The average of $20,640 dipped marginally compared to last year, but the gross was up and just missed hitting $3 million with 144 yearlings sold.
by Dave Briggs
When Brunos From Mars was just a baby Jim Laird of Arva, ON knew the pacing colt “was out of this world. That’s how he got his name.” Sunday, a few hours after the son of Mach Three out of Laird’s mare Boy Meets Girl fetched the highest price at Standardbred Canada’s Canadian Yearling Sale at Flamboro Downs with a bid of $105,000, Laird said he was feeling on top of the world.
“We’re very pleased with the sale and the sale results. Standardbred Canada put on an excellent show,” said Laird. “The weather was great. The crowds were huge. There was a lot of excitement that was going on in the ring, a lot of bidding. There were a lot of excellent individuals there.”
Laird and his wife Kim operate the Icy Stables, which sold nine horses for a total of $247,000 to be the sale’s third leading consignor based on gross sales.
Jim gave a lot of the credit to his seven-member Icy Stables team that was kept busy showing all the horses over the weekend, but especially Brunos From Mars.
“Bruno was very busy on the Saturday. Even though the weather was rainy, the horse was shown in the alleyways all day long. He didn’t basically go back into his stall. On Sunday, we had him outside and, basically, it was a steady stream of people taking a look at him. A lot of the top trainers looked at him several times.”
Trainer Jack Darling of Cambridge, ON took Brunos From Mars and three other yearlings home from the sale with a total expenditure of $244,000. Darling said he loved Brunos From Mars as an individual.
Only Brad Grant of Milton, ON spent more, buying five years for $260,000 total, including the third- and fourth-highest priced yearlings sold — two Kadabra offspring. Grant bought the half-brother to What The Hill (out of K T Cha Char) for $80,000 out of the Preferred Equine Canada consignment and a filly out of Northern Blaze from the Northfields Farm consignment for $70,000.
Preferred led all consignors with a gross of $1,178,400 from 59 yearlings sold, which produced an average of $19,973. Northfields was the second leading consignor with six yearlings grossing $267,000 (average of $44,500).
“I thought the sale was very solid, very consistent compared to last year, which is good,” said Preferred’s David Reid. “Just in light of all the sales that are taking place in all the breeds, flat year over year may be the norm for the year and, at the end of the year, may be an accepted result. I felt the same today as I did last year. I thought the market was fair. I thought the attendance was pretty good. Overall, I thought the middle of the market held up well. For my consignment, I thought the sale was pretty successful.”
In all, 144 yearlings grossed $2,972,200, which was the sale’s highest total since 2011 when double the number of horses were sold. This year’s average of $20,640 was down some three per cent from the average of $21,350 fetched last year when 119 yearlings sold for $2,540,700.
Sale manager Heather Reid (no relation to David) told Standardbred Canada the sale started trending up in 2015.
“We started going up last year, with our average way up,” she said. “The positivity has continued this year. We sold more horses and we saw the sale gross increase dramatically… There is clearly some very positive energy among buyers and horsepeople, excited about their new prospects.”