By Bill Finley
Give sellers a good deal, give buyers a catalogue with plenty of horses with solid looks and pedigrees and bring everyone together in a venue that is on the beaten path. That’s the idea behind today’s inaugural Goshen Sale, where some 121 yearlings will go on sale.
The Goshen Yearling sale might be new but it is being backed by some of the biggest names in the industry as Blue Chip Farms, Cameo Hills Farm, Concord Stud and Winbak Farm are among the consignors. Their mind-set was that the Mid-Atlantic states, and particularly New York, needed a sale that was easy to get to for area horsemen and one where they could auction off some of their horses that may have gotten lost in the crowd at the sport’s two premier sales, Lexington and Harrisburg.
The sale will begin today at noon and will be held at Mark Ford’s training center in Middletown, New York. Ford’s training center is just 65 miles from Yonkers. The other yearling sale held annually in New York takes place at Morrisville, not exactly an easy place to get to.
“We feel that the location is ideal,” sales manager Chris Tully said. “We’re already at a training center where there are a lot of power stables. We are centrally located, 90 miles or less from all the all major tracks and training centers in the tri-state area.
“For the breeders, it is costing more and more money to raise a yearling and so you have to provide yourself with the very best opportunities when it comes time to sell them. The date has to be at a good time when people will be in the area and you want it to be geographically sound so the majority of buyers are close by your sale so they don’t have to go out of their way to visit your sale. They really felt that date could be improved, location could be improved and the cataloging process and the way sale was presented could be improved, so they decided to take a shot at it.”
One enticement to consignors is a reduced commission rate. Tully said the commission will be 4 percent on most horses and 3 percent on horses that sell for $50,000 or more. He said the industry standard is 6 percent.
Many of the sport’s top sires will be represented. The list includes American Ideal, Art Major, Rock N Roll Heaven, Muscle Hill, Crazed, Credit Winner, Lucky Chucky and Bettor’s Delight. Most, but not all, of the horses are New York breds. The sale also includes four horses from the first crop of Chapter Seven.
“The location is ideal,” said Steve Jones of Cameo Hills Farm. “Our farm is less than 10 miles away from the sales
grounds and it is also close for most people who are racing in New York, especially the downstate people and even people located New Jersey. It’s just easier for them to travel to this sale as opposed to the other New York sale that is further upstate.”
Jones will sell five horse of his own and will act as the consignor on 12 others. He understands that Lexington and Harrisburg will always get the premier yearlings, but he said it would be a mistake to underestimate the horses that will be available today in Goshen.
“The horses that I own that I put in are all New York breds and I put some nice ones in there.” he said. “I don’t think there’s any way you can expect people to show up at the sale unless you have nice looking horses to sell. The ones I put in here are nice looking New York bred horses and I think they will sell well. In this sale, I think they will stick out, where they might not have at Lexington and Harrisburg.”
Harness racing is notoriously slow to change or adopt new ideas, so Tully and his bosses believe what they have accomplished for the first year of the Goshen sale is something to celebrate. Likely, Goshen will get bigger and better.
“We know horsepeople by nature are not early adopters, so it’s going to take a year, maybe two years, to have people realize that we put on a good show, we have a good venue, that we are a trustworthy, reliable sales company,” he said. “We feel in producing this sale people will be given firsthand experience of how we operate, that we run a professional operation. We really feel we could at some point sell 200 yearlings. It’s not always easy to attract horses to a new sale but I think we did a pretty good job.”