Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearlings Sale Aims To Continue Growth As Destination Sale

The final stop on the North American yearling auction calendar kicks off Monday, with a jam-packed edition of the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearlings Sale in Lexington, Ky.

With 1,500 horses cataloged, the property was filled to near-capacity over the weekend for a sale that has rapidly grown in reputation from an “everything must go” event to a legitimate destination to buy and sell high-level horses, and to find variety in pedigrees, state-bred programs, and price levels. Last year, a $700,000 Medaglia d’Oro colt became the most expensive horse to come out of the October sale since 2013.

Still, some consignors thought the weekend traffic was rather light by Sunday afternoon. The non-market reasons for that could be plenty: a long sale allowing more time for inspection of the Wednesday and Thursday horses later in the week, the pull of live racing at Keeneland, and the propensity of some buyers at that level of the market to simply make their inspections in the back ring to name a few, but it was on the minds of multiple sellers.

“I think showing has been a little quiet,” said Reiley McDonald of Eaton Sales. “We sure don’t have enough buyers to sell over a thousand horses, but I think it’s a lot like last year, and I believe we were feeling the same way on Sunday last year, that the traffic was kind of slow. I think a lot of people are looking very specifically at just a few horses instead of all shows. I think we could possibly be facing a softer market. Maybe the supply has caught up to the demand a little bit.”

While the yearling market has been strong at a record-setting pace throughout 2018, McDonald said he expected the October sale to be a real litmus test for the middle-to-lower market offerings. The October sale is unique on the calendar, putting all of its offerings in alphabetical order with no sorting for perceived quality. A select offering could be immediately followed by a horse that would have fit in Book 6 of the Keeneland September Yearling sale.

Last year’s sale produced record returns in gross and average sale price, and those numbers have steadily been all-time highs in each of the past few renewals. A total of 981 horses sold last year for a combined $35,812,900 and an average of $36,507. The median declined 17 percent to $12,000 from $14,500, while the buyback rate closed at 23 percent.

With returns consistently setting record marks, Allaire Ryan of Lane’s End said the October sale has increasingly become more of a target for yearlings to best show themselves, instead of a second chance for a horse that was scratched or bought back from a previous sale, or ones that simply need to be turned into cash and moved on.

“It’s a great option for horses that just need the extra time,” Ryan said. “For me, I think it’s harder and harder to get horses to the earlier sales in the year. You feel much more safety in opting for a later one. We’ve got horses we knew we were going to point to this sale from the very beginning – late foals, horses that just needed more time to develop. It’s a great option for them.”

While there are several quality offerings going through the ring for the first time in the October sale, many of the catalog’s highlights from a pedigree perspective are horses that were cataloged for earlier sales. Sometimes the extra time to mature is a boon for the offerings, and other times, the market offers different sets of eyes than what might have been at the prior events.

Either way, Adrian Regan of Hunter Valley Farm said Fasig-Tipton’s flexibility with its entries and its place on the calendar make it a viable option for a yearling that was missing something the first time around.

Now that major buyers consistently show up to the sale with bankrolls comparable to what they’d spend elsewhere, that notion has become especially true, and sellers have picked up on it.

“I think the way Fasig leaves entries open so long is a big help,” Regan said. “You’re able to enter so close to the sale. Even ourselves, we’ve kept a couple horses for this sale because Fasig seems to attract a good crowd. Horses that you’re not happy with mid-summer, you always have October there, and they leave it open to take first-week horses that it didn’t happen for at Keeneland, which is a great help for breeders and sellers. That’s the main reason.”

To view the online catalog, track results, and watch a live feed of the sale, click here.

The post Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearlings Sale Aims To Continue Growth As Destination Sale appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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