Everything points to the market being tough during the selling season for select 2-year-olds in training, which begins with the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. auction slated for Feb. 17. But following are four reasons why it might not be as bad as the market for mixed stock, where downturns of 40% or more have been common since late last year.
- 1. The sales are select, meaning they should have the best stock available. While prices for top horses have fallen, many have still remained profitable for their sellers; they're just not as profitable as they have been in the past.
- 2. Select juveniles are closer to being ready to race than weanlings, yearlings, and the foals still inside broodmares, meaning their buyers generally have the opportunity to start recouping their investment sooner.
- 3. Nearly all of the select sales of 2-year-olds in training are boutique ventures, with limited numbers of horses that are high in quality. Boutique sales such as the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling auction and the Fasig-Tipton November select mixed sale performed better than many larger auctions in 2008.
- 4. The 2008 champions Big Brown, Stardom Bound, and Forever Together are select juvenile sale graduates, and their accomplishments give the auctions a surge of positive publicity.
- 5. During the recent mixed auctions, people were reluctant to enter or scratched their best stock, a lot of people thought that contributed to the steepness of the downturns. Pinhookers buy yearlings specifically to enter them in sales of 2-year-olds in training and they want to sell them so they can go buy more young stock later in the year to continue the cycle. They're not likely to scratch their best horses unless they get injured or become ill.