On the opening day of the mixed sale, the White Birch Farm dispersal grossed $4,557,000 counting 30 mares and 17 stallion shares.
by Ray Cotolo
Uri Baylor sat alongside business partner Ernie Martinez in the backside of the sales ring of the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex on Thursday (Nov. 7) during day one of Standardbred Horse Sales Company’s Mixed Sale. For many years, Baylor invested in draft horses but then turned to standardbreds when Martinez came knocking a couple years ago. Baylor’s longtime friend Ola Yoder also expressed interest in investing in standardbreds, but had not yet thrown his hat into the ring.
Yoder started in the horse business like his friend Uri, investing in roadster horses. However his focus turned to standardbreds only recently when he took a shot buying part of Enterprise, a Chapter Seven stallion who won an elimination for the Hambletonian in 2017 and shipped to Sweden the year after.
“Here’s the deal: I’m retired from my business, a cabinet company,” Yoder said, “and then about four years ago I started investing in standardbreds. I sold more shares of my company and I find this is a very fun thing to do, getting involved in it, and that’s just what I’ve been doing.”
Yoder came loaded for the mixed sale’s opening session. White Birch Farm’s dispersal highlighted the afternoon with 30 high-class broodmares and 17 stallion shares being auctioned. White Birch’s long-time clients Preferred Equine handled the dispersal which grossed $3,513,000 for the mares and over $1 million for the stallion shares for a total gross of $4,557,000.
And though White Birch’s flame has dwindled, Yoder’s has sparked. He purchased five of the dispersed broodmares for bids totaling $690,000.
“I looked at the White Birch Farms mares, the quality of them,” Yoder said. “You couldn’t help yourself on that one, when you’ve got mares like that – the breeding, the value, everything. All the mares look great.”
Among the mares Yoder purchased was Dragon’s Tale, selling for $200,000. The Dragon Again filly produced Workin Ona Mystery and is currently in foal to Captaintreacherous. He also bought Please Beehave, a Muscle Hill mare and half-sister to world champion Bee A Magician, in foal to Chapter Seven for $230,000.
“That was a great one for Enterprise,” Yoder said of Please Beehave. “That’s what we’re looking for, we’re looking for good breeding, what sells…”
Yoder has a simple game plan investing in standardbreds: sell high-priced, well-bred yearlings.
“Our goal is to be down and sell something in Lexington or Harrisburg, on the first days,” Yoder said with a laugh. “I want to breed yearlings. That’s my goal. To me, racing, I’m too old for that.
“But you know I don’t have a farm myself. I wish I did, but there’s so many guys out there that love horses and I’m just helping them out along the way. I buy the horses and we have a partnership going… just like Dublin Valley, they want some pretty good stallions for Ohio and Indiana. I love these sales, so that’s what I’m looking for.”
Steve Stewart also capitalized on the White Birch dispersal. The head of Hunterton Farms acquired three broodmares for a total of $435,000.
“We made a lot of money with buying mares when Perretti had their dispersal, so it’s not a bad thing,” Stewart said. “Basically, you’re buying bloodlines from somebody’s lifetime of work and it’s a great opportunity. It’s not cheap to do it, but that’s fine, too. We’ve learned that you have to spend money to make money.”
First for Stewart came Act Now, a Western Ideal broodmare in foal to Captaintreacherous, selling for $175,000.
“We were surprised she only brought $175,000,” Stewart said. “That amount is never cheap, but it is for a mare that made $500,000 and produced very well. The 2-year-old looks like it’s off to a good start. We’ve learned over the years that you never get hurt when you buy the top quality.”
The highest price tag for Stewart came with My Little Dragon, a Dragon Again mare which sold for $230,000 in foal to Captaintreacherous.
“She’s just produced so well,” Stewart said. “The 2-year-old just won the Kindergarten. You’ve got to be careful and if a mare like that has had quite a few foals and she’s only had one good one, like Stay Hungry, but now, okay, you’ve got the 2-year-old. She sold for $300,000 as a yearling and the mare made $2.3 million. Those type of mares, to us, it’s an honor to own them.
“You’ve got a top of the market mare and (My Little Dragon) is 16 years old, so we’ll take her back to Kentucky and mares live a long time in Kentucky, in paradise, so hopefully we’ll get four or five more foals out of her.”
Mythical, the third broodmare purchased by Stewart, produced millionaire mare Medusa as well as Ontario Sires Stakes phenom Alicorn, but went for only $30,000.
“That’s age and not being in foal, but that doesn’t bother us,” Stewart said of the lower price tag. “We still think we’re young at heart. We’ll be around for a while and hopefully the mare will be, too. She’s similar to My Little Dragon in that she’s already produced a million-dollar winner in Medusa, but then the 2-year-old has made $400,000, so there’s a lot of activity and they’ve got other foals coming that will hopefully add to that.”
The investment for Stewart is large but the return, he says, is inevitable.
“You’re buying such deep-rooted trees that the fruit will come from other branches if they need to, if that makes sense,” he said.
Adam Bowden of Diamond Creek Farms topped the dispersal portion of the sale when paying $450,000 for Darlinonthebeach, the millionaire Somebeachsomewhere mare currently in foal to Always B Miki.
“We expected that she was going to be expensive and we were planning on her being a little bit more than that,” Bowden said, “so I feel like we got a pretty good deal. We bought her knowing that she’s in foal to ‘Miki’ and Miki was popular at the sales, both here and in Lexington. We’ve heard good things about them being broke and we like what we have on the ground so far.”
Celebrity Ruth drew the second-largest amount from the White Birch dispersal, going for $400,000 to Megan Velardo, an agent for Joseph Parisi not associated with the Michael Parisi estate that orchestrated the dispersal. Velardo also purchased Darlinonthebeach’s dam Darlin’s Delight for $190,000.
“Overall I’m pleased with the mares,” said Dave Reid of Preferred Equine. “Like I said before, it’s a little bittersweet, but the mares looked the part when they came in here today and it’s a credit to their hard work for all those years. I wish the purchasers the best of luck and I’m confident they are going to do very well.”
Outside the dispersal, Secret Passion sold for the second-highest overall price of the first mixed-sale session when going for $425,000 to Hanover Shoe Farms. The 5-year-old broodmare by Yankee Glide is a half-sister to millionaire and world champion Manchego as well as to In Secret, who has banked over $750,000.
Chapter Seven topped the stallion share portion of the session with four shares selling for a total of $512,000. Three shares for Captaintreacherous sold overall for $455,000 while Muscle Hill also had three shares sell, for $427,000 in total gross.
Lather Up — soon to stand his first year at stud — had a single share sell for $32,000. The world-record holder was also present in his own exhibit at the Diamond Creek consignment. Martinez, of Lather Up’s ownership group, said he “only brought the share so I could bring him to the sale.”
Thursday’s session grossed $12,482,000 with an average sale of $37,824. Those numbers far surpass the 2018 session figures of $5,198,000 gross and $21,568 average.
“Fantastic results today,” said Pete Spears, CEO of Standardbred Horse Sales Company. “Huge demand, especially for the dispersal mares, as we expected. Demand was high throughout the sale.”
“I thought it was a pretty good pace in there,” Reid said. “I thought the auctioneer and crew did a good job. I thought the attendance was good and the weanlings sold well. The better mares carried their weight. When you get into the regional mares, it just gets a little trickier, but overall it felt fairly good in there today.”
Cumulatively, the 2019 sale has grossed $53,265,000 — only $500,000 less than the 2018 gross of $53,764,000 for the whole sale. The combined yearling and mixed sale average of $45,721, so far, is up 20.6 per cent from the 2018 average of $37,902.
“Many people came in and said they were simply ‘shut out’ and are ready to go tomorrow,” Spears said.
Today’s session caps the 2019 Standardbred sale. Day two of the mixed sale will have racehorses go through the sales ring.
“I’m looking forward to (Friday),” Reid said. “Fabulous Fillies, we’ve got race fillies, which is going to tie into today. I think there’s a lot of breeders around here and it’s always an exciting time to see that, when you can maybe buy something to race and then take to the breeding shed afterwards or maybe even right to the breeding shed. So they are always fun to sell.”
The final sale session starts at 10 a.m. (EST).