Following are comments from participants in the Feb. 26 Fasig-Tipton Florida select sale of 2-year-olds in training, which suffered downturns in the number of horses sold, gross revenue, average price, and median price.
Niall Brennan, pinhooker: "It’s very hit or miss, but that's the way this sale is now. Everybody does their homework, and they’re either on your horse or they’re not. You have to have what appears to be a really special animal here because that's all the buyers want. They're not looking for a bargain. They want the goods. Guys don’t come here looking to spend $100,000 on a horse. At the OBS (Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.) sales, you can move them along all day in that price range, But here, the guys come looking for the top, and they only want to spend the big budget on the big horse. If we didn't scratch so many horses there would be a 70% buy-back rate. If there is no interest in your horses, it's not going to benefit the sale company to have a 70% buy-back rate and it doesn’t benefit us to be paying a 5% commission if we know we've got no shot of selling a horse."
Omar Trevino, Kentucky bloodstock agent: "We were just trying to concentrate on colts, and I thought there were some really nice horses in the sale. This is a boutique shopping type of atmosphere. The really good horses everybody is on top of and the other horses kind of fall between the cracks. There's plenty of value here in the $150,000 to $300,000 range."
Murray Smith, pinhooker: "You can’t blame the guys who are buying racehorses right now who want the elite group. I think the buyers are very smart and very educated. You know, if I were in their shoes, I would want only the best, too."
Mike McMahon, Kentucky-based bloodstock agent who buys yearlings to pinhook: "They (the horses) aren't really breaking away in many spots. It’s a very realistic market. The buyers are a little bit tight unless your horse has a great work. There are plenty of buyers here, but they’re just being very realistic."
Robert Harris, pinhooker: "It’s all or nothing. It was the first time that I came down here with a lot of horses, and a lot of horses to me is 13. We scratched some out and stuff like that, but we’re going to tighten up the screws and bring a smaller quantity next year. The Distorted Humor colt (sold for $675,000) brightened our day, but we know you’ve go to bring a little less quantity, and a little more quality."
Don Graham, pinhooker: "We made good money on several of our horses, so I'm happy. I feel lucky and blessed because a lot people are going out of here with their tails tucked. I hate to see it because they're my friends. It’s scary when you look at the results sheet and see all of those RNAs. People come to buy the better horses, and they zero in on them. The other ones fall through the cracks. I bought back a good colt (for $290,000), the one by Giant's Causeway , and the good thing about it is that I've got a trainer's license and a truck and trailer, so I can go to the races with him."
Buzz Chace, New Jersey bloodstock agent: "I think it was a good sale. There were some nice horses sold, and there were a lot of people to buy them. It was a fair sale. There were a lot of nice horses sold for what I thought were reasonable prices. The prices were very realistic. Hey, it beats the stock market."
Walt Robertson, Fasig-Tipton president: "To me, the market was very similar to last year. We averaged $344,000 and change this year and $351,000 and change last year, so we were down only 2%. The not solds were 40.4% this year, and they were 40.7% last year, so that's the same to me. We had fewer horses offered to us this year at the higher levels so, therefore, we had fewer horses in the sale. We expected that when we saw what the pinhookers were buying last year. We knew what was going to be available."
Layna Kight on the $1-million Fusaichi Pegasus -- Silver Tornado colt she and her husband consigned: "They say the Fusaichi Pegasuses are supposed to be kind of unruly, but he's not. He is very enjoyable to be around. He is one of the horses that I loved to ride. He never did anything wrong. He's fluid and has a big old reach on him. He likes what he does. He enjoys his job; he's really into it."