By Jessica Martini
TIMONIUM, MD – A yearling sale season punctuated by strong demand throughout the market makes a stop in Maryland when the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Fall Yearlings Sale begins its two-day run in Timonium Monday afternoon. With 200 yearlings catalogued, the abbreviated first session of the auction gets underway at 1 p.m. A further 314 yearlings are catalogued for the second session, which begins at 10 a.m. Tuesday.
Ahead of the sale, a mixture of end-users, pinhookers and bloodstock agents were on the grounds on a balmy fall day at the Maryland State Fairgrounds Sunday.
“I think the traffic has been pretty good,” David Hayden, whose Dark Hollow consignment in Barn A is a first stop from the parking lot for many prospective buyers. “Yesterday was the busiest Saturday we've ever had here. So that was very helpful. We started at 8 a.m. this morning and the action ebbs and flows.”
The Dark Hollow consignment consists of 10 Maryland homebred yearlings. Hayden said the Maryland program offers buyers plenty of rewards.
“We have been doing this for 40 years,” Hayden said of the Dark Hollow operation. “We've bred 65 stakes winners and 25 graded stakes horses, 15 graded stakes winners. I think we are in really great shape with the owner bonuses, the breeder bonuses. In our case, if we keep a horse–we have seven in training right now–we are looking at, between being Virginia certified and all the other stuff, we are looking at 65% bonus money. It keeps you in the game.”
For Stuart Morris, the Midlantic sale is another stop on a busy fall schedule of auctions and the consignor is hoping the strong demand for horses that has been seen at sales from Kentucky to New York, to Texas and to California continues in Maryland.
“We sure hope the momentum continues,” Morris said. “I have 172 [yearlings to sell] this month in four states, so I am really hoping it continues. I'm trying to ride that wave. That Keeneland sale was so electric, I don't know that we can ever expect any sale again to be that good. I think it was a seminal moment in our industry, to be honest with you. I think it's unfair to compare any sale to that one, at least for a while. But I think the momentum is good and the energy is up. The sale in Texas this year was way up and California was great. It feels like it's a good time to be in our industry selling horses and playing the game again.”
Bill Reightler, who will offer 42 yearlings during the two-day Midlantic auction, is expecting to familiar trends in Timonium this week.
“It's going to be polarized, but it's going to be a good sale for the right horse, for the horses that the buyers perceive as quality and vets well,” Reightler said.
Of activity at the sales barns, Reightler said, “Traffic has been good. We have 42 in the consignment and yesterday we showed 650 times and with 11 all-shows. So it was good. I think we showed a little more last year, but the sale doesn't start until 1 p.m. on Monday, so I am sure more people are still coming. There seem to be a fair amount of people that are looking for a good racehorse. And I have heard a lot of those people who like to stay in the six-figure range got shut out [at other sales] and they are coming here.”
During last year's Midlantic sale, held during the pre-vaccination pandemic, 379 yearlings sold for $9,120,700 for an average of $24,065 and a median of $14,000. The sale was topped by a $270,000 son of Gun Runner, who was one of 11 to bring six figures at the auction.