10/19/2013 12:20PM

Fasig-Tipton Kentucky looks to end yearling season on high note


Looking back at the sales that have made up the 2013 yearling season, it’s hard not to feel good about the general direction of the Thoroughbred market.

The record performances of the Keeneland September yearling sale and many other points on the auction calendar, paired with an apparent renewed vigor among buyers to bid on horses, have taken sales figures to heights not seen in years, dating back to the beginning of the global economic recession in 2008.

As the last major sale of the yearling calendar, the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall yearling sale is in a position to be the walk-off event that completes the market’s return to its pre-crash form.

“We’re looking forward to it with great enthusiasm,” said Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning Jr. “The yearling sales this year have been very solid and strong, from the start through the most recent ones. We’ve seen widespread participation [and] lots of interest, and I think that’ll certainly continue for the last yearling sale of the year.”

The three-day sale will be held Monday through Wednesday at Fasig-Tipton’s Newtown Paddocks base in Lexington, Ky., with each session beginning at 10 a.m. Eastern. This year’s catalog comprises 1,134 entries, a 10 percent downsizing from last year’s book of 1,254.

Many buyers remain wanting for horses as an ultra-competitive yearling season draws to a close. This activity, Browning said, puts the October sale and its participants in a unique position, perhaps more so this year than over the past half-decade.

“This is the buyers’ last opportunity to buy yearlings, so there’s pressure on them,” Browning said. “It’s the sellers’ last opportunity to sell their horse at a yearling sale without putting considerable expenses on them to take them to the next level, so there’s pressure, but pressure in a good sense, in that it generally results in very good activity and commerce. The buyers have motivation to buy, and the sellers have motivation to sell, which generally results in a fair marketplace for both parties.”

Bloodstock agent Chad Schumer, for one, said he was up for the challenge.

“I think the yearling market, in a word, would be described as ‘hot,’ ” Schumer said. “We tried to buy a lot in September, and we bought several, a couple private purchases for different deals here and there, but it was very tough to buy in the ring. I think the tightened supply coupled with a much stronger economy and people who are a lot more optimistic about things these days – and there are some new players, which always makes a difference – has really driven the market up.

“I think the sale in October at Fasig-Tipton will be very strong,” he said. “They’ve done a nice job in providing a catalog with a lot to choose from. Even though there are so many horses, they’ll all be on the sale grounds the weekend before, so that’ll generally give people enough time to see everything and prepare.”

Schumer also noted that the makeup of the catalog tends to attract a different kind of buyer for the October sale as opposed to the other major Kentucky yearling sales, in that it has a more regional flavor. In addition to the typical majority population of Kentucky-breds, the sale also has 10 or more yearlings foaled in each of the following states: Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, New York, Ohio, Ontario, and Pennsylvania.

“I think there are some people that target this sale,” Schumer said. “They might look at Keeneland, they might buy at Keeneland, but there are a few buyers that really just show up for this sale. There tends to be a lot of statebreds in that auction – your Illinois-breds, your Ohio-breds, what have you – and there are very specific buyers for those horses and plenty of them, so I think that has really helped the sale in the past.”

Last year’s Fasig-Tipton October sale finished in a record-breaking fashion, with all-time highs registered in gross sales, average price, and median price. A total of 880 yearlings were moved for revenue of $22,991,600, up 35 percent from the 2011 edition. The average price of $26,127 was a 9 percent improvement, while the median rose 6 percent to $12,750.

The 2012 sale-topper was a Speightstown colt out of the winning Dehere mare Betty’s Pet who went to Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm for $440,000.

Oct. 21-23, 2013, 10 a.m. Eastern
Where: Newtown Paddocks, 2400 Newtown Pike, Lexington, Ky. 40511
Phone: (859) 255-1555
Catalog: 1,134 horses, down 10 percent from 1,254 last year
Recent history: The 2012 sale posted overall positive results while selling 880 horses for $22,991,600, an average price of $26,127, and a median of $12,750. Gross increased 35 percent, average rose by 9 percent, and median was up 6 percent. Whisper Hill Farm bought a Speightstown colt out of Betty’s Pet, consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent, for $440,000 to top the sale. The colt was later named Speightshill.
Internet: Live streaming at www.fasigtipton.com