by Dave Briggs
Last year’s Lexington Selected Yearling Sale smashed 18 records, including new standards for gross ($56,692,500), average ($65,692), median ($44,000) and number of yearlings sold for $100,000 or more (159). The gross exceeded the previous record ($46,480,000 in 2019) by some $10 million or 22 per cent. Each of the five sessions set a new record for gross sales.
This year’s sale, which starts Monday (Oct. 3) and runs through Friday night (Oct, 7) at the Fasig-Tipton Sale Pavilion, has as strong a catalogue — if not better — than last year’s.
So, will records again be broken?
“I never like to predict any records,” said sale co-manager David Reid. “I’ve been wrong the last 10 years where we just continuously set records.”
That said, Reid and his co-manager Randy Manges believe this is the deepest catalogue the Lexington sale has ever had.
“It could be arguably the best catalogue, but it’s definitely the deepest,” Reid said. “My early comments from the customers are that they think the sale is really deep with a lot of nice horses.
“It’s deep from a sire point of view, with first crops of Greenshoe and Six Pack. You’ve got first crops of Bettors Wish and Captain Crunch. On the trotting side, we have a very healthy number of Chapter Sevens, Walners, Muscle Hills on top of established sires, such as Father Patrick and others.”
Last year, sale attendance by Europeans and Canadians was limited due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. This year, Hunterton Farm’s Steve Stewart said he expects strong attendance by people from those regions.
“We’re very confident going into the sale. We’re going to be overrun with Swedes and Europeans, who haven’t been here for two years,” Stewart said.
“We have a big group of Europeans coming from the Scandinavian countries, as well as some visitors from France. We expect Canada will be well-represented as well,” Reid said.
Those that can’t attend can still bid online.
“One of the carry overs from the COVID years – the online bidding will be offered again for anybody that cannot make it, or anyone who is here for a couple of days then has to return home. They will have the opportunity to bid remotely using www.proxibid.com, which has been our online provider since 2020,” Reid said.
Some 900 yearlings are catalogued this year and Reid said nearly 350 of them are dual-eligible yearlings that can race in more than one sires stakes program. With the growth of the Kentucky program, in particular, that makes yearlings more attractive.
“I think that’s going to add to our strength as well,” Reid said. “Then, you have Ohio and Indiana, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Ontario, New Jersey – they are all healthy right now. That leads to a healthy marketplace and it goes back to that there’s something for everyone at this sale. The quality is deep and we’re really excited about our efforts.”
Reid said the sale breaks down about 55/45 in favor of trotters.
“I think there’s a great variety, even on the pacing side. Obviously, you have the sport’s leading sires Captaintreacherous, Always B Miki, Sweet Lou. Stay Hungrys, we have a handful, and he’s off to a good start. There’s first crop of Bettors Wish and Captain Crunch. There’s other first-crop sires that we don’t have huge numbers of from jurisdictions such as Ontario – we’ve got some Stag Partys, some Jimmy Freights, some McWickeds.”
This year’s sale continues the trend of having some afternoon sessions.
Monday’s opening session will begin at 7 p.m., but the sessions on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday will begin at 2 p.m. Friday’s session, featuring mostly midwestern yearlings, begins at 7 p.m. Then, there is a mixed sale on Saturday that starts at 7 p.m.
Last year, the sale had two afternoon sessions that Reid said went over well with sellers and buyers. This year, they added a third and are starting those sessions an hour earlier.
“We’ll try that, just to try to wrap up a little earlier so people can still get out and have a dinner and enjoy Lexington,” Reid said.
His best guess is those afternoon sessions should conclude around 7:30 p.m.
“On Friday night, we’ll conclude the yearling portion. Then, we’ll have the Mixed Sale on Saturday. We’re excited to bring the Mixed Sale back. It’s a great combination of having a live sale, while providing online bidding opportunities. So, it’s kind of the best of both worlds. From a sales company point of view, Randy and myself want to give the consumer all the tools to maximize their ability to participate in the sale.
On Monday, there will be a cocktail session from 5-7 p.m. at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion. On Tuesday from 1-2 p.m. there will be a social event called Cocktails for a Cause to kick off the 2022 Breeders Crown Charity Challenge.
New this year to Fasig-Tipton is an enhanced patio area.
“There’s a covered area outside of the pavilion, which our buyers will enjoy. The facility is great, the horses are great and hopefully the consignors have a great week,” Reid said.