I don't know what was more shocking April 11, Michael Johns getting kicked off of "American Idol" or the announcement that an agreement had been reached for a company owned by a friend of Sheikh Mohammed's to buy Fasig-Tipton. Guess, after a little thought, I'll have to go with the Fasig-Tipton announcement.
One fun thing about a Blog is that it gives you some freedom to move beyond the facts and to speculate a little bit.
Of particular interest in the deal is Fasig-Tipton's focus of promoting the industry. The company will use future financial surpluses to do so. Operating for the good of the industry already is a major marketing point for Keeneland. Now we've got two auction firms sending out the same message. A little competition in the area of benefactor could be a very good thing for Thoroughbred breeding and racing.
Also of interest is the statement by Fasig-Tipton executive Boyd Browning that the company will have greater financial resources available to it than in the past that will make it more aggressive. Think about what that could mean. What if Fasig-Tipton lowers its commission significantly? What if Fasig-Tipton bailed out of Calder and built its own track, sale barns, and sale pavilion in Florida for its select sale of 2-year-olds in training. What if Fasig-Tipton left Timonium and built barns, a track, and another sale pavilion in Maryland? What if Sheikh Mohammed decides to send large drafts of the horses he breeds to the Fasig-Tipton sales?
Fasig-Tipton has always been the "we try harder" Avis to Keeneland's Hertz. If the company's new owner backs up Fasig-Tipton's energy with a large infusion of cash, it could mean a big shakeup for the Thoroughbred marketplace in this country and maybe the rest of the world.