London Virtual Yearling Sale begins Saturday

Canada’s largest standardbred auction will be held entirely online again this year.

by Dave Briggs

Canada’s largest standardbred auction will begin Saturday (Oct. 16) and run through Thursday (Oct. 21). As it was in 2020, the London Virtual Yearling Sale will be conducted entirely online through The sale’s traditional home — the Agriplex at The Western Fair District in London, ON — is still being used as a COVID-19 vaccination site by the Middlesex-London Health Unit.

“The rental is going to continue until November, so there’s not a chance for us to put a sale set up in there while it’s still being used for vaccinations,” sale manager Ann Straatman told HRU earlier this year when the sale was announced (full story here).

The sale ( will feature 156 yearlings from 20 consignors with the bidding starting at noon on Saturday. The virtual auction begin closing at noon on Monday (Oct. 18).

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, most Ontario yearlings were sold through a traditional auction at the London Select Yearling Sale at the Agriplex,

In 2020, the London Virtual Yearling Sale — the only major standardbred sale in North America conducted entirely online — saw 102 yearlings collectively grossed $3,312,990 for an average of $32,480 (Canadian dollars). As a comparison — which is admittedly imperfect since the 2019 auction was a traditional live auction where nearly three times the number of yearlings were sold — the 2019 two-day London sale grossed $6,285,000 for 291 sold, producing an average of $21,598. By that imperfect measure, 2020’s online average was up more than 50 per cent over last year’s traditional sale average.

“I think most (consignors) would say that they had a successful sale,” Straatman said. “I didn’t have any negative feedback.”

Seelster Farms — where Straatman serves as reproduction manager — is traditionally the leading consignor at the sale. This year, the Lucan, ON-based nursery will sell 51 yearlings. Dean and Ashley Wilson will sell 23 yearlings, Century Springs Farm will sell 19, Stonebridge Farm will sell eight and Glengate Farms will sell six.

This year, horses will be sold in Canadian dollars on ongait.

“The reason they were not sold in Canadian dollars last year was that the terms and conditions in our catalogue, which was printed well before the sale, had terms that the horses would be sold in American dollars and I couldn’t change that before the sale,” Straatman said.

After this year’s auction concludes, sale organizers will discuss whether to go back to a traditional sale or stay virtual only for 2022, Straatman said.

“I think we would have to weigh how the 2021 virtual sale goes and weigh it against the wishes of the buyers and the sellers,” she said.

To register to bid at this year’s sale, please go to: