The Brock Talk

Monday, August 29, 2011

Fasig-Tipton Texas Yearling Sale Stays Consistent in Fluid Southwest Market

The Fasig-Tipton Texas Summer Yearling Sale gets underway Tuesday at the company’s sale pavilion located inside the stable area of Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie. The Kentucky-based thoroughbred auction company has catalogued 372 yearlings with an additional 70 horses selling as part of the Heiligbrodt Racing Stable Dispersal immediately following.

The Texas division of Fasig-Tipton Company has been conducting sales in Texas since Lone Star Park first opened their doors in 1997. At that time, horse racing and breeding in the Lone Star state was on the verge of tapping into the long believed potential of the Dallas-Fort Worth market.

Although pari-mutuel wagering had been legal just more than a decade, it had taken that long to develop a major horse racing facility in the lucrative market. While much of that potential was realized in the first five years, the track was eventually sold to Magma Entertainment which drove the facility into bankruptcy. While Remington Park in Oklahoma City never filed for financial protection, that track too was owned and managed by Magma, stagnating the regions developing thoroughbred racing and breeding industries.

The Southwest is also a market in which hurricanes Katrina and Rita whipped out entire thoroughbred seasons in New Orleans and Houston in 2005 and 2006.

It is a market in which Texas state legislators continue to strangle the horse racing and breeding industries. While tracks in other states benefit from hosting other forms of gambling, off-track and account wagering, Texas has been stuck in the technological stone ages of horse racing with purses to match.

Just weeks ago in Saratoga, New York, average prices hovered around $300,000 at Fasig-Tipton's Select Yearling Sale. That sale of course, traditionally features some of the most prominent bloodlines and buyers in the world. But days later, Fasig-Tipton hosted their New York Bred Preferred Yearling Sale at Saratoga and averaged nearly $55,000 for the 124 yearlings that were sold.

Last year at this sale, 214 thoroughbred yearlings sold for nearly $2.4 million for an average of $11,119; far short of even the New York-bred numbers in Saratoga. But the Texas division of Fasig-Tipton Company has not only survivied but continued with a level of consistency.

Top selling yearlings at the Texas sale continue to break the six-figure barrier each year and last year’s prices were nearly 10% above those in 2009.

“The dynamics of this sale has certainly changed over the years,” said sale director Tim Boyce. “This (Texas Yearling) sale used to be predominantly for Texas-breds and Kentucky-breds. Now Louisiana-breds, Oklahoma-breds and New Mexico-breds are a big part of this sale.”

Boyce said they will still see a considerable amount of buyers from Texas, but there has been a recent infusion of demand from other states. “Louisiana has really become more lucrative for owners,” Boyce said. “There has been a large growth in purses while the price of training in Louisiana has remained very competitive. You are also starting to see more national like Maggie Moss and Spendthrift race in Louisiana.”

Boyce said that has brought more Louisiana-bred horses to the sale and additional prospective Louisiana owners to bid on them.

“A lot of our horses are sold to the end user who will run them,” Boyce continued, “but the pin-hookers are also starting to realize that Louisiana-breds will sell anywhere [next year in 2-year-old in training sales.] They’ll sell in Texas or they’ll sell in Florida.”

Boyce has again attracted yearlings representing some of the top sires in North America including Dehere, Exchange Rate, Smoke Glacken, Lemon Drop Kid, Lion Heart, Spightstown and Successful Appeal. The sale will also feature six colts and three fillies by perennial Texas leading sire Valid Expectations.

The sale begins at 10 am at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion in the stable area at Lone Star Park at Grand Prairie located between Dallas and Fort Worth.

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