07/05/2007 11:00PM

Summerfield stressing quality over quantity


Florida's 2-year-olds in training sales, five in all, concluded with the Ocala Breeders' Sales June sale on June 20. The numbers generated by these sales were solid - not quite record-breaking numbers, but close. For many of the pinhookers who sold juveniles in one or more of these sales, a primary source of their yearlings is the Fasig-Tipton yearling sale on July 16-17.

The 2007 July yearling auction hosted by Fasig-Tipton has cataloged 582 yearlings to be sold at its Lexington, Ky., site. Ten of these yearlings will be offered by Francis and Barbara Vanlangendonck's Ocala-based Summerfield Sales.

The Vanlangendoncks have been sales agents since 1985 and by their estimate have sold close to a quarter-billion dollars worth of yearlings, broodmares, and foals. Last year alone Summerfield Sales sold roughly 700 horses in a dozen different venues.

"We're cutting down," said Francis Vanlangendonck. "Right now Barbara and myself will be working a total of nine sales this year, five of which are yearling venues."

Demand for Summerfield Sales services has not slackened, says Vanlangendonck. It's a matter of being able to handle the numbers. And, he adds, he wants to continue upgrading the merchandise.

Vanlangendonck does not anticipate much change in the business climate from last year. He has come to this conclusion as a consequence of getting the usual phone inquiries from longstanding customers.

"Buyers are interested in my impression of any yearlings I have by new stallions," he said. "One stallion that is getting considerable interest is the Vinery's Peace Rules."

Summerfield Sales has two chestnut colts from the first crop of the Florida stallion Peace Rules in its Fasig-Tipton consignment. Peace Rules, winner of the Grade 1 Blue Grass, Grade 1 Haskell, and Grade 1 Suburban, earned more than $3 million on dirt and turf.

The two colts by Peace Rules selling under the Summerfield banner are Hip Nos. 142 and 251. The first is out of Argentine-bred Secret Love, by Serevac (by Secretariat). The dam of this colt produced Second Reality, a multiple Grade 1 stakes winner who was an Argentine Horse of his Year.

The second from the first crop of Peace Rules to sell in the Summerfield group is a March foal out of the stakes-winning mare Brite's High, by High Brite. It's a family permeated with black type.

When asked if he felt that the pinhookers would be still be as important in the economics of the coming yearling market, Vanlangendonck said: "It's important, I think, to understand that the business plan of the pinhooker has evolved. For years the pinhooker was someone who came into the market, carefully scrutinized the affordable yearlings, and then purchased those individuals that he or she thought could turn into a profit as 2-year-olds in training. No so any more."

Vanlangendonck continued, saying that individuals who used to buy for their own accounts have been superseded by what he calls "investors." That is those who are completely passive and invest in pinhooking as others do in the stock market. This factor, as Vanlangendonck sees it, is why prices have risen so dramatically in recent years.

Pinhookers, says Vanlangendonck, did not buy in the $100,000 or $200,000 range and beyond until these syndicates came into being. Reselling yearlings as 2-year-olds in training, he says, is choice number one, but a good number of these new investors are not afraid of the alternative choice: going to the races.