01/21/2015 11:02AM

Marks: Rocklamation highlights the need for more accurate sales data

Lisa Photo
Rocklamation was bought back by one of her previous owners at the January Mixed Sale.

Rocklamation, a now 7-year-old daughter of Rocknroll Hanover-Art Sale, went through the ring at the January Mixed Sale at The Meadowlands on January 19th attracting a top bid of $360,000.

Initially some industry sites listed her as sold although ultimately Bill Finley’s Harness Racing Update published the real story that she was partially sold, being a buy back by some factions of her former ownership group.

To sales professionals, that was immediately obvious when Gene Kurzok signed the sales ticket as they knew Mr. Kurzok was part of the previous ownership partnership.

In this case, Mr. Finley reported that Adam Bowden of Diamond Creek Farms was the under bidder at $350,000, so at least for the record, the sale is accurately portrayed.

However, unlike our thoroughbred cousins, us Harness Racing folk do not always report and/or record all the buybacks that can and do occur at yearling sales. As a result, ultimate stallion selling averages can be erroneously impacted.

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For example, in Lexington last fall a yearling filly went through the ring at a noticeably high price and may or may not have been totally sold.

The actual purchaser was the consignor who had previously owned a portion of the filly, and upon fall of the hammer, now owned 100% of that filly.

Were there motivations for such a movement?  There probably were and the actual motivations were likely extremely noble.

Were there under bidders?  There must have been at some point, although whether or not there was an actual bid immediately prior to the hammer’s fall is open to speculation.

But that in itself is only part of the issue. The real issue is that it gets listed as part of the official record and can positively and perhaps falsely impact stallion averages as the sire now gets credit for a sale he might not otherwise deserve.

At thoroughbred auctions, buy backs are reported in the result sheets as RNA’s or reserves not attained. Thus those numbers are not included in stallion averages. However, if a sale is eventually consummated and reported to the sales company, that price (whatever it is) will be then included in the stallion average.

It should be noted that sales companies do not have the time or immediate wherewithal to verify the accuracy of all the on-the-spot bids and thus initially posted listings of stallion averages should probably be considered unofficial.

It is down the road when official averages are finally tabulated that accuracy or as close to accuracy as humanly possible should be mandatory.

After all, breeding decisions are often made based on stallion performances on the racetrack and in the auction ring. That being the case it is imperative these records be accurate.

As for the horse in question, her auction price topped her specific gait and sex category by over $100,000 with her total being higher than her dam’s previous six foals combined.

In addition, the only other filly from the dam, a three-quarter sister to the filly in question, brought an auction price of $14,000 in 2011.

The fact that the horse was a partial buyback like Rocklamation is obvious, since the original partnership was listed in the sales catalog. What else may have occurred is that the sire and the dam will be credited with a sales number that may or may not be accurate.

The Rocklamation story also underscores the need for listing horse ownerships on the past performances pages that accompany consigned racehorses along with the catalog.

Ordinarily on past performance programs, the ownership is listed directly below the age, sex and pedigree line, but in these cases the breeders name is listed. The fact that Perretti Farms was the breeder of Rocklamation would have far more relevancy when she was sold at a yearling sale then it was when she’s sold as a racehorse.

Since owner’s names are listed on eligibility papers which can be found on the stall door of the consigned horse, it would seem that continuity should be in order. At least the trainers name is next to the drivers name on each of the actual performance race lines, thus informing prospective buyers that they were bidding on a Ron Burke-trained horse.

In an age when technology is seemingly at our fingertips, you would think providing accurate and meaningful data would be a given.