Tuesday, Fasig-Tipton announced the return of the Freshman Sire Showcase. TDN Publisher Sue Finley talked to Fasig's President, Boyd Browning, about the return of this segment of their July Sale, which offers a first look at progeny of new yearling sires.
TDN: Why did you put the Freshman Sire Showcase on hold these past 10 years?
BB: I think when the New Sire Showcase was discontinued, it was a time in the marketplace when there was a flight to `proven.' And I think that trend from new to proven was taking place in the real estate market, in the stock market, and also in the Thoroughbred industry. When the market got difficult and the contraction took place, people responded by retracting and going toward proven stallions, proven mares–proven, proven, proven. And arguably, in the 10 years since we had it, we've seen the re-emergence and the popularity of young stallions, the demand for their offspring, the demand in the breeding shed, due in part because of the success that those young horses have had on the racetrack. So, we feel like it was appropriate this year to bring back the Freshman Sire Showcase. It's a really strong group and a diverse group of new stallions that will sell their first crop in 2021. We thought the time was right.
TDN: Talk about this year's group.
BB: We have literally identified as many as 20 stallions that we thought would have progeny that given the right combination of physical and pedigree would be able to have yearlings in the Freshman Sire Showcase, and so when you start talking about a population that large, it's really encouraging and shows you the depth of this crop of new stallions.
TDN: Why is this sale and this opportunity important to stallion owners?
BB: I think it gives them an opportunity to highlight the quality of offspring that their stallions are producing. It gives you the opportunity to concentrate some of the better individuals in a unique marketplace. We all know we live in a world of first impressions–particularly at horse sales–and it gives you the opportunity to create a positive atmosphere, positive feeling, positive karma for your stallion and that will help literally all the breeders who have supported the stallion in the relevant years and in the future.
TDN: What kind of stallion excels at this sale, and does it give some earlier-type stallions their own time, carved out in the marketplace? Is there a particular type you're looking for when you're recruiting for the sale?
BB: When we're making our selections for the July sale, it's all about the physical individual. It's not so much about the pedigree of the stallion, per se. We're looking for precocious, we're looking for athletic, we're looking for mature yearlings. And I think that what we've traditionally done, and hopefully, part of what we've built our reputation on at Fasig-Tipton, is identifying horses–and in many instances, horses with modest stud fees–that are really, really good individuals that will have a real appeal to the marketplace. Those horses have tended to succeed on the racetrack as noted by the performance of July sale graduates over the years.
TDN: You recently released a video about looking forward at the coming year. What are your predictions?
BB: This is what we're going to see, honestly, in 2021, and I'll be very surprised if it's not this way: we are going to see strong demand for what are perceived to be the better offerings. We're all going to sound like broken records. There is going to be significant demand for good individuals with acceptable pedigrees. And the market is going to continue to be less than we would have hoped for for those horses who might have minor conformational flaws or what are perceived to be minor veterinary issues that will probably result in those horses being penalized more extremely than they should be. So I think we'll see continued strong demand for a segment of the marketplace. It won't be as broad and it won't be as deep that we all hope it would be. And at the end of the day, we've all got to figure out ways to broaden the participation level of our sport in all aspects.