The second night of the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale saw new record highs for session gross ($17,927,000), average ($84,164) and six-figure yearlings (61) and established new standards for gross ($36,467,000), average ($111,180) and $100,000+ yearlings (130) through two days.
quotes by James Platz / story by Dave Briggs
(*Editor’s note: Due to a software problem after Wednesday’s sale session ended we are unable to bring you the stats pages for the sale at this time. All the pertinent numbers are in this story and, if possible, we will publish 2nd and 3rd night statistics in the Friday, Oct. 8 issue.)
The Lexington Selected Yearling Sale remained on a torrid, record pace through its second session held Wednesday (Oct. 6) at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion.
The sale set records for second-session gross ($17,927,000), average ($84,164) and six-figure yearlings (61) and has also established new two-day standards for gross ($36,467,000), average ($111,180) and $100,000+ yearlings (130).
The second session was up 60 per cent in gross and up 36 per cent in average compared to the second night of the sale in 2020. Through two nights, the sale is up 38 per cent in gross and up 26 per cent in average compared to a year ago.
“It was a very consistent marketplace both nights and to come in here tonight and average $85,000 over 213 horses, it’s a testament to the breeders again and the quality of the horses that are here,” said the sale’s co-manager David Reid.
“We’ve said it before, the depth of our catalogue with the sire power and the maternal power I think that’s why you’re seeing these results. It’s deep and strong. We have more to offer the rest of the week. It’s really exciting and gratifying, on behalf of the whole entire staff. We’re looking forward to it.
“We’re at $36 million in gross. In 2019, through two nights we were at $31 million. We sold a few more horses tonight, but the average… we’re averaging, for the two nights, $111,000 for 328 horses. That’s healthy.”
The second session in 2020 produced a gross of $11,171,000 and an average of $61,718 for 181 yearlings sold. The 2019 second session produced a gross of $13,068,000 and an average of $75,103 for 181 yearlings sold.
The previous record for the second session gross and average was set in 2018 when it grossed $13,651,000 and averaged $83,748.
Sixty-one yearlings sold for at least $100,000 on Wednesday, compared to 31, 40 and 36 that hit six-figures in 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively, during the second session.
Through two days, this year’s auction has seen 328 yearlings sold for a total gross of $36,467,000 and an average of $111,180. In 2020, the two-day total for gross was $26,408,000 and the average was $88,321 for 299 sold. In 2019, the two-day gross was $31,274,000 and the average was $107,103.
The median through two days is $80,000. It was $65,000 through two days in 2020, $75,000 through two days in 2019 and $85,000 through the first two session in 2018.
This year, 130 yearlings have sold for $100,000 or more through two sessions up from 91 in 2020 and 108 in 2019.
Wednesday’s session, which started at 3 p.m., ended around 10:15 p.m.
In 2020, the nighttime session that started at 7 p.m. ended around 12:20 a.m.
Kentuckiana’s Bob Brady said the sale, through two nights has, “just been fantastic” with consistent results throughout the second session. He said opening night had, “big highs with a 25 per cent increase in the average… and there’s a lot of prices in the $100,000 range and up. I’m actually happier (with the second session) than I was opening day because there’s more of a level market. It’s been good, the enthusiasm has been great. I definitely think that the news about the Kentucky program has really helped spur the market because people know they have a lot of options to get out and to make money.”
Kentuckiana, the second leading consignor by gross sales on night two ($2,443,000) and third overall through two nights ($4,305,000) is selling a lot of Father Patrick yearlings this year.
“I think people realized that this is the crop he had after Greenshoe’s 2-year-old year and they all bred back to Father Patrick,” Brady said. “A lot of high-quality mares went back to him, so this group of yearlings is actually as good or better than the first-year crop and I think the buyers recognize that and they are giving a fair dollar for them. We’re happy.”
PACING FILLIES REMAIN STRONG
Overall, Brady said he is surprised with the strength of the pacing fillies, which averaged $109,515 through two sessions and rank only behind trotting fillies in average ($129,191) through two nights.
