During Friday’s fourth sale session, the total gross soared over $34 million, a number which is already higher than the gross of the entire 2016 sale that some considered unbeatable.
by Dave Briggs
After four of five sale sessions, the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale has already surpassed the gross for the entire 2016 sale and is now gunning for the all-time record heading into tonight’s final session at the Fasig-Tipton Pavilion in Lexington, KY.
Thanks to 124 yearlings grossing $3,674,000 combined on Friday night, the sale gross, so far, is now $34,069,000, which has already surpassed the $32,262,000 reached in 2016 for the entire sale. Through four sessions, the gross is up 11.5 per cent from the $30,553,000 fetched through four nights last year. Also, this year’s fourth-session average of $29,629 is up 16.1 per cent over the fourth-session average in 2016 of $25,522. Through four sessions, the average of $63,680 is up 2.34 per cent over the average of $62,226 reached through four nights in 2016.
The all-time record gross for the sale was set in 2007 which had total sales of $35,648,962 when 791 yearlings were sold.
“If we have a solid closing session, the all-time record for gross is in jeopardy,” said David Reid, who manages the sale with Randy Manges.
Both Manges and Reid said the fact this year’s sale is on the verge of breaking records after a gangbusters 2016 auction in which the top yearlings fetched $800,000, $550,000 and $450,000, respectively, is amazing.
Reid said he was the first one to predict that this year’s sale would be down compared to 2016. Manges said he thought the same, so, to be realistic, he did his projections for this year in comparison to the 2015 sale.
“If you had told me on Monday (that we would break records this year), well, I would have thought it was an imaginary world,” Manges said. “I did my comparisons to 2015 because we had such a dream sale last year that I didn’t expect this.”
Reid said he believes the sale has been so strong because of “the diversity in the sire power and the amount of new product coming on the market, with not only Captaintreacherous and Sweet Lous and not only Father Patricks and Trixtons, but also the regional sires. Sunshine Beach sold one for $100,000, Royalty For Life sold one for $100,000, E L Titan sold one for $100,000. Tomorrow night, you’re going to have some Uncle Peters selling, on top of the Somebeachsomewheres and the Muscle Hills. There’s a lot of diversity for product and I think that’s what is driving the lack of fireworks in the $250,000 to $300,000 horses, but it’s also driving the $100,000 market and it’s driving the median and driving the average.
“The median was up again this session, looks like another 20 per cent or so. We went from $21,000 to $25,000. The average was up from $25,000 last year to $29,000. We sold more horses (Friday) than last year and had a great crowd, with a great energy. We had a great pace to the sale and it was very satisfying — just to repeat what we’ve been saying all along, that our catalogue is very strong.”
With 98 horses set to sell tonight beginning at 7 p.m., Reid figures the last session would need to average around $18,000 or more for the sale to set a new record for gross. That number is entirely reachable give the strength of the sale so far and the fact that last year’s final session averaged $20,841.
“I think it shows that there’s a need for horses,” Manges said, “and this is the logical place to come and get them. Where else do you get them? We used to have such strong racehorse mixed sales and now there’s no such thing. Trainers don’t need to put them in horse sales anymore. If you’ve got a good horse and you’re reasonable with your price and you can’t get it sold, there’s something wrong with you. Every time I turn around I talk to guys and they say, ‘If you talk to anybody out in the Midwest and they’ve got some horses for sale let me know’. And these guys in the Midwest are saying, ‘I can race my horse twice a week if I want to. I don’t need to sell them. There’s plenty to race for and there’s good money.’”
In 2016, 573 yearlings were sold at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale for a gross of $32,262,000 and a record average of $56,304 that smashed the previous average record of $45,220 set in 2015.
Friday’s session saw two more horses surpass $100,000 to bring the total of $100,000+ yearlings through four sessions to 101.
“We only sold 77 last year, so 24 more is significant,” Reid said.
Manges said that last year no yearlings fetched $100,000 or more in the fourth session.
Friday’s session-topper was Mettle, a Trixton colt out of Angelette Hanover that brought a bid of $180,000 from Celebrity Farms LLC of New York, NY. The colt was sold by Hunterton Sales Agency, Inc. on behalf of breeders Steve Stewart of Hunterton and Michael Andrew of Gorham, ME.
Hunterton was the leading consignor on Friday with 22 yearlings selling for $829,000 in total.
The second-highest priced yearling sold Friday was Tangent, a Cantab Hall filly out Fraction purchased by Marcus Melander, agent for Toronto’s Al Libfeld, for $100,000. Tangent was bred and sold by Diamond Creek Farm.
“Again, tonight, the Ontario-breds were very strong, which helped the sale,” Manges said. “We are selling more Ontario-breds this year and there are a lot of Ontario guys here – and Quebec guys – and they are all participating. We’re getting good participation from them and we had a lot of nice Ontario-bred yearlings to sell. It’s been a good run, with the ones we had to sell. Royalty For Lifes, they really did well the last couple of nights. We didn’t have many Archangels, but the ones we had sold well. I’m pleased with their response to some of the new Ontario sires.
“We didn’t have many Sunshine Beaches, but I think one brought $187,000 and one brought $45,000. They are very nice horses. That one we sold for $187,000 last night, he was a top, top colt. He was a grand individual. People that hadn’t gone to see him, when he walked in, people wanted to know who he was. That was the kind of presence the horse had. He was a great horse.”
Overall, Reid said the success of the sale is, “a credit to the breeders and I’m happy to see the public respond. I can’t wait to see the graduates next year.”
Reid’s Preferred Equine still holds a wide lead over other consignors with just shy of $8 million in total sales from 130 yearlings. Kentuckiana Farms is second with more than $4.5 million in sales and Hunterton Sales Agency is next with more than $3.9 million.
The top four buyers remain Jimmy Takter ($1,057,000), Burke Racing Stable ($925,000), Gino Toscano ($902,000) and Ake Svanstedt ($882,000), followed by Team Allard ($882,000) and Determination Stable ($790,000).
Stallions Muscle Hill and Somebeachsomewhere continue to top the sire list as in previous years. Muscle Hill is averaging $115,857 through three nights with 49 sold. Somebeachsomewhere is second on the list (for stallions with three or more offspring sold) with an average of $103,448 for 29 sold. Father Patrick is next with an average of $82,048 for 21 sold. New pacers Sweet Lou ($79,154 for 26 sold) and Captaintreacherous ($70,481 for 52 sold) are fifth and seventh, respectively on the sire list by average.
“Overall, it seems like there’s been good flow and the numbers have supported that and I’m looking forward to (tonight) and Saturday night,” Reid said. “There’s a lot of nice horses and there’s a nice mixture. It’s a very healthy environment right now and that’s great to see.”