08/02/2016 7:16AM

Calendar of major yearling sales in 2016

Keeneland Photo
The Keeneland September yearling sale runs from Sept. 12-25.

The sales at Saratoga are the latest stops on the major North American yearling auction calendar, which hits both coasts and rolls through late October.

Of the four largest North American auction houses – Keeneland, Fasig-Tipton, Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co., and Barretts – the latter of the group saw the greatest shift in its schedule for 2016.

After debuting on the same day as the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred yearling sale in 2015, the Barretts August select yearling sale will hold an exclusive date Aug. 30. Meanwhile, the Barretts fall sale of yearlings and horses of racing age moves up to mid-October, making the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall yearling sale the new endpoint of the season.

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Here is a look at North America’s major yearling sales of 2016, in chronological order, following the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred sale.

Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. August yearling sale

Aug. 25-27 in Ocala, Fla. 2015 topper: $320,000 filly by Arch–Citizen Advocate, by Proud Citizen, sold to Niall Brennan, agent for Marc Keller


The OBS August sale underwent a significant uptick in seller interest this year, growing its catalog by 28 percent to 1,043 entries. It is the largest renewal since 2009.

The three-day sale is divided into two segments, with a select session Aug. 25 comprising 273 yearlings and a pair of open sessions with 770 combined offerings.

Last year’s edition saw mixed returns, with mild declines in gross and average during the select session and gains in the average and median sale prices in the open sessions with 92 fewer yearlings sold.

A showcase sale for Florida stallions, this year’s renewal features offerings from the first crops of Sunshine State residents Anthony’s Cross, Archwarrior, Beau Choix, Brethren, City Wolf, Corfu, Currency Swap, Duke of Mischief, Heavy Breathing, Poseidon’s Warrior, Prospective, Rattlesnake Bridge, Soldat, Treasure Beach, Turbo Compressor, Winslow Homer, and Wrote.

The OBS August sale will be the final auction of 2016 held at the central Florida complex, with planned renovations putting the company’s fall mixed sale on a one-year hiatus.

Barretts August select yearling sale

Aug. 30 in Del Mar, Calif. 2015 co-toppers: $90,000 filly by Tapizar–Sallie’s Memory, by Holy Bull, sold to Michael and Janet Dante; $90,000 colt by Harlan’s Holiday–Diva’s Seastar, by Broken Vow, sold to D.P. Racing


California’s biggest auction house will look to improve upon its boutique yearling sale’s inaugural edition last year as the company continues to settle into its new base at Del Mar.

The sale’s catalog remained consistent from year to year, with the 77 horses entered in 2016 up one from the previous sale. The yearlings will once again be stabled in the Del Mar Horse Show Arena adjacent to the sales pavilion.

The inaugural auction saw 44 yearlings sold for $1,629,000, with an average sale price of $37,023 and a median of $32,500.

Stallions making their debuts with yearlings in the select-sale catalog include California residents Champ Pegasus, Smiling Tiger, Ultimate Eagle, and World Renowned. Lucky Pulpit, the sire of 2014 Horse of the Year California Chrome, leads all sires with seven entries.

Keeneland September yearling sale

Sept. 12-25 in Lexington, Ky. 2015 topper: $2.1 million colt by Tapit–Silver Colors, by Mr. Greeley, sold to Whisper Hill Farm


The North American Thoroughbred industry’s bellwether sale comes off a record-tying renewal and will go a long way in establishing the narrative for the 2016 auction season as a whole.

Last year’s sale featured slight gains in gross and average sale price, finishing third- and seventh-best, respectively, in Keeneland September sales history. The median reached a record $50,000 for the third time in the auction’s history.

As the most populous of the yearling sales, Keeneland September provides the most thorough cross sections of each portion of the market. While concerns abound over the health of the middle and lower markets heading into the current yearling season, later-session returns will be watched closely.

The sale will continue with its second year under the current format, with three select sessions comprising the elite Book 1, followed by the traditional dark day, with the remaining books continuing in succession to round out the 13-day event.

Fasig-Tipton Midlantic fall yearling sale

Oct. 4 in Timonium, Md. 2015 topper: $200,000 filly by Malibu Moon–Aspenglow, by Lion Hearted, sold to Ellen Charles


The Timonium sale, a popular venue for nearby statebred programs, has experienced consecutive years of declining returns. Revenue and average price fell 13 percent in 2016, with one fewer horse sold, while the median remained unchanged at $10,000.

The auction maintains a similar spot on the calendar from last year, when it was pushed back from September to early October to prevent congestion in the yearling sale schedule.

Barretts fall sale of yearlings and horses of racing age

Oct. 18 in Pomona, Calif. 2015 topper: $140,000 colt by Good Journey–Southern Oasis, by Southern Halo, sold to John Daley, agent for D.P. Racing


This sale was moved up on the calendar and returns to Barretts' former base at Fairplex Park in Pomona, Calif. after a year at Del Mar. Last year’s renewal added mixed and horses-of-racing-age portions for the first time but posted across-the-board declines, both when comparing just the yearling markets and all offerings.​

Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall yearling sale

Oct. 26-28 in Lexington, Ky. 2015 topper: $410,000 colt by Tapit–Apple Charlotte, by Smart Strike, sold to John Oxley


The last major stop on the yearling calendar cataloged a record number of entries last year and saw modest declines from a record-setting renewal in 2014. Last year’s sale posted the second-highest gross and average in Fasig-Tipton October history, while the median marked the auction’s third-best performance.