“They have been tremendously strong,” Brady said of the pacing fillies. “So, if I’m surprised, I’m surprised by that. It’s the market we kind of expected, but… I wasn’t expecting so many $500,000 yearlings, that’s also been a very pleasant surprise.”
Trainer Tony Alagna said a strong market for pacing fillies is, “a great indicator for the business. They used to give them away and now people are buying them and thinking about what they are going to do. If you follow the Brittany Farms philosophy that’s how they built their broodmare band, by buying tremendous yearling fillies and thinking about what they were worth if they didn’t make it to the racetrack… what could they contribute to the broodmare band. Nobody can say anything negative about what Brittany has done in this business, that’s for sure.”
SESSION TOPPER BRINGS $525,000
Hip 268 Wall To Wall topped Wednesday’s session with a bid of $525,000 from Nancy Takter. The Walner filly out of Pearl Axe It was consigned by Reid’s Preferred Equine, the leading consignor by gross sales ($4,027,000) during the second session. Through two nights, Preferred sits second in gross sales ($5,326,000) to Hunterton ($5,488,000).
Preferred and Lindy Farms of Connecticut bred Wall To Wall. The filly was raised at Lindy Farms.
“We’re fortunate to represent a lot of breeders and small breeders,” Reid said, “So, this is a big week for them. The fall is an important time. For the most part, I’m very satisfied. There were some pockets early on… trying to figure out what we did wrong to potentially improve for the future but the marketplace is going to dictate. They are the judge and the jury and you’ve just got to learn from it and go forward.
“I think overall I’m not going to complain, you just keep trying to get better every year.
As for what Takter liked about Wall To Wall, she said, “She’s a Walner, very well put together. Lindy Farms does a great job raising their horses, so you know you’re buying a good quality product. She’s got an interesting pedigree, being European on the dam side. Hopefully, some of that European flair with the Walner will make her super-fast, super strong and she’ll be really good next year.”
Through two days, Takter is the sale’s leading buyer. She has spent $2,747,000, total, to purchase 11 yearlings.
“I pretty much bought everything that I planned on coming to buy and then a couple of extra,” she said, laughing. “You have to have horses or else you’re not going to have horses to race next year.
“I was really happy that we got some of the pacers. We got a Lazarus filly [hip 146, Canadian Ballet $105,000] that I was pretty happy about – sister to See You At Peelers. I think Lazarus is going to do very well and she’s dual eligible so that helps. There aren’t that many of them in New Jersey, so you can race in the New Jersey Sires Stakes from the beginning. Hopefully, we can make some money early. She was a beautiful filly.
“We got some Tactical Landings that were nice. I think the Tactical Landings have been very well priced right now and I’m kind of happy that I’m getting in right now, because I think they’ll be more expensive next year.
“Of course, you have to be a little bit careful with an unproven stallion because you don’t know what you’re getting, but in Tactical Landings case they are beautiful individuals and they seem to have a lot of power in their gait, if you watch their videos, when they turn up the field. I’m happy with the ones that I bought.”
HEIMBECKER ULTRA GAME
Owner Steve Heimbecker is the sale’s second leading buyer through two sessions. The Ontario resident has spent $2,342,000, total, to purchase 19 yearlings — eight on day one and 11 during the second session.
“For me, it’s about numbers this year. I bought the highest-priced filly in North America last year for $375,000, Lightnier, and changed the name to The Big Hen. You can spend a lot of money, but I think it’s about value. These are the best horses and I believe this is the best sale. I’ve got a lot of friends here that I haven’t seen in a long time, so I think you mix everything together – everyone is trying to buy some horses and they haven’t seen each other in a while, so I think it’s the perfect storm,” Heimbecker said.
“We weren’t here last year so that means something. A lot of the stuff I bought last year, I never saw… there’s nothing like being here and I think there’s a little… pent up buying power right now and that’s the best way to put it because I really believe that coming from Canada or driving down to the U.S., people want to get things back to normal and I think everyone was here tonight. I look around and everything is full.
