racing partnerships his company puts together. And that could be good news for yearling sale consignors.
“I’ve told my clients that we’re not going to buy any more racehorses (privately) in America this year,” Irwin said July 9. “We’re only going to buy yearlings. We’re going to start at the sale next week (the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July select yearling auction), and we’re going to go straight through (the yearling selling season) and see what we can come up with.”
Irwin wasn’t sure how many yearlings Team Valor would purchase.
“I just go (to a sale) and if I see something I like, I bid on it until I get to a certain point, then I either buy it or stop,” he said. “I don’t go with any preconceived notions. I could see myself buying, oh, 10 or 12 (yearlings), something like that. But I might buy just one. It depends on what happens.”
Last year, Team Valor bought the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale’s most expensive horse, a $2.2-million Mr. Greeley colt that later was named Kinsella.
Irwin said he was focusing on yearlings domestically because “unscrupulous agents” have driven up prices on racehorses to the point that the amounts have become unreasonable.
“The bottom line is that any racehorse you would really want to buy in this day and age can’t be bought, and it’s something that’s frustrating,” Irwin said. “In order to have a market, you have to have a willing buyer and a willing seller, and there are no more willing sellers. The market privately has collapsed.”