By Jessica Martini
SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – The Fasig-Tipton New York-bred Yearlings Sale, which follows on the heels of a strong renewal of the company's Saratoga Selected Yearlings Sale, begins its two-day run at the Humphrey S. Finney Pavilion Sunday evening at 7 p.m. With the cancellation of last year's auction due to the pandemic, this marks the second time the sale will be held on Sunday and Monday, as opposed to its traditional Saturday and Sunday dates and, with an extra day of showing, consignors were kept busy on the sales grounds when shopping started Friday.
“We showed Friday and we were very busy,” said Derek MacKenzie, whose Vinery Sales has 22 yearlings consigned to the auction. “I think we showed 1,060 times. How we got that done, I don't know, but we did. It's been strong again today, not quite as busy, obviously with the second day. There have been a lot of new faces–a lot of pinhookers, quite a few new faces that weren't here for the main sale. And we are seeing quite a few of the trainers coming over as well. So that's good.”
The New York-bred sale continues to gain strength from year to year, with a record-priced yearling at each of the last four renewals.
“There are definitely more people coming than there used to be and the catalogue has gotten so much stronger, pedigree-wise over the years,” MacKenzie said. “And the physicals have improved, too. There are some very sharp buyers who told me the physicals keep getting better and better every year. And this year is the best yet.”
The strength of the New York-bred racing program has pushed the state's breeding industry to new heights and consignors are expecting those results to be mirrored in the sales ring.
“I think the sale every year has increased in strength,” said Archie St. George, who will offer six yearlings–all by Kentucky-based sires–through his St. George Sales consignment. “It seems like the sire power is getting better every year. There are a lot more consignors from Kentucky selling here. The horses are better. I think every year, the sale has taken a step forward.”
St. George looks for that trend of yearly improvement to continue in 2021.
“Racing in New York is in a good place and, if you've got the right horse, by the right stallion, and you vet well, I am sure you'll get rewarded,” he said.
Jimbo and Tori Gladwell's Top Line Sales will offer four yearlings at the two-day auction.
“We're glad to be back and have a great atmosphere to sell at,” Jimbo Gladwell said. “I think the activity at the barns is on par with years past, with the sales split up by a couple of days and an extra day of showing. The traffic has been good, we've been busy both days so far. I think it's going to be a strong sale.”
Following on a strong series of juvenile sales this past spring, buyers seem eager to restock at the yearlings auctions. The Fasig-Tipton July Selected Yearlings Sale featured competitive bidding and buying was tough at last week's Saratoga Selected Yearlings sale. Those trends should lead to a positive New York-bred sale, according to Gladwell.
“The sale in July was very strong, the trade was brisk and people were spending money,” he said. “People showed up at the first sale here and they weren't just shopping, they were here to buy horses. The same group of people are here. They are shopping hard and are keen on spending some money. I think it was very difficult to buy the horses you wanted in the first sale. What is perceived as quality is bringing a lot more than it is supposed to. That is what we are all doing it for, is trying to find that horse and get in that spot. Hopefully we get a little luck here.”
The 2019 New York-bred sale was topped by a daughter of Malibu Moon, who brought a sale record $775,000 from Larry Best's OXO Equine. Now the stakes-placed Brattle House (Malibu Moon), she was one of 186 sold for a gross of $16,200,000. The average was $87,097 and the median was $60,000.
The 2018 auction set records for both average ($107,512) and median ($76,000) and was topped by a then-record $600,000 son of Pioneerof the Nile.
Sunday's evening session begins at 7 p.m. with 100 catalogued yearlings on offer. The auction continues Monday at noon with an additional 207 catalogued head.