09/27/2013 5:27PM

Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale will test regional market


The Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern fall yearling sale will be the first measuring stick to see just how far the market’s momentum can roll following a strong Keeneland September yearling sale that indicated recovery from a prolonged industry slump.

Competitive bidding from a diverse pool of buyers resulted in a record-high median at the Keeneland September sale. However, it also meant that many buyers were left still wanting horses when the marathon sale came to a close.

“I’m hoping [Keeneland’s momentum] spills over into our sale,” said Paget Bennett, Fasig Tipton’s Midlantic sales director. “It looks like there are plenty of people out there wanting to buy horses.”

The one-day sale will be held Monday at Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic sales pavilion in Timonium, Md., beginning at 10 a.m. Eastern. The catalog features 390 yearlings, up 4 percent from the 375 cataloged last year.

While the sale’s appeal is in its regional offerings – led by yearlings bred in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New York – Bennett said the pool of bidders ought to be as diverse as the horses who go through the ring.

“I think the beauty of this sale is we appeal to everybody,” she said. “There’s always a few horses at the top for that level, and then there’s a middle market and a lower end. That’s the thing: We have so many different groups in this area that look to this sale to do their horse buying, so they can shop all over the place at different levels and pretty much find what they’re looking for here.

“We’re fortunate in that I don’t think we are strictly one level,” Bennett added. “We’re probably more the middle market, but we do have some nice horses that come here and get rewarded at the top.”

Last year’s fall yearling sale was reduced to a single day after spanning two days in the past and featured a smaller catalog, but it still posted an increase in gross. The sale moved 276 horses in 2012 for revenue of $6,166,100, up 0.3 percent over the $6,149,600 from 332 sold the previous year.

Drawing more money with fewer horses naturally led to significant gains in the other economic measuring sticks. The average sale price rose 21 percent to $22,341, while the median spiked 30 percent to $12,000.

The 2012 sale was led by a Malibu Moon filly who sold to Ellen M. Charles for $300,000. Consigned by Mr. and Mrs. Rick Abbott’s Charlton agency, as agent for Audley Farm Equine, the Virginia-bred filly, later named Moonstone Magic, is out of the stakes-placed Holy Bull mare Never Fail and hails from the family of champion Not Surprising as well as Grade 2 winners How About Now, Lovely Lil, and Abraaj.

The Mid-Atlantic region is an especially prosperous one in the current racing landscape, with slots-fueled programs humming along in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, while the revenue generated from the still-new Resorts World Casino New York City at Aqueduct has reaffirmed New York as a national-level breeding program. Almost every statebred program represented by yearlings in the sale has a lucrative incentive system to support it.

Along those lines, the 87 Maryland-breds cataloged in this year’s auction will be among the first to benefit from the state’s new owners’ and breeders’ incentive program for the entirety of their racing careers, making them more attractive to buyers.

The Maryland-bred yearlings will be eligible for a 17.5 percent owners’ bonus next year for finishing in the top three in maiden, allowance, and claiming races of $10,000 or more. In 2015, those bonuses will increase to 30 percent for all races. Breeders of Maryland-breds saw their incentive program increase to a 30 percent bonus earlier this year.

“We’ve got some good things happening in Maryland with some bonuses that we’re getting in place, so I think it’s going to be exciting for Maryland-breds,” Bennett said. “Hopefully, they’ll get a little bit of the shot in the arm that they needed.”