Yearling Season Starts Ominously

When the hammer fell following hip #568 at yesterday's Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale, it marked the closing of the first major yearling auction in 2008.

Many breeders were holding their breaths throughout the last couple of weeks, knowing that the July sale is the first test of the strength of the yearling market. Unfortunately, the final numbers don't hold much optimism.  While there was still enthusiasm for stand-out colts and fillies, the overall figures were off from last year, including increased RNAs and decreased gross, average, and median prices (more details here). 

Considering the long-term effects of the Thoroughbred auction market, my thoughts eventually turned to my own foals. Early last week, I vanned my yearling colt (pedigree) over to a sales prep facility to get him ready for the Keeneland September sale. What an ordeal that was.

I generally introduce my foals to the trailer while they're weanlings, get them used to loading and unloading, and then stop once they're comfortable with the routine. They remember the lessons when I go to load them next -- whether it's a few months or a year later -- and they don't bat an eyelash. This year, my Honour and Glory (SRO) colt decided to be the exception. It surprised me; he's always easy to handle and has good ground manners. It took a good 45 minutes to get him loaded this time, though -- and then, only after he'd reared up and flipped over (which is when I introduced him to the twitch!). Once we arrived at the facility, he was back to his mild-mannered self, fortunately.

The colt will go through 60 to 70 days of "prep," during which time he'll build some muscle with frequent walks, avoid the coat-bleaching sun by being stalled during the late morning and early afternoon, and learn to stand still in a conformation pose. I've prepped my own foals before but am happy to turn over the job this year to a specialist -- and with only one yearling to sell, I know he'll be better represented by being in the barn of a consignor.

I was pleased to see that the Honour and Glory offerings (2 colts) at Fasig-Tipton sold for an average of $97,500. Broad Brush was represented by three foals (a colt and two fillies) as a broodmare sire; they sold for an average $76,000.  Honour and Glory beat the $92,298 overall sale average... