Sellers of yearlings in England and Ireland aren't just complaining about the condition of the Thoroughbred marketplaces, which has been battered by economic downturns. They're trying to do something to make it better.
This week they announced the creation of a bonus fund that they hope ultimately will be worth more than $3 million. They have gotten support from the publication known as the Racing Post to help spread the news, they've also gotten sale companies to kick in some money. But the sellers will provide the bulk of the funds by nominating the horses they offer. Most of the money will go to provide bonuses off $16,347 apiece to the connections of nominated horses that win maiden races next year at 2.
While that doesn't sound like much of an incentive for buyers who spend millions of dollars for yearlings, it will help encourage shoppers looking for less expensive horses and could help them recoup all or a substantial amount of their investment.
American yearling sellers and sale companies could benefit by following the lead of their peers overseas.
I'll end this blog installment with some advice from Brereton C. Jones of Airdrie Stud about how to cope with the major setbacks in the Thoroughbred marketplace:
"It's like the rest of our whole economy right now. It's pretty pitiful, but we'll work our way through this. We are on an international financial roller coaster right now, and the only way you get hurt on a roller coaster is if you jump off before it stops. So we just need to sit tight, and we'll get to the point when it stops. Then we've got to analyze the steps that we've got to take. I'm not one of these fatalistic types of negative thinkers. We'll work our way through this and, quite frankly, I think the market will be stronger in a few years because of it. That's what always happens when you go through these readjustment periods. They're tough while you're going through them, but as you work your way out of them, you get a smile on your face and things start looking better. But we have got to make certain that we get our purse structures at levels that people can have a chance of at least breaking even or making a little money if they run a business-oriented kind of a racing stable."