07/29/2004 11:00PM

Summerfield sees yearling market on rise

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Francis and Barbara Vanlangendonck, who do business as Summerfield Sales, are on the road again.

The couple was in Ocala, Fla., recently following last month's Fasig-Tipton yearling sales in Lexington, Ky. Next stop on the itinerary is Saratoga for the selected yearling sale and the New York-bred auction of yearlings. Then it's back to Ocala for the hometown yearling auctions of Aug. 23-26, and finally on to Keeneland for the September yearling sales.

"Whew," said Francis Vanlangendonck, "the Fasig-Tipton sales were strong."

In the last few years, Vanlangendonck said, "I would show individuals from our consignment maybe 40 to 45 times. This year, I was showing them twice as often.

"Last year, for example, I would have potential customers who would say to me, 'Let me see everything you've got.' This would happen maybe 20 or so times. This year I was showing my entire consignment at least twice as often."

Vanlangendonck said the lookers and eventual buyers were not just swarms of pinhookers. He said there was no doubt that the end users - those buying yearlings for stable replacements - are "back in the game big time."

There was no shortage of pinhookers, Vanlangendonck said. But he believes they were competing with many of those who were formerly their customers down the road at the 2-year-olds in training sales. Overall, he said, the yearling customers he dealt with in Lexington were a savvy group who had plenty of money to buy, and were doing their homework.

"I think the favorable tax code has impacted the horse markets," he said. "Taxwise, there is more of an incentive nowadays than there used to be."

Summerfield Sales has six for the Saratoga selected sales consignment and 21 more for the New York-bred yearling auction that follows. August is prime time for the Vanlangendoncks, as they have a consignment of 100 ready for the Ocala yearling sales.

While 100 yearlings would be a hefty consignment for any sale, the number marks a change of business plan for Summerfield Sales.

"Used to have between 150 and 200 in my annual Ocala yearling consignment, but we opted to go for quality over quantity," Vanlangendonck said.

Summerfield has 41 for the OBS selected sale and 59 for the open sale. The rationale is that it's too tough to make any money selling, as an agent, at the lower end of the yearling market.

Vanlangendonck thinks that all the yearling markets will do well in terms of averages and medians this summer and fall. He attributes his optimism to the presence of new stallions whose get are selling for significant multiples of their stud fees.

"Florida sires like Trippi, Songandaprayer, Yes It's True, and Exchange Rate are doing well at the sales, as are the Saint Ballado stallions Straight Man, Sweetsouthernsaint, and Flame Thrower," Vanlangendonck said. "Unless something bad happens, I think this is going to be a very good year for the yearling sales."

Halo's Image leads total earnings list

Halo's Image, at Bridlewood Farm, is Florida's leading sire in total earnings. The 13-year-old son of Halo has 2004 progeny earnings of $2.6 million, with Grade 1 winner Southern Image his leading money-earner at $1.6 million.

Montbrook, who stands at Ocala Stud, is having his usual good year and is second among Florida's leading sires in progeny earnings at just under $1.5 million.

* Catalogs for the August Ocala yearling sales are in the mail. The OBS has cataloged 242 horses for the Aug. 23 selected session and 972 for the open sessions, Aug. 24-26.