09/04/2015 2:36PM

Optimism for one-day Canadian yearling sale


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – After two consecutive years of declines, the Canadian premier yearling sale bounced back with gains in 2014, and officials are optimistic that the momentum will carry over to this year.

The select session of the 2014 sale saw the average price increase 51 percent to $33,081 and the median price increase 56 percent to $25,000 when compared with 2013 figures. The open-session average price of $7,883 was up 74 percent, and the median price of $5,000 was up 67 percent.

“We did have a strong sale last year because there was a little bit more security,” said Yvonne Schwabe, sales chair of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society’s Ontario division. “It created great momentum for the sale. Because the buzz was good last year, I think it will go on forward.”

The 2015 Canadian premier yearling sale will take place Tuesday beginning at 11 a.m. Eastern at the Woodbine Sales Pavilion, with all 299 horses cataloged going through the ring on the same day. It will be the first time since at least 1978 that the sale will be held in one session.

“We do have a little bit of a change in format this year,” Schwabe said. “We just decided numbers-wise we could do it in one day, so why not? It keeps horses on the sales grounds for less time, which is better for the horse. We’re optimistic, and we’re very hopeful it will be a sale like it was last year.”

According to figures from The Jockey Club, there were just 785 live foals reported in Ontario in 2014, the fewest in the past 20 years – which was largely due to the uncertainty caused by the Ontario government’s cancellation of the slots-at-racetracks program in 2012. However, this year’s catalog is slightly larger than it was in 2014, when 275 horses were cataloged for the sale. Schwabe said the positive results from last year have led to some breeders returning to the sale.

“There are people who put their horses in the sale this year that may have held back in the last couple of years or have gone elsewhere,” she said. “People are going to take a shot at selling their horses if you can get good value.”

At last year’s sale, six yearlings sold for $100,000 or more each, including the $325,000 sale-topper, a colt by Philanthropist who is a full brother to Canadian champion Pender Harbour. Schwabe was hopeful that the lower supply of yearlings in the market would help keep prices up again this year.

“The current supply-and-demand situation works in the favor of the seller,” she said. “That’s happening throughout North America and globally. When the foal crop is down, it’s always sort of a good thing because supply is down, and it forces prices up, as in any industry. It’s not good for breeders in the sense that the foal crop is down, but hopefully it will resurrect itself a little bit. It just needs to be a little healthier, and it needs to be a little bigger and stronger in our environment, that’s for sure.”

Schwabe said the current strength of the American dollar compared to the Canadian dollar, and the fact that the sale will be held over one day, could lead to more out-of-town buyers attending the sale this year.

“The strength of the U.S. dollar we’re hoping will bring some people, but the trouble is when you have a book that’s heavy with Ontario-sired horses, that doesn’t interest everybody,” Schwabe said. “But with Lexie Lou coming out the sale and Dynamic Sky and Heart to Heart, we had three Canadian champions in 2014 that came out of our sale, so that bodes very well.”

Slightly more than 80 percent of the yearlings cataloged are by stallions standing in Ontario, including the first yearlings by Musketier, Signature Red, Maclean’s Music, Rule by Night, and Legal Move. Yearlings from the first crops of Caleb’s Posse, Gemologist, Bullet Train, Dialed In, Jersey Town, and Get Stormy also have been cataloged.

Schwabe said that for the second consecutive year, due to the number of entries, yearlings entered in the sale were not required to undergo a physical inspection.

“We’re hoping when we get back to our normal numbers that those things will come back into play and we’ll have a select sale,” she said. “We’re just trying to be the fairest to breeders, and there’s no point in having two sales if the entries can all fit into one. This is the most efficient way and the less costly way to do things.”

Tuesday, 11 a.m. Eastern
WHERE: Woodbine Sales Pavilion, Rexdale, Ontario
PHONE: (416) 675-3602
CATALOG: This year’s sale has cataloged 299 horses. Last year, the select portion of the sale cataloged 201 horses, while the open session had 74 horses.
RECENT HISTORY: The 2014 select sale posted across-the-board increases, selling 135 horses for $4,466,000 (up 49 percent), with an average price of $33,081 (up 51 percent) and a median of $25,000 (up 56 percent). John LeBlanc, agent, bought a Philanthropist colt out of the Hail the Ruckus mare Uproar consigned by Mapleville Farms, as agent for Paradox Farm, for $325,000 to top the select sale. The colt, a full brother to Canadian champion Pender Harbour, was later named Mike.
The 2014 open sale also posted overall increases, selling 60 horses for $473,000 (up 39 percent), with an average price of $7,883 (up 74 percent) and a median of $5,000 (up 67 percent). Morgan Racing bought a Sligo Bay filly out of the With Approval mare Kiamika consigned by Woodlands, as agent, for $57,000 to top the open sale. The filly was later named Garavogue Colleen.
Note: All money figures are in Canadian dollars.