Lexington Sale Smashes Records

The Lexington Selected Yearling Sale concluded Saturday night with a $56,304 average — that was a whopping 24.5 per cent better than the sale’s previous best — and a gross of $32.3 million that was the second highest in its history.

by Dave Briggs

The Lexington Selected Yearling Sale concluded Saturday night with some incredible numbers; including the second highest gross in the sale’s history despite fewer horses being sold and a record average of $56,304 that was up 24.5 per cent from the sale’s previous best.

“It was a very good sale overall, start to finish,” said David Reid, who manages the sale in partnership with Randy Manges. “As proud as you are to start off so strong, you’re equally proud to maintain it over five sessions and then even prouder to close out on a night like tonight. We had a smaller offering and a great crowd and Randy and I formatted the sale so we had offspring of unique, regional sires selling tonight, in addition to some trotters. Overall, I think it worked to a T and just caps off a fabulous week of weather and racing down here.”

In all, 573 yearlings produced a total gross of $32,262,000 and a record average of $56,304 that smashed the previous average record of $45,220, set last year. Despite 69 fewer horses being sold this year compared to last, the gross was up $3.23 million and 11 per cent from the $29,031,000 fetched last year when 642 horses were sold. This year’s gross was the second highest in sale history behind only the $35,648,962 set in 2007 when 791 yearlings were sold — 218 more than this year. This year’s gross barely exceeded the $32,111,742 brought in 2008.

“The average record, that’s always nice, but I’m a numbers guy — you know, the bottom line,” Manges said. “Like with you, are you happy that you averaged seven more ads in the magazine or do you like it when you have lots of ads and you have the bottom line covered? It’s your bottom line, so the gross is what’s important for us to have a good sale. The gross is also important for the consignors, to help them pay their bills.”

Reid and Manges both predicted the sale would remain strong throughout and Saturday’s numbers bore that out.

The fifth session saw 82 yearlings sell for $1,709,000 combined to produce an average of $20,841 that was 30 per cent higher than the $16,022 average posted during the fifth session a year ago when 91 yearlings fetched a total gross of $1,458,000.

The session topper came with just a handful of horses left to go through the ring. Irwin Samelman of Las Vegas, NV purchased hip 597, an Always A Virgin colt out of My Best Girl named Romantic Interest for $110,000 out of the Preferred Equine consignment.

One horse earlier, agent Bryan Montgomery of Cream Ridge, NJ purchased Saturday’s next highest priced yearling when he paid $62,000 for an RC Royalty—My Baby’s Momma colt named ROC Royal that was sold by Midland Acres.

Even the sale’s leading buyer, Jimmy Takter, got into the act on the final night. Takter purchased a My MVP—Summer Savory colt named Wolfgang from the Brittany Farms consignment for $60,000. In all, Takter purchased 12 horses and spent $2,090,000, nearly double the amount spent by the next highest buyer, Robert Lindstrom, acting as an agent for Lennart Agren’s SRF Stable of Boden, Sweden. The Lindstrom/Agren partnership spent $1,087,000, total, on seven yearlings.

The Burke Racing Stable LLC was third on the buyers’ list with $942,000 spent on 14 horses. That number would be much higher if Ron Burke had been able to land the full-brother to Mission Brief during the Tuesday (Oct. 4) session. Burke said he was the underbidder at $750,000 for the son of Muscle Hill out of Southwind Serena named Tactical Landing consigned by Steve and Cindy Stewart’s Hunterton Farm. An international group led by agent Ernie Martinez of East Prospect, PA, purchased Tactical Landing for $800,000.

The $800,000 bid was the second most in harness racing history for a yearling at auction and the most for a yearling sold in Kentucky. Only the $825,000 bid by John Cancelliere for Donato Hanover’s full-brother Detour Hanover at the 2011 Harrisburg sale is higher.

Tactical Landing will be trained by Kentucky’s Bob Stewart, Steve’s brother.

Hunterton was the sale’s second highest grossing consignor, selling 81 yearlings for a total of $5,316,000.

David Reid’s Preferred Equine topped all consignors with a gross of $7,521,000 for 119 yearlings.

“That is a personal best for Preferred at this sale,” Reid said. “The majority of my consignors were very happy. You can always find a few things to improve. I think I might have made a mistake placing a few horses, but that’s something we’ll go back and review and try to improve for next year, even though we had an outstanding result. I didn’t think we’d beat last year’s numbers overall for the sale and here we came back and had a stronger sale. I’m really happy for the industry and totally satisfied overall.”

Two sires dominated the sale, as expected — Muscle Hill on the trotting side and Somebeachsomewhere with pacers. The two accounted for $10,769,000 in sales, 33 per cent of the total sale gross despite representing just 16 per cent of the total number of yearlings sold.

Muscle Hill led all sires in gross with $5,948,000 from 52 yearlings, an average of $114,385.

Somebeachsomewhere led the sale in average with $123,615 from 39 yearlings that sold for $4,821,000 combined.

The next closed sire in average (with more than three yearlings sold) was Kadabra who averaged $82,091 for 11 yearlings.

Canadian buyers spent $4,236,000 at the sale, 13.1 per cent of the total. Europeans were close behind, accounting for 11.2 per cent of the total, with $3,612,000 spent in all. Just over 75 per cent of the yearlings were sold to U.S. buyers.

“There was a lot of energy in the crowd and I can’t thank the consumers enough for participating and staying around all week,” Reid said. “It really was a great week from an operational point of view. We can’t thank the purchasers enough and we wish them all the good luck and may their horses go on to be future champions, internationally or in their own regions. It truly was a fun week.”

Manges said perfect weather all week helped, but the reason the sale was such a success really came down to a simple equation: “I think the key was that we had good horses to sell,” he said. “Good horses sell well, and I don’t care what sale you’re at… the best horse they will pay for.”
their presence felt and I think that’s good for everyone.”