10/08/2010 2:02PM

Shift of Fasig-Tipton sale to Palm Meadows draws positive reaction


LEXINGTON, Ky. – Juvenile consignors are generally applauding Fasig-Tipton’s announcement Thursday that it will move its boutique March 2-year-old sale from Calder Race Course in Miami to the Palm Meadows training center in Boynton Beach, Fla.

“Most importantly, it’s going to be kinder on the horses,” said Nick de Meric. “I think logistically there are going to be some kinks to iron out from the standpoint of accommodating help and accommodating customers who come to Florida to buy 2-year-olds and also to provide the facilities and recreational opportunities that some of those people look for.”

Palm Meadows has staff housing, but the training center is at its peak population in the winter and early spring. National Association of Two-Year-Old Consignors president Mike Mulligan said sellers have “minor concerns” over the availability of local housing for their riders, grooms, and showmen.

“It is also a little more inconvenient for buyers who want to stay in South Beach, and staff housing might be a little more difficult, but overall I think it’s a positive move,” Mulligan said.

Among the benefits consignors cited were a less sandy dirt training surface and fewer paved surfaces for showing and riding horses.

“At Calder, the horses spent a lot of time on blacktop,” said de Meric. “They walked to and from the track on blacktop, and they showed on blacktop all day for the last few days before the sale. Even with rubber mats, which they’ve been using the last few years, it’s still harder on joints and soft tissue than walking on, say, tanbark or a horse path. Anything that keeps our horses safer and sounder and more comfortable is worth putting up with a little inconvenience.”

Fasig-Tipton CEO Boyd Browning said the company’s decision to move about 45 miles north was partly to put its sale horses on display in the middle of a large buying audience: Palm Meadows-based trainers.

“Our relationship with Calder has been a terrific partnership for over 25 years, but we thought there were some opportunities with a little different track surface, a little different physical layout in terms of the barns’ configuration, and the opportunity to train those 2-year-olds amongst the strongest base of trainers anywhere in North America,” said Browning. “They can observe those horses there on a daily basis. The upside potential was very, very significant, and we thought it might be time to try to take advantage of those factors.”

Palm Meadows does not have a sale pavilion, but Browning said Fasig-Tipton will set up a temporary facility for the auction.

The sale is set for March 3, 2011.