05/23/2010 11:00PM

Fasig-Tipton confident sale is safe

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Monday's news that New York Governor David Paterson has proposed a $25 million loan to the beleaguered New York Racing Association gave many

industry watchers some reason to hope NYRA's Saratoga racing season will not face cancellation.

Last week, NYRA sent warning notices to 1,400 employees, saying they could be laid off within 60 days without state aid, as the association's operating funds were due to run out after the June 5 Belmont Stakes. That made some Thoroughbred yearling sellers wonder: If there's no racing at Saratoga, what would happen to Fasig-Tipton's Saratoga yearling auctions?

Fasig-Tipton's chief executive officer says he's optimistic that the race meet and Fasig-Tipton's long-running yearling sales will take place as scheduled at Saratoga.

"I am confident that there will be a resolution that will allow for a traditional and normal Saratoga race meeting to be conducted in 2010, because it's in the best interest of all parties for the premier race meet in the United States to take place as scheduled," said Boyd Browning, the Fasig-Tipton CEO. "Our plans are to have the best yearling sale in the world on Aug. 2 and 3, and have a great New York-bred sale on Aug. 7 and 8."

Browning said the company has had some sellers express concern about the Saratoga race meet's situation but that he has assured them the company is optimistic it will hold its auctions as planned.

Fasig-Tipton has held sales at Saratoga for more than a century and has been remodeling its pavilion this year with new interior design, improved lighting, and some changes to the seating layout that sales executives hope will improve accessibility for buyers and sellers. The company's select yearling auction, one of the most important yearling sales on the calendar, is set for Aug. 2-3 this year, followed by the New York-bred preferred sale on Aug. 7-8.