Leading Yearling Sales by Racing Performance

By Nicole Sauer

Fasig-Tipton's July yearling sale marks the beginning of the yearling sale season in North America. In the June issue of MarketWatch, we review the success of major yearling sales based on the racing performance of the yearlings they offered. The charts below illustrate the quality of yearlings offered based on the best level of race the yearlings offered from 2009-11 achieved. Yearling sales that grossed at least $3 million in 2013 were included; "All" includes all yearlings offered in North America from 2009-11.

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Not surprisingly, the select sales and the two select sessions at Keeneland September have the highest percentages of stakes winners from yearlings offered. Fasig-Tipton's Saratoga select sale had the highest percentage of both stakes winners (9.1%) and graded stakes winners (5.3%). Keeneland September's select sessions, however, had the highest percentage of grade I winners with 1.6%.

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For me, the most eye-opening piece of information is found in the first table- Notice the % of unraced horses found in the "All" category, as it compared with the other listed (gross $3M +) sales. My initial thought was that this should direct us to buy at those larger grossing sales, and to avoid the others. But, on second thought, the bar graphs don't tell us $ sales prices for the categories. Secondly, even should those $ averages still signal the benefits of those "listed" sales ( i.e. even you have to pay slightly more, training/racing expenses don't vary much from region to region), there's the variable of the regional, etc. buyer- the "hands" that ultimately manage the horses' career (this may factor into the % that go unraced).

18 Jun 2014 1:04 PM

Nicely colored graphs but the data really doesn't support any significant conclusions. This is like making an assessment of the value of a company based on the performance of the financial sector it belongs to.

22 Jun 2014 10:38 AM
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Nice article.  In order to show a more accurate picture, the number of horses who went through the ring vs. number of unraced, runners, SW, etc. should be shown. KEESEP sales alone probably offer more horses than some of the smaller shows combined.  Also, the graph should be turned sideways with each "level of racing" per sale, like a histogram, for a better picture of performance. Overall, nice article.

Laurie Ross

22 Jun 2014 6:05 PM

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Disagree with your points, as I feel the graphs are rather pristine in conveying the most relevant data. No bar graph can account for all variables, particularly in a business such as this where there are so many. Any attempt to do so would defeat its purpose-a relatively quick/easy thumbnail of the big picture. Those interested can explore further, with the exception that it's difficult to ascertain % of yearlings nationally that went unraced and then to compare this figure with that offered by the graphs.

The Saratoga Select vs Keeneland Select bar graph picture is interesting. Fasig's sale appears to win the day, but its numbers are very small in comparison to Keeneland's. Not certain what the take home message is here. Does it imply that there's so few truly select yearlings available at market? Doubt this is the case and, all else equal, a September yearling is more truly "exposed" than an August yearling. Does it say that Keeneland needs to do a better job at selection or, perhaps, a more IMPARTIAL job? Are Fasigs' inspectors merely better/more diligent? Or, are the numbers so small as to be meaningless? What are some other variables?  

24 Jun 2014 11:56 AM

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