London Sale gunning for $7 million again this year

Ann Straatman, sale manager of the London Selected Yearling Sale, said she hopes to continue the momentum achieved in the auction’s first two years. The sale will be held Saturday and Sunday at the Metroland Media Agri-Plex at the Western Fair District in London, ON.

by Dave Briggs

In each of its first two years, the London Selected Yearling Sale grossed more than $7 million and sale manager Ann Straatman said Thursday she has no reason to believe this year’s sale, being held Saturday and Sunday (Oct. 19-20) at the Metroland Media Agri-Plex facility at the Western Fair District in London, ON, won’t be equally strong.

In 2017, the current sale was born when the Forest City Yearling Sale and Standardbred Canada’s Canadian Yearling Sale decided to join forces to stage one auction.

“I think having created one sale for all breeders in Ontario to show their yearlings, having one marketplace, has been the best for the industry and the prices the last few years have shown that,” Straatman said. “We can sell horses for as high a price in Ontario as they can in Lexington or Harrisburg. There’s good quality here.”

In 2018, 312 yearlings combined to gross $7,064,800 for an average of $22,644. The gross was down 6.3 per cent from the $7,536,000 fetched in 2017 when 306 yearlings sold. The 2018 average was off 8.1 per cent from the 2017 average of $24,627, but Straatman pointed out some 30 horses sold at the end of the second session were originally scheduled to sell in the London Mixed Sale that was cancelled due to lack of entries.

This year, some 300 yearlings are scheduled to be sold over two days, with the first 124 selling on Saturday. Both sale sessions begin at noon.

Straatman said she is excited about this year’s yearlings from first-crop sires such as Control The Moment, State Treasurer, Il Sogno Dream and Physicallyinclined.

“(Potential buyers) have been excited about how they look,” Straatman said. “The Control The Moments look great on the videos, so do State Treasurers. Just awesome. I haven’t seen the Physicallyinclined colt on video and Il Sogno Dream is still a very popular horse racing in Ontario, so I’m sure that he’ll have a following as well.

“I think we had four or five first-crop stallions last year as well, so I think it really creates some excitement.”

Straatman said Ontario has a lot of top veteran stallions whose progeny should be getting a lot of attention at the sale.

“People have got to be excited about the Bettors Delights, the Kadabras, the Muscle Masses, the Sportswriters… I’m hoping that they will continue their great average that they have in years past. We certainly have some great offerings by pedigree for those sires, so I think that people will have a lot to choose from this consignment,” Straatman said.

Naturally, the yearlings sold in London are predominantly Ontario-sired horses, but that doesn’t make them only regional horses. This year alone, Ontario-sired horses have won the Hambletonian (Forbidden Trade (Kadabra)), Meadowlands Pace (Best In Show (Bettors Delight)) Metro Pace (Tall Dark Stranger (Bettors Delight)) and more.

“I hope people realize that Ontario can compete on the world stage. We’re a competitive province and we have a great program in Ontario, but I’m glad to see more and more people stepping out onto the Grand Circuit stage and showing that our horses are competitive all over North America,” Straatman said.

She said she hopes the fact that Breeders Crown eliminations are this weekend will draw extra traffic to London for the sale.

“The last time we were on this weekend we had a lot of U.S. buyers come in and just U.S traffic, even if they weren’t buyers,” Straatman said. “It’s just another level of exposure for us.”

Complete sale roster here.