Middle market softer than hoped during second session of SHSC Timonium auction

SHSC president and CEO Pete Spears said buyers either, “really wanted a horse or they weren’t as enthusiastic.”

by Dave Briggs

Standardbred Horse Sales Company (SHSC) president and CEO Pete Spears said his hopes that the middle market of the company’s yearling sale in at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, MD would hold up well didn’t come to fruition during Wednesday’s (Nov. 4) second of three yearling sessions.

“Basically, the high end is still in demand, but despite my favorable impressions of the middle market yesterday, I thought the middle market was soft for much of the day,” Spears said. “Though, it seemed to pick up somewhat in the last part of the session.”

Wednesday’s second session grossed $10,386,000 for 291 yearlings sold, producing an average of $35,691 and a median of $25,000. The gross was down more than $3 million (23 per cent) and the average was down 20 per cent from 2019’s second session which grossed $13,425,000 and averaged $44,750. In 2018, the second session grossed $12,091,000 and averaged $39,904.

Cumulatively, the 2020 sale has so far grossed $23,199,000, down nearly $9.5 million (29 per cent) from the two-day total in 2019. The average through two days is down 25 per cent from $69,769 to $52,133.

Through two sessions, 39 yearlings have sold for $100,000 or more.

Keep in mind, this is a pandemic year and most major sales are down from very strong 2019 auctions, so SHSC is following that trend, but being off nearly 30 per cent in gross, so far, is concerning.

“Consignor comments were also that the middle market was very weak and that people were getting some very, very good buys,” Spears said. “Even the buyers were saying that the middle market was weak, as well. Either they really wanted a horse or they weren’t as enthusiastic… it was really one or the other. That was a common observation.”

The very first yearling sold Wednesday topped the session. Trainer Tony Alagna, agent, signed for Hip #160 Nautical Hanover, a Captaintreacherous colt out of Naughty Marietta, for the price of $180,000. The colt was bred and consigned by Hanover Shoe Farms, which sold seven of the top eight yearlings on Wednesday, including the top three. Hip #410 Ivory Hanover, a Bettors Delight filly out of I’m Sassy, sold for $170,000 to John Floren. Hip #178 Peerless Hanover, a Cantab Hall filly out of Perfect Chance, sold to Trond Smedshammer for $150,000.

For the day, Hanover yearlings grossed $3,515,000 for 79 yearlings sold. Through the first two sessions, Hanover has a huge lead among consignors with $10,276,000 in gross sales, which amounts to 44 per cent of the entire sale’s gross. Hanover is leading the consignor list by nearly $8 million over Concord Stud ($2,479,000). Preferred Equine is third with $2,097,000 in gross sales through two days.

By average, with three or more yearlings sold, Diamond Creek tops the sale with an average of $79,500 for eight years. Twinbrook Farms is second with an average of $71,750 for four yearlings and Hanover is third with an average of $68,053 for 151 yearlings sold.

Serge Godin’s Determination continues to lead all buyers with $1,479,000 in purchases. Godin has bought 10 yearlings at the sale. Burke Racing Stable has paid $800,000, total, for 14 yearlings to rank second among buyers. David McDuffee is third with $765,000 spent on two yearlings on day one, including the current sale topper Hip #86 Delilah Hanover, which sold for $440,000.

The final session of the yearling sale starts today at 10 a.m. (EST). The 2020 SHSC sale caps with a two-day mixed sale on Friday, Nov. 6 and Saturday, Nov. 7. Both sessions also begin at 10 a.m. (EST).