Fasig-Tipton has made two major announcements recently. One was good news; the other was bad news.
The good news was the decision to move the Florida select sale of 2-year-olds in training from Calder Casino & Race Course to Palm Meadows. Every change involves some adjustment, but this one is probably for the best.
Calder is not located in the best of neighborhoods and even though I never felt really threatened, there were alarming stories about the closest hotel involving suicide and other unpleasant events. Consignors complained about how sore their horses got from walking on the backstretches' paved areas and they also expressed concerns about the condition of the track. Based on what I've heard from trainers based at Palm Meadows, the environment there is much better and the photos of it on the Internet are impressive.
My main concern is the sometimes unpredictable Frank Stronach, who is the chairman of MI Developments, which operates Palm Meadows.
The bad news involved the retirement (at the end of November) of Fasig-Tipton's senior auctioneer Walt Robertson, one of the nicest and most knowledgeable people in the Thoroughbred sale business. He and announcer Terence Collier make up my favorite auction team - smooth, easy to follow, and rarely rattled. During good times and bad - even when the future of Fasig-Tipton was in doubt and even when he wasn't very happy with me -- he was always available for a quote or made sure that someone else was.
Florida pinhooker Murray Smith posted this on Facebook about Robertson: "He has been an ICON.....a great horseman, friend and all-around man to look up to...he will Greatly be missed."