08/22/2014 2:39PM

Washington sale offers bonus


The Washington Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association’s yearling and mixed sale followed the national Thoroughbred market last year by posting figures comparable to those generated before the economic collapse of the late 2000s.

A year later, the auction’s organizers aim to keep the ball rolling with a new incentive for local graduates.

The one-day sale will be held Tuesday, Aug. 26, at the Morris J. Alhadeff Sales Pavilion at Emerald Downs in Auburn, Wash. The first horse will go through the ring at 2 p.m. Pacific.

This year’s sale features a catalog of 114 yearlings, eight horses of racing age, and 18 broodmares for a total of 140 horses cataloged. That marks a 14 percent increase over the 2013 catalog, which totaled 123 horses.

“I think it’s a real comparable catalog, and I would be a little surprised if we had anything worse than last year,” said WTBOA president Dana Halvorson. “We should be in the same ballpark as last year, hopefully. We’re looking optimistically at the sale.”

This year’s edition of the WTBOA sale will debut the “Buy Here/Win Here” bonus program for graduates of the auction. A one-time bonus of up to $7,300 will be available for yearlings that go on to win their maiden at Emerald Downs, with the money split evenly between the yearling’s consignor and its owner at the time of the race. There are no restrictions due to age or level of racing as long as the horse wins at Emerald Downs, though the bonus decreases for maiden claiming races.

Halvorson said the program could be a useful device to help boost field size in a region where numbers can get thin.

“Ron Crockett, the president of Emerald Downs, brought this up, and is participating in that program,” Halvorson said. “I think it is a really promising program. You’re appealing to buyers and sellers. They’re splitting it 50-50 for any horse that [wins] their maiden at any time, not just their 2-year-old year, which makes it a little more appealing because there’s only 25 percent of 2-year-olds that start, much less win. If it’s a maiden allowance, they’re going to get a pretty good chunk of money, but even at the bottom-end maiden races, they’re going to get something, so it’s a little bit of an appeal to keep horses here.”

Last year’s WTBOA sale showed significant improvement in financial measures compared with the 2012 renewal. Focusing strictly on the yearling portion, which accounted for 78 of the 85 horses sold, revenues rose 37 percent to $1,212,600 after the previous year’s sale brought a total of $883,200 from 75 yearlings sold.

The average yearling sale price rose 32 percent, from $11,776 to $15,546, posting the highest average since 2005. The median yearling price rose 90 percent, from $5,000 to $9,500, while the buyback rate improved from 32 percent to 23 percent.

Glenn Todd and Mark Dedomenico purchased the highest-priced offering of the sale, a yearling colt by Harbor the Gold out of the unraced Horse Chestnut mare Bahati, for $70,000. He is a full brother to stakes winners Couldabenthewhisky and Del Rio Harbor, and a half-brother to stakes winner Bahati Gold.

The bay colt now bears the name Legion of Boom after the vaunted secondary of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. He made his debut at Emerald Downs on Aug. 2 and finished second for trainer Michael Puhich.