12/14/2017 1:04PM

Fasig-Tipton will not repeat Turf Showcase in 2018


Fasig-Tipton will not conduct its Turf Showcase yearling sale in 2018, one year after its inaugural edition.

The auction put a spotlight on select yearlings with turf-leaning pedigrees or physicals and sought to appeal to international buyers as well as domestic horsemen from circuits with strong turf programs.

Fasig-Tipton’s Newtown Paddocks base in Lexington, Ky., hosted the Turf Showcase on Sept. 10, a day before the 12-session Keeneland September yearling sale opened for trade.

“We thought the market need was a little stronger than it was,” Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning said. “Ultimately the market dictates your success or failure and we just decided we weren’t comfortable moving forward with it in 2018. It just didn’t feel like the results were strong enough, and we didn’t think we could recruit a critical mass of quality product to put the sale together next year.”

The inaugural Turf Showcase cataloged 171 horses, and finished with 74 horses sold from 145 put through the ring for revenues of $5,035,000. The average sale price was $68,041, the median was $52,500, and the buyback rate finished at 49 percent.

Two Scat Daddy colts topped the sale, each selling for $250,000.

The concept for the Turf Showcase took shape in early spring of this year, and the auction was officially announced in March. Horses were chosen for the auction by Fasig-Tipton staff during the same round of select-level inspections used to catalog the company’s Kentucky yearling sale in July and two auctions in Saratoga.

In promoting the sale and its offerings, Fasig-Tipton introduced “Turf Facts” at the bottom of each catalog page, displaying in green type an aspect of the horse’s pedigree that made him or her appealing to turf-seeking buyers.

Though the auction has been tabled, Browning was not ready to say with certainty that the market has seen the last of the Turf Showcase, either in its initial form or otherwise.

“The market is always evolving and changing,” he said. “For all the reasons that we introduced, I think they were all valid, there’s certainly increasing activity amongst the racetracks in the United States with turf racing. The purse structure is very strong, and racing opportunities are strong. Sometimes the sales market and the racetrack don’t always align at the same time.

“I wouldn’t say, ‘never,’ ” he continued. “We’re always looking for opportunities for changes and shifts in the marketplace. Hopefully we did help create some awareness and recognition of the racing opportunities available on the turf.”