“It’s good for the business and I think the prices were good. I think a lot of money was spent on really nice horses. I don’t think there were a lot of miscues and I think people that are buying on day one and day two know what they are doing.
“I came in and I wanted deals and I wanted value, but it doesn’t always work out that way.
“I wanted to buy more. My hand was up and I got outbid on a few of them. I did try for more, but I do think what’s going on in the business is really good. New York is going to open up some more legs, there’s more money in Kentucky right now. This place is amazing and I love it down here. They’ve got $18 million in purses and a lot of the purse stuff is going the right way.”
As for where the horses will land, Heimbecker said, “There’s a couple of horse that I bought with Julie (Miller) that will be split up, but the others I go 100 per cent on. There’s some really nice horses that I bought with John Fielding, who is a good friend of mine, and they are with Nancy Takter. Hopefully, we’ll have some luck there.”
ALAGNA, JACOBS GO BIG
Alagna is the sale’s third leading buyer through two days. He has spent $2,089,000, in all, to take home 16 yearlings.
“I think that most of the people that I’m working for would rather pay a little bit more and get something they really like, rather than settle for something they don’t like as well,” Alagna said. “We always support our stallions, so the Captaintreacherous fillies we bought, we don’t mind going the extra on them, especially if they have Kentucky (eligibility).
“We were active buying Stay Hungrys as well. We want to support that horse. We still have a couple that we bought for value, you know, a $30,000 pacing filly and a trotting colt for $50,000, so we’re still shopping for value, but most of my guys will overpay for something they really like.
Ken Jacobs, who owned and raced Walner before syndicating him as a stallion, purchased a $620,000 Walner colt (hip 54 Earthquake Bi) during Tuesday’s opening session. On Wednesday, he bought Walner filly Singeth With Joy (hip 264) for $510,000 from Hunterton.
“Now, I’m set. I got a filly and I got a colt and I think those are the top ones in the sale,” Jacobs said. “When you’ve got a horse of this calibre, you know you’re going to overspend, but you just don’t know by how much.
“Conformation, video, bloodline… I do a lot of research before.”
Jacobs said Singeth With Joy would go to trainer Chris Ryder.
“I take care of all my trainers and each one got a horse – Linda (Toscano), Tony (Alagna) and Chris. I try to just do the right thing by all of them,” Jacobs said.
That the second session had two $500,000 yearlings impressed Reid.
“I think it’s phenomenal. I was talking to a consignor before and 10 years ago if you sold one for $300,000 in a session you might be the sales topper for the sale,” Reid said.
ANVIL AND LACE LEADING CONSIGNOR BY AVERAGE
Through two nights, Anvil and Lace is the leading consignor by average (with three or more yearlings sold) with an average of $237,500 for four sold. The farm ranks ahead of Concord Stud ($186,429 for seven sold), Hunterton ($171,500 for 32 sold) and Hanover Shoe Farms ($155,100 for 20 sold).
Hanover Shoe Farms vice-president Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky said before Wednesday’s session started that she was pleased with the results from Hanover’s first-night yearlings. It is the first time since 2015 that Hanover has sold in Lexington.
“We’re very happy. It was a good night. I think most of the consignors, if not all of the consignors we’re really happy,” she said. “There were some that brought a little less, but at the end of the day we averaged $178,000 and if you’re not happy with that, there’s something wrong I think. That’s a great average.
“We made the decision to bring some of our high-end trotters here because of the stronger European presence here. They are here for the racing and… I think when owners see the horses themselves and are there when the bidding is going on versus on the phone or online, I do think you get a few more bids.”
Reid said Hanover’s decision to sell in Lexington has been very beneficial to the sale’s bottom line.
“That’s a $2 million dollar consignment… to inject into it, and we’re up $4 million for the sale already.”
WALNER STILL LEADING SIRE
Walner continued to impress on night two. The trotting stallion led all stallions on the night with gross sales of $3,406,000 for 25 yearlings and through two nights leads by gross ($7,283,000) and average ($169,372).
