How much is a horse worth? This is the ultimate question everyone is trying to answer at an auction.
Consignors scrutinize conformation, compare sale results of horses with similar bloodlines, and monitor pedigree updates to assess a horse's reserve price. Meanwhile, buyers go through the same exercise, looking for opportunities to get the most quality at the lowest price—or at least a fair price.
Blood-Horse MarketWatch has a long history of providing Thoroughbred industry professionals the statistical tools needed to answer this question. One of those, its Prospective Pinhooks charts, shows the histories of every horse cataloged in a sale that has been offered previously. Beginning today and over the next several days Blood-Horse Daily will publish the Prospective Pinhooks chart for the upcoming Keeneland January mixed sale, to be held Jan. 11-15.
The Prospective Pinhooks are particularly useful in identifying potential value in a broodmare prospect—value that might not be apparent from her race record.
Frolicking Gal, who sells Jan. 11 as Hip 63, is a good example. The 4-year-old daughter of Discreet Cat is the second foal out of winner Miss Ocean City (Mineshaft). Miss Ocean City's first foal is unnamed and unraced, and her third foal is grade II winner Azar (Scat Daddy).
As a racehorse, Frolicking Gal made six starts with a second-place finish her best performance. With her lack of a sterling race record, a buyer is going to look for signs of quality elsewhere.
The Prospective Pinhooks chart shows Michael Byrne, as agent, offered Frolicking Gal at the 2013 Keeneland September yearling sale, where she was bought back for a respectable $145,000. Further research will show Discreet Cat's 2013 yearling average was $28,000.
As she matured, Frolicking Gal maintained her appeal. Offered again at the 2014 Keeneland April 2-year-olds in training sale, she sold to agent Steve Young for $210,000, making her the highest-priced Discreet Cat juvenile sold at auction that year.
Having just been retired from racing, Frolicking Gal is being offered by Claiborne Farm as agent. She won't take a winning race record into the sale, but she is the half sister to a graded stakes winner and, judging by her auction history, showed enough quality to regularly attract six-figure prices.
Knowledge is power, and the MarketWatch Prospective Pinhooks charts provide one more tool to help buyers and sellers make better choices. Look for more Keeneland January sale prospective pinhooks to be published by session in the next several editions of Blood-Horse Daily.