06/16/2005 11:00PM

Sale interests form new group

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Many of the auction world's most prominent breeders and consignors have banded together to form what they are calling a trade association to address sales-related issues.

The new organization, the Consignors and Commercial Breeders Association. Inc., will be open to "any dues-paying consignor or commercial breeder who breeds or sells Thoroughbred horses," according to its initial announcement. So far, its membership roster includes representatives from some of the world's most prosperous breeding farms and sales agents.

Bayne Welker, Mill Ridge's sales director and a member of the new organization's organizing committee, said the group emerged from discussions among sellers about common auction issues. Chief among those for many is a concern that veterinary examinations at auction are making buyers shy away too quickly from horses with flaws sellers believe will not affect their racing careers, a scenario the group hopes to offset with a buyer-education program.

"As a collective group, we have a lot of resources to pool, and we want to show the public that just because there are a lot of words on a veterinary report, it doesn't mean the report is all bad," Welker said. "A lot of consignors have horses that have gone on to run well and even be graded stakes-winners that have flunked the vets."

In addition to developing buyer education materials, the association's organizing committee also has proposed a futurity program for horses sold by members.

But Welker hastened to add that the two initial concepts of buyer education and a CBA graduates' futurity are early ideas for members' consideration. The group's first task, Welker said, will be to recruit members.

The organizing committee currently consists of Welker; Craig Bandoroff of Denali Stud; Kerry Cauthen of Four Star Sales; Bill Farish and Mike Cline of Lane's End; Pat Costello of Paramount Sales; Olin Gentry of Gaines-Gentry Thoroughbreds; Michael Hernon and Neil Howard of Gainesway; Donato Lanni of Hill 'n' Dale; Braxton Lynch of Three Chimneys; Reiley McDonald of Eaton Sales; Dermot Ryan of Ashford; Joe Seitz of Brookdale; Mark Taylor of Taylor Made; and Rob Whiteley of Liberation Farm.

Welker said the new organization would address issues specific to consignors and commercial breeders. Other organizations, such as the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, do not focus specifically on auction-ring concerns, Welker said.

"The other groups aren't the guys who are standing in front of the barns and directly representing the clients," Welker said. "This trade association also gives us a collective voice to sit down with sales companies and vets on policies."

Welker stressed that the group was not formed in opposition to an industry panel's establishment early this year of a code of ethics governing bloodstock transactions.

"We are all totally supportive of those initiatives," Welker said. "We're behind that 100 percent."

The Consignors and Commercial Breeders Association's dues are $250 annually, plus an additional amount determined on a sliding scale according to a consignor's gross annual sales, ranging from nothing to $7,500, Welker said.

Widespread awards favored

A Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club membership survey has shown that 51 percent of respondents would like to see Kentucky's new breeder awards distributed for statebred winners throughout North America and in some international races.

Thirty-seven percent support awards for Kentucky-bred and -foaled horses in North America only, and 12 percent supported limiting the awards program to Kentucky racetracks only.

The survey also revealed that 38 percent feel the program's residency requirements should specify Kentucky-bred and -foaled horses, while 36 percent agreed they should require a horse to be by a Kentucky stallion and foaled in Kentucky out of a mare boarded in-state for a minimum number of days. Fifteen percent preferred a year-round residency requirement, and 11 percent supported a tiered program paying awards based on the mare's number of days boarded in state.

The farm managers' group will join representatives of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders/Kentucky Thoroughbred Association and the Kentucky Equine Education Project at a June 23 meeting to discuss a joint recommendation to the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority. The racing authority will develop the awards program's distribution plan.

The breeder awards program is expected to accrue between $10 million and $12 million annually from an existing 6-percent sale tax on stud fees.