The Texas Thoroughbred Association will seek to build on momentum generated by last year's 2-year-olds in training sale when the 2018 edition is held April 10 at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas.
Topped by a Tale of the Cat colt sold for $120,000, the 2017 sale was the second under the TTA banner after being previously conducted by Fasig-Tipton. The 2017 sale resulted in 70 horses changing hands for total receipts of $1,873,900. The gross represented a whopping 91% increase over the $981,300 total in 2016, and last year's average of $26,770 was up 44.6% from the previous year's $18,515 figure, with the median rising 33.3% to $16,000 from $12,000.
The sale begins at noon (CT). During the April 8 under tack show, a Munnings colt (Hip 95) and a filly by Bind (Hip 94) breezed the co-fastest eighth-mile in :10 2/5. Both workers are consigned by Twin Oaks Training Center, agent.
"We have a good catalog, and I have been very pleased with the individuals that have shown up," said sales director Tim Boyce, who previously managed the sale for Fasig-Tipton. "I think we have good momentum. We have some very precocious-looking horses that will go fast and some that look like they are solid two-turn horses."
The 126 horses cataloged this year represent a 20% gain over the 105 entered in 2017.
In addition to improved prices in the ring, the 2017 auction produced Galactica and Janae, the respective winners of the Texas Thoroughbred Futurity colts/geldings and fillies divisions. All horses that go through the TTA sale's ring are eligible for the respective divisions of the Futurity—each at five furlongs with a purse of $100,000—at Lone Star Park in July.
Included among this year's juveniles is Hip 66, a son of Curlin out of the multiple stakes-winning mare Lady Alexander. The colt would have been an attractive offering at any number of juvenile sales throughout the U.S. Consignor Al Pike said he decided to enter the colt in the Texas sale after seeing the demand at last year's auction.
"It looked like there were people wanting to buy good horses last year, so we brought some horses that could have gone other places that would draw some interest," Pike said. "This is a good market with good horsemen, and if you bring them something they want, you will be rewarded. I'm not knocking anyone, but most people who are at this sale are owners and trainers, not bloodstock agents. A bloodstock agent gets second-guessed a lot, while an owner or trainer will take some chances a bloodstock agent can't."
Texas horseman Jerry Durant said he consigns to the Lone Star Park sale as a way to help boost the state's sales and racing programs, with his flight this year offered through Asmussen Horse Center, including a Kantharos filly (Hip 9) and a Shakin It Up colt (Hip 97) that were purchased as yearlings for $130,000 and $105,000, respectively.
"I'm trying to do a little bit to contribute to helping Texas stay in the horse business," Durant said, adding that the convenience of selling locally was also a factor in selecting the sale.
Durant said that during the 2017 TTA sale he sold two Into Mischief 2-year-olds for prices of $110,000 and $90,000. Three of the four juveniles he bought at the auction broke their maidens at first asking.
One of the best-bred individuals cataloged is Hip 102, an Uncle Mo filly consigned by Beth Deal's Inside Move. The May 15, 2016, foal is out of the winning Prized mare Romantic Fibs, who has been represented by eight winners from 14 foals to race.
Romantic Fibs also produced grade 2 winner Romanceishope and Romance Is Diane, the $712,718 earner whose wins include the Hollywood Starlet Stakes (G1) and Bayakoa Handicap (G2). Romance Is Diane is the dam of grade 3-placed Romeo O Romeo.