Fasig Tipton sees strong gains at first night of NY Bred Sale
Earlier this week, more than $33 million was spent in Saratoga on what are believed to be some of the most promising young thoroughbreds from across the country. This weekend, yearlings bred in New York State hit the auction block. YNN's Matt Hunter explains why expectations are at an all-time high.
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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- They say if you can make here, you can make it anywhere and that's exactly what bidders and consignors are hoping for at Fasig Tipton's annual New York Bred yearling sale, an auction strictly for racehorses bred in New York State.
For the first time in years, expectations have reached a fever pitch for the two-night sale which began Saturday.
The opening of a new video lottery terminal casino at Aqueduct Racetrack has elevated purses at the New York Racing Association’s three tracks – Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga – and filled the coffers of the state's breeding and development fund. The early result has been an interest in thoroughbred breeding and racing not seen in recent decades.
"Two or three years ago when we were talking about it, this sale probably had 160, 170 horses in it, it's got 250 horses in it this year,” said Joe McMahon of McMahon Thoroughbreds of Saratoga, breeders of 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide. “So there's a pretty good indication right there."
"A New York bred actually has more earning potential because of what's happened through the purse structure,” New York State Thoroughbred Breeders Association executive Director Jeff Cannizzo said. “That makes them lucrative to an owner to want to own one, or to breed one from a breeder's perspective here in the state."
According to Fasig Tipton, the number of horses up for sale is a 20 percent jump from a year ago; this, despite a smaller crop of foals born in the state last year.
"So you take small supply, strong demand, we're looking for big things to happen here and right now the mood is very positive for the New York program," said Terence Collier, Fasig Tipton’s longtime sales announcer.
In addition to regular consignors like McMahon Thoroughbreds, this year's sale features out of state breeders like Taylor Made Stallions of Kentucky, which never participated in the past.
"Us alone, we've sent 10 to 12 mares up here when in the past we were only sending two or three,” said Jacob West, a buyer and account manager at Taylor Made. “That may sound small to some people, but that's 10 or 12 mares you're taking off your farm to send to somewhere else."
On Saturday night, two yearlings surpassed the $200,000 mark, but none reached last year’s top price of $250,000.
The first was hip number 218, a $200,000 Tale of the Cat colt out of the mare Grace’s Valentine. The second was hip number 314, the night’s top seller, a Majestic Warrior colt that sold for $220,000.
On the opening night, 64 horses sold for a total of $3,657,000 with an average price of $57,141. The median price came in at $50,000. All four figures were increases from last year’s first night when buyers spent $3,067,500 on 59 horses with an average price of $51,992, and a median of $33,000. Last year’s overall tallies were 124 horses sold for $6,725,500 at an average of $54,238.
These gains come just days after Fasig Tipton experienced a slight drop in prices at its Saratoga Select Sale for yearlings bred out of state.
Industry experts expect New York’s upward trend to magnify in the years ahead.
"I would say over the next five years we've got a great opportunity with the New York program to really go places and reward people who have made longstanding investments in the state of New York," Collier said.
"You grow a crop and you hope to get it sold and that's when you get your yearly income but it's more exciting right now because of the heightened interest in New York breds because of the good feeling about New York racing," McMahon said.
Fasig Tipton’s New York Bred Sale resumes Sunday at 7:00 p.m.