Japanese Foal Sale Shines With Record Gross and Average

The Japan Racing Horse Association's select foal sale hit the wire Wednesday ahead of last year's pace, posting all-time highs for gross revenue of 8,340,500,000 yen ($72,526,087) and average price of 37,739,819 yen ($328,172).

The two-day auction at the Northern Horse Park on the Japanese island of Hokkaido also produced a world record for a foal or weanling sold at public auction when a King Hamehameha -- To the Victory filly brought 600 million yen ($5,217,391) during Tuesday's opening session.

"The Japanese economy, I think, is strong, and the Japanese horses have become very strong recently in worldwide competition," said Teruya Yoshida of Shadai Farm. "Some big (Japanese) owners who used to buy in foreign sales now come to this sale to buy. That's why the good horses have become so expensive."

The gross revenue increased 4.6% from a year ago while the average rose 14.6%. Of the 304 foals offered, 221 were sold. The buy-back rate was 27.3%, with 83 horses failing to find new homes.

"I was surprised with this tremendous result with the filly," said Katsumi Yoshida, whose Northern Farm consigned the world record daughter of King Hamehameha. "I didn't expect her to bring such a high price. The times are changing because the number of foals that brought over (the equivalent) of $1 million is getting more and more than before. I was also surprised how many of the trainers and owners stayed here until the last of the sale."

The figures for Wednesday's session were 143 horses sold, a gross of 3,180,000,000 yen ($27,652,174) and an average of 30,870,000 yen ($268,435). The buy-back rate was 28.0%, with 40 of the 143 horses offered returning to their consignors.

A King Kamehameha colt out of grade III winner Roza Robata (by Fire Maker) brought the second session's top price of 162,000,000 yen ($1,408,696). Riichi Kondo, who is in the demolition business, purchased the bay colt from Northern Farm.