08/31/2001 12:00AM

Yearling catalog offers more quality, quantity


It's September and that means school's back, football and hockey seasons are around the corner, and, for Ontario's Thoroughbred industry, it's time to buy and sell yearlings.

"I call it harvest time," said Michael C. Byrne, owner of Park Stud and operator of Canadian Breeders' Sales, which holds its annual select yearling sale on Tuesday, beginning at 1 p.m. "It's the one day we have to sell the crop."

The select sale has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years with increases in average price of 11 percent in 1999 and 26 percent last year.

Byrne is realistic and predicts there won't be another big surge in average. "I don't think so, not because we don't have the horses but because we have more horses," said Byrne about the 269 babies cataloged, almost 30 more than last year.

He does, however, think it's possible to maintain last year's average price of $43,514.

"I'd like to get the 'buy back' ratio down. If we can hold the average and get more horses sold that would be good. The sales have been so strong everywhere else this year."

Byrne said he has been getting a lot of comments about the quality and quantity of the catalog from sellers and prospective buyers.

"It would be easy for us to be biased and say that the book is better but really, there have been a lot of people calling and telling me it's stronger."

On a personal note, Byrne is eagerly awaiting the reception to the first crop of yearlings by millionaire Kiridashi, a son of Bold Ruckus who stands at Park Stud as property of Park Stud and Minshall Farms.

There are a whopping 27 offspring of Kiridashi in the sale, which does concern Byrne.

"The same topic was brought up last year with the Whiskey Wisdoms," said Byrne, pointing out that 16 offspring of that sire sold at the 2000 select sale. "But you can't say that we're only going to have a certain number by that sire. If that many get accepted on conformation and pedigree, that's a good sign."

Byrne's consignment of his own horses and those for clients totals 29, including a "gorgeous" colt by Kiridashi out of Count on Romance and a filly by the same sire out of the Fairy King mare, Cindora.

Byrne will be off to the Keeneland September sale the day after the local auction to sell a number of horses.

Last fall at Keeneland, Byrne was the consignor of Johannesburg, currently the top 2-year-old in Europe, for $200,000 to Demi O'Byrne. A son of Hennessy-Myth, Johannesburg has won all five of his starts overseas, including two Group 1 races.

There are 45 Canadian-bred yearlings in the 12-day Keeneland September sale, including offspring of fancy American sires such as Saint Ballado, Skip Away, Touch Gold, Siphon, and Awesome Again.

A rare offering is an Ontario-bred colt by Grand Slam, bred by the Taylor family of Windfields Farm, which retained a couple of mares following its major dispersals, including Social Director, the dam of Grand Slam.