quotes by James Platz / story by Dave Briggs
During last year’s fourth session of the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, the auction broke the $50 million barrier for the first time in its history. On Thursday afternoon (Oct. 6) at Fasig-Tipton during this year’s fourth session, the sale broke the $60 million mark soaring right past the 2021 complete sale record of $56,687,500. And there’s still tonight’s final yearling session to come.
“That’s a huge accomplishment,” said sale co-manager David Reid. “We’re going into (Friday) night with guns loaded. I think we’re going to have a good, solid night. Everyone is looking forward to it and we’ve got a lot of Downbytheseasides, so you can’t be that wrong. In addition, you’ve got regional trotters and other regional sires as well. We’ve got the first crop of Lather Up, which should create a little bit of excitement. I have a couple of them myself to sell. Any time you can offer something new into a sale, then we’re always looking forward to that.”
The fourth session set records for gross ($4,946,000, up 3.7 per cent), average ($30,159, up 4.3 per cent) for 164 sold and median ($26,000, up 4 per cent).
Through four days, the sale is averaging a record $80,802, up 12 per cent from last year’s four-day average of $71,898. The median through four days is $51,000. Last year it was $47,000 at this point in the sale.
“When we crunch the numbers at the end and look through each session, I think probably the greatest gains we had… obviously, we sold more horses for $100,000, but I think the median is going to be the key indicator,” Reid said. “We didn’t sell a horse for a million dollars and (Thursday) we didn’t sell a horse for $100,000, even though cumulatively we’ve sold 30 more than we did last year, I think you’re going to see the greatest strength in the middle.
“Without having a $100,000 yearling, it was kind of almost like the first night when we had a strong median and I think the strength is through the middle, which we talked about and that goes back to the depth of the catalogue,” Reid said.
The session topper was Hip 635 Amsterdam, a Sweet Lou filly out of Someomensomewhere purchased for $90,000 by Amanda Fine, agent, from Diamond Creek.
Hip 764 Oaks In Kountry, a Chapter Seven filly out of Whispering Oaks sold for $82,000 out of the Anvil And Lace consignment. to M & L of Delaware’s Douglas Paul said he made the purchase on behalf of Alabama Harness Asso.
“It’s their second year in the business and they wanted all trotters this year. Jim McLean and Rita Armitrage are the Alabama Harness. It’s a husband and wife. They seem to really like it,” Paul said. “They just left maybe two hours before and gave me a budget of $75,000 to buy that horse. I knew he’d be upset if I didn’t pay a little bit more, so I bought it for $82,000.”
Hip 748 Tactical Strike, a Tactical Landing filly out of Sorceress Seelster, sold for $80,000 to Gino Toscani of Ontario from the Hunterton consignment. Toscani has purchased 33 yearlings in Lexington this year and has spent $1,448,000 to do so. He bought three on day one, nine on day two, 11 on day three and 10 on Thursday. He was the leading buyer in the fourth session with $389,000 spent.
“We got a lot of variety, Muscle Hills, Walners, a lot of trotters, some pacers. We try to keep a mix. It was a good catalogue. I found the second and third days were as strong as the first. Even the fourth day, it was a good catalogue,” Toscani said. “It’s just a side thing that I’ve been doing for about 35 years. I drive and I train some. I’m in the house building business in Canada.
“I figured I probably wouldn’t be going to Harrisburg. I’m already at the sale, so I may as well just buy them here. They are just as well-bred. I’ll skip the other sales this year.
“I have three trainers and myself as well.”
Preferred Equine continues to lead all consignors in gross sales with $10,862,000 made. On Thursday, Preferred ($662,000) was second to Kentuckiana ($742,000) in session sales.
“We had a little bit of everything,” Reid said of Preferred’s Thursday offerings. “We sold a pacing filly for $72,000. We sold a pacing colt for $40,000 or $50,000. Solid through the middle. Some of the ones that came in on the low end… things happen and you just have to get them sold and moved. We had a great clearance rate, no buy backs, so from that point of view the whole week has been smooth that way. It’s been a very clean sale.
“We’ve got some good offerings (Friday) night. We have an Illinois sire, we have a couple Indiana sires and some Ohio sires, so we have a good selection. I think we’re selling 11 and we’re looking forward to it.
“I think it’s important for the regional programs to have a night and it makes them stand out a little bit. Nothing against any other organization or sales facility, but you’re in Lexington and there’s going to be great racing tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday. You can come down here and get the great Lexington experience. It’s just really something special.”
HUNTERTON TOPS $9 MILLION
On Thursday, second-leading consignor Hunterton topped $9 million and ended the day with sales of $9,153,000 through all four sessions.
“That’s pretty crazy, isn’t it?” Hunterton’s Steve Stewart said. “People always ask what your number is and we never even go there. We base everything on individuals, but most of the individuals have sold very, very well.
“We sold a Tactical Landing today and the owner was hoping for $40,000 and he got $80,000. It’s been that type of sale. The first night is always crazy because you have a lot of wealthy people who want to buy what are perceived as the best horses in the sale. It always seems like that is strong because those people have a lot of money and a lot of them have done well, but once you get into the third and fourth sessions, I think it’s showing how strong the purse structure in the industry really is, top to bottom.
“All people have to do is find a good horse and they’ll make money. Now, that’s not easy sometimes, but they know if they can pick out the right horse, they’ll make money. I don’t think it was always that way. Every jurisdiction is doing well and I’m sure most people are saying that it’s very difficult to find a good racehorse because people are racing for too much money. They are racing for enough money that they don’t have to sell. I really believe we are living in a golden time – usually we don’t say it while it’s happening — but I think we’re living in a golden age of harness racing. The purses have never been so good. It’s not like we’ve flooded the market with too many horses and it’s a very good time to be breeding horses.”
ALAGNA STILL LEADS BUYERS, WALNER LEADS SIRES
Trainer Tony Alagna didn’t buy any horses on Thursday, but he still leads all buyers with over $3 million spent overall to purchase 21 yearlings.
Doug Overhiser is in second spot with $2,223,000 spent to get 18 yearlings. The Andy Miller Stable is third with $2,142,000 spent.
Walner still leads all sires, with gross sales of $6,949,000. Tactical Landing was the leading sire in the fourth session with $578,000 in sales for 17 yearlings.
Tonight’s fifth and final session of the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale will feature 138 yearlings mostly from Ohio and Indiana. It begins at 7 p.m. at Fasig-Tipton.