Captaintreacherous was second in gross on Wednesday alone ($2,984,000 for 29 yearlings) and is second through two nights in both gross ($6,141,000 for 43 yearlings) and average ($142,814).
Reid, Walner’s syndicate manager, said, “You haven’t seen a sire do what he’s done as a 2-year-old. The statistics are very good. He seems to be siring classic horses and the public has jumped on board in a big way.”
As for online bidding, the Proxibid platform sold two horses on opening night, one for $90,000 and another for $260,000. On Wednesday, 13 were sold online for a total of $929,000. Online bidders were the underbidders on 14 yearlings on night two, totalling $1 million in bids.
Today’s (Oct. 7) third session of the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale will feature some 230 yearlings. It begins today at 3 p.m. at Fasig-Tipton. For more information about the sale, please visit: http://www.lexingtonselected.com
“You see some new faces in every day and some other faces are leaving,” Reid said. “So, you’ll see a transition. I call tomorrow hump day, then Friday night session is a little shorter and Saturday night with fewer horses. To have two nights like this, it’s very healthy for the industry and very exciting as well. I see no reason why the momentum won’t carry on. More importantly, we want to sell winners, sell champions and we want to sell nice horses. That’s what people are here for and we just want to help them fulfill their orders and their dreams.”
STALLION CHARITY AUCTION A HIT
From the Breeders Crown:
The ‘Breedings for a Cause’ charity auction at Wednesday’s Lexington Selected Yearling Sale saw eight of the most sought-after breedings in the sport bring a record total of $207,000 for the ‘Breeders Crown Charity Challenge’ pot.
The 2021 Challenge, presented by the Libfeld-Katz breeding partnership, is on track to outpace previous year’s donations, with more than $130,000 having already been pledged by industry participants.
Steven Head bid $15,000 to breed to 2020 Dan Patch divisional champion Perfect Sting when he eventually goes to stud. But the son of Always B Miki, to date the leading 2021 money-earning 3-year-old in the sport with over $800,000 in the bank, still has plenty of racing to do before it’s time to head for the breeding shed.
Brad Grant spent a whopping $55,000 for a breeding to Walner, the sport’s current trotting super-sire, whose offspring Exile was the sale topper on Opening Night after being sold for $800,000. Lucas Wallin signed as agent for the Chapter Seven slot at $27,000.
Kountry Lane Standardbreds dug deep, bringing home a Tall Dark Stranger breeding for $21,000 and came back for a Captaintreacherous booking at $27,000.
Blue Chip Bloodstock signed for the high-performance trotting sire Bar Hopping at $12,000, and Indian Mound Bloodstock of Lexington held out for a mating to Muscle Hill for $33,000.
A breeding to the red-hot Ohio pacing sire Downbytheseaside went home with Tom Fanning as agent for Dave Van Wart for $17,000.
Many thanks go out to breeding donors Hanover Shoe Farms and Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky, the Captaintreacherous Syndicate, Blue Chip Farm and Chapter Seven Syndicate, Adam Bowden of Diamond Creek Farms, Southwind Farm and Muscle Hill Syndicate, the Walner Syndicate and Brittany Farms and Val d’Or for their generous donations.
This year, the proceeds of the auction and the Breeders Crown Charity Challenge, which has raised over $400,000 in its first two years, will benefit the enCourage Kids Foundation (Team Miller), John Theurer Cancer Center (Team Dunn), New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund (Team Gingras) and Special Olympics New Jersey (Team Tetrick).
The battle for the first-place check will go through Friday, Oct. 29, when the freshman Breeders Crown Finals are contested at The Meadowlands. Post time is 6:20 p.m. Winners and check presentations will take place Sat., Oct. 30, prior to the Breeders Crown 3-year-old and up Finals with an unprecedented post time of noon.
To vote for your favorite, Team Dunn, Team Gingras, Team Miller or Team Tetrick, and to find out more about the Breeders Crown Charity Challenge, go to: https://www.playmeadowlands.events/bc