Lexington consignors talk economics, tout their yearlings

The opening sessions is expected to produce fireworks, but the depth of the sale may ultimately be the story.

quotes by Chris Tully / story by Dave Briggs

David Reid, who manages the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale with Randy Manges, said fireworks during tonight’s opening session at Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion will be nice, but he believes the story of this year’s five-night sale will be the overall strength of the catalogue.

“We’re selling a few more horses this year than we did the last few years on opening night. I think opening night will be good and I also think that the following nights will be equally as good, just because of the depth of the catalogue,” Reid said. “I think the catalogue is very deep and very diverse. I think it’s going to be a good market to sell in, but I also think it’s going to be a good market to buy into as well, just because of the diversity.”

On Monday, Reid reported strong foot traffic at his Preferred Equine consignment despite a heat wave in Lexington that is expected to last most of the week.

“I actually think the buyers and the lookers here this week have tolerated it pretty well,” Reid said. “We’ve just tried to get extra fans and extra water around. Our staff and the prospective buyers have handled it well so far.

“It’s probably fortunate that we’re selling at night and it’ll cool off a little bit and that should help the atmosphere a little bit, but it’s definitely hot, there’s no doubt about that. The weatherman’s job is secure because he’s been right all week, so far.”

Economic indicators

As for the strength of the economy, 13 consignors weighed in:

• “I think it’s just going to be the best sale of all time for many reasons,” said Brittany Farms’ Art Zubrod. “One, the tremendous catalogue and, two, the economy is good. People have money in their pocket. I’m not sure they are real confident with that money, so why no spend it?”

• “I think the economy is doing well,” said Winbak Farms owner Joe Thomson, who also owns and operates Pacer Financial. “Employment is good. You’ve got inflation low and interest rates are low and the stock market has done very, very well. In the last two years, it’s gone from 18,002, the Dow, to almost 27,000. So it’s almost increased 50 per cent, so when those things happen then people have discretionary income to spend. I would say that now that racing is where it is, with people able to make money in racing, that all those things lead to, I would think, a very successful fall for yearling sales.”

• “The economy seems to be holding okay and I expect the market to be solid this year and probably similar to last,” said Reid.

• “I think first night is going to be phenomenal,” said Beth Yontz of Anvil and Lace Farm. “I think it’s going to be great. I think we’re all happy with the activity we’ve all had… and not just myself, but other consignments as I’m looking around. The who’s who is here, looking at horses, which is what you want, but you’re also seeing the smaller guys. Like, Kentucky announced their purse increase and doing the possible two series and I think that’s great because that will now get the smaller guys back involved, where they were kind of disappointed, saying, ‘We can’t compete with the big guys.’ Well, if they have somewhere to race these lesser horses, they will go back to buying a few. That way, the bottom doesn’t drop out completely. I think the high end are always safe, it’s the medium to bottom market that you need some help and I think something like that will really help.”

• “The economy is very good,” said Bob Brady of Kentuckiana Farms. “The stock market is up and, of course, Keeneland had a good sale and we tend to follow Keeneland. The better horses, the top end of the market, will be very strong.”

• “My economic indicators are that I’ve seen a lot of big money out there,” said Michelle Crawford of Crawford Farms. “I think that the sales are going to be strong. I think you’ve got a lot of people that are getting excited about winning races and coming here to find their next champion. I think Atlanta has helped set the bar on the Chapter Sevens. I think people are really interested to take a shot. I think the money is strong in Ohio now and I think New York has always been a strong program, and obviously PA. Indiana is coming on, so I really think you’ve got a more diverse crowd than maybe 10 years ago, so I think it will be strong.”

• “It’s always good here. It’s always a good sale,” said Northwood Bloodstock’s Bob Boni. “It’s the same conversation every year – how are the thoroughbreds? How’s the market? and it just doesn’t seem to have any significant bearing. It really doesn’t. It seems that people just come down here and they buy horses.”

• “I think that racing opportunities are strong and I think the sales will be strong,” said Cameo Hills’ Steve Jones.

• “I would say the impact indicators are extremely strong,” said Hunterton’s Steve Stewart. “We’ve already raced for $14 million to $15 million more in purses this year and I think we’re purse-driven in our industry. That’s number one. Number two, the other reason why I think it’ll be very strong, is the fact that so many of the high-priced racehorses have done well. The colt we sold for Jim Avritt last year that won the Metro was $330,000. Greenshoe was $330,000. The filly that won yesterday’s Bluegrass, Beautiful Sin, was $480,000, so that will embolden the big buyers to continue to bid. It hasn’t always been like that. Several years… it almost goes in trends a little bit.”

• “We do a lot of praying in this business,” said Senena Esty of Spring Haven Farm. “I think there’s a lot of positivity. I think the economy is very strong and I’m just looking really positive… I’m a glass-half-full kinda girl.”

• “I think it’s like always is, the good ones will sell and the others won’t. I’ve had sales during really bad economic times and they seem like it didn’t make much of an effect,” said Peninsula Farm’s Carter Duer.

• “The book is really strong and people are racing and making money, so I think the money will be there, especially on Day 1,” said Diamond Creek’s Adam Bowden. “The catalogue is strong and I would guess it’ll be at least comparable to last year, if not better.”

Touting their yearlings

Consignors talk about the highlights from their consignments:

Bob Brady – Kentuckiana

“Obviously, we have the full-brother to Greenshoe, hip 44 (Maverick). He’s outstanding. And number 65 (Really Fast), it’s a Muscle Hill brother to Ms Savannah Belle. Then number 61 (Stormy Volo) is a Southwind Frank brother to Lily Stride. Those three trotting colts are awesome,” Brady said.

Adam Bowden – Diamond Creek Farm

“We’ve got a Father Patrick filly on Day 2 that we really like,” Bowden said, adding his sleeper pick is hip #400, a Creatine filly out of Sassy Syrinx. “It’s a good filly family and it’s her second foal, first filly, and she’s done everything right. She checks a lot of boxes and outside of the fact that she’s a Creatine… I think if she was a Father Patrick, Muscle Hill or Chapter Seven, she’d be a Day 1-type filly and we’d really ring the bell.”

Steve Jones — Cameo Hills

“I think the highlight is the colt we’re looking at right there, number 70, he sells opening night. That’s the Betting Line colt out of Thirty X (named Rifleman),” said Jones. “I’ve also got an Always B Miki filly out of Yellow Diamond and a Miki filly out of a sister to Huntsville. I would say those are probably my highlights as we start the sale.”

Jones said a sleeper pick from his 27-horse consignment (counting ones he’s consigned as agent), is hip #211 Send It In Jerome, a Betting Line colt out of Southwind Siren.

“He’s a very chancy colt. I think that’s something that could be special,” Jones said.

Joe Thomson and Jimmy Ladwig — Winbak Farms

Winbak Farms yearling manager Jimmy Ladwig said he expects the farm’s top yearlings will be hip #35 filly Debtors Adversary (Chapter Seven—Mets Rival), hip #59 filly Bet On Chrissy (Betting Line—Sports Chic), hip #75 colt Hall It In (Cantab Hall—Mets Inn) and hip #88 colt Bar Harbor (Somebeachsomewhere—Weeper)

Farm owner Joe Thomson said he likes hip #23, a Somebeachsomewhere colt out of Hallie Gallie named Bali Beach.

“That’s a great-looking colt, big, good-looking colt, and it wasn’t on Jim’s list that he brought up, but if it was me I’d be looking at that colt pretty closely. The Hallie Gallie family is a Galleria family and it’s very deep. She’s been a good producer and it’s a colt that’s got all the parts,” Thomson said.

Winbak is scheduled to sell 92 yearlings in Lexington.

Carter Duer – Peninsula Farm

“My major highlight is withdrawn from the sale, so that was a Muscle Hill out of Bee A Magician, but after that, it’s a pretty nice group. Not any brothers or sisters to anything really famous, but a pretty nice group of horses,” Duer said of his consignment of 44 yearlings. “I have a Muscle Hill filly out of Maven (Mavens Deb, Hip 162), who is pretty nice. It’s a pretty good group, but I just don’t have any real sale-toppers.”
Duer said his sleeper might be hip #198, a Muscle Hill colt named Rare Muscle.

“It won’t probably be a high-priced horse, but he’s an exceptional horse. If he had just a little bit different pedigree he could compete with some of these others out here that they are talking about, but his pedigree is kind of old-fashioned, but he’s a nice horse,” Duer said.

Art Zubrod — Brittany Farms

“I’m spread all over this year. Normally, it’s trotting colts, but we had a departure year where we only had four trotting colts and five pacing colts born for the whole year. We’ve got a couple of really nice ones there and a couple of really nice trotting fillies and, for the first time, we’ve got an extremely strong consignment of pacing fillies,” Zubrod said.

“We’re selling some top ones over the first three days, in fact, my last horse in the sale, Captaintreacherous out of Baez, Hip 630, might be my favorite pacing filly right now… I don’t think she’s a sleeper right now because I’ve shown her to so many people and she’s very popular.”

Senena Esty — Spring Haven

“We have the brother to Stonebridge Soul, Hip 45 (Stonebridge Reef), selling the first night. We have a really nice Muscle Hill filly, number 91 (BabyIloveyourway) on the first night, as well as a Father Patrick, Hip 119 (DDs Diamond),” Esty said.

“Then coming up the second night, a standout Somebeachsomewhere colt, number 241 (Beach Chief). The first foal out of Elegant Serenity would be Hip 274 (Serenity Joy)and a gorgeous Kadabra filly, Hip 295 (Tealicious). I’d be remiss in saying Hip 146 (Muscle Mex) is a Muscle Hill colt that has an awesome, awesome video. There are also a couple of nice Captaintreacherouses, Hip 344 (Captains Maid) and Hip 551 (Captain Income).”

Esty said her pick for a sleeper from her consignment is hip #427, a Betting Line colt named Amazing Bet.

“He’s fancy and he’s got a great video. I hear he looks a lot like his dad,” she said.

Michelle Crawford – Crawford Farms

I would have to say, Anndrovette’s Always B Miki filly (Hip 10, Nashville Elgenna) and Krispy Apple’s Always B Miki filly (Hip 85, Krispy Ginger), just because of how great they were on the track. They are superstars and to see what they produce in first foals is going to be exciting.
“I think the fact that we have eight Chapter Sevens her — we had nine and one got sick — I think that’s been a huge draw for everybody. Everybody just wants to see them. With these crosses, you just don’t know who’s going to hit. Historically, he hasn’t been bred to great mares, but I think now that he’s caught on and he’s shown himself as possibly the new Muscle Hill – and I will go out on a ledge and say that – I think you can’t help but look at them.

Crawford thinks her sleeper will be hip 199, Avel.

“He might get overlooked because he’s a Credit Winner, but he’s out of Rise N Shine. She had a Muscle Hill filly that made the races, but she had a Kadabra colt that’s been heavily in the money in Ontario Sires Stakes program and he’s just a stunning individual. I think if he had Chapter Seven over his name and not Credit Winner, he’d be a super sale-topper for us, because he’s just a great individual.”

David Reid — Preferred Equine

Reid, who represents many breeders, was reluctant to pick highlights from his consignment.

“Generally, I don’t comment on that, but I would say (Preferred’s consignment is) pretty broad,” Reid said. “I’m similar (in numbers) year over year. We have good representation right across the board. We’re representing a lot of breeders and a lot of jurisdictions. We have something for everybody, and all jurisdictions, for sure. I’m looking forward to the whole week.”

Bob Boni – Northwood Bloodstock

Boni said he thinks the star of his 17-yearling consignment is hip #63, an Always B Miki colt out of Storm Point named Sunmoonstars Above.

“I haven’t really gone too much beyond that, but I think he’s exceptional,” Boni said.

Beth Yontz — Anvil and Lace Farm

“The Always B Mikis are so nice. I have one out of a daughter of See You At Peelers, which is her first foal. Her name is Adjacent (Hip 482) and she actually sells third night,” Yontz said. “I have another one (Dancin In Lace, Hip 284) out of my good mare, Dance With The Best, and it might be one of the nicest foals the mare has ever had, which is hard to say because she’s the dam of Dancin Yankee. I also have a colt, first foal, Mega Miki, selling number #21, so that’s my first first-night horse ever, so that’s exciting.”

As far as a sleeper she is selling from her 30-horse consignment, Yontz pointed to hip# 579, an E L Titan out of Tellyalittlesecret.

“I don’t know how the E L Titans are really going to be looked at, but she is all trot and the easiest horse we videoed,” Yontz said.

Elizabeth Caldwell – Cane Run Farm

“We have a nice group this year. We’re really pleased with the pedigrees and individual-wise. We have a full brother to Propulsion, so that one is really exciting (Hip 105, Damien),” Caldwell said of her consignment of 10 yearlings. “We have a very nice Muscle Hill colt out of Bright Baby Blues (Hip 100, By N By). We have a nice Cantab, half-brother to Habitat (Hip 132, On A Streak). A couple New York breds, one is a Chapter Seven and he’s exciting (Six O’Clock News, Hip 399)… It’s a really nice group.

As far as a sleeper, Caldwell said she has a nice Bar Hopping filly (Paint By Numbers, Hip 546).

“It’s his first crop and everyone seems to really like her. That one is nice,” Caldwell said. “It’s hard to pick one out because they’ve all shown quite a bit so far. I think everyone likes the Propulsion brother, so the other ones are getting overshadowed, but they are very nice yearlings as well. The other Muscle Hill colt, By N By, he’s very nice. Totally different horses, but really nice.”

Steve Stewart – Hunterton Farms

“I would say the highlight for our horses is number 7 (Ineffable), number 39 (My Abigail), number 68 (One Alpha One)… Those are all trotting fillies,” Stewart said. “I would say, on the pacing side, number 25 (Wicked Ways) and number 90 (Emissary). For pacing colts, number 30 (Irreverent), number 40 (Commanding Officer) and number 41 (Beach Party)

Stewart said he thinks his sleeper will be one that sells on the last day — either hip #744 Perron or hip #730 Lockbox

“Both last day horses are very nice. There’s, obviously, several other ones, but those would be two that are kind of fun because they are on the last day. Both of those are ‘last day’ because they are Ohio breds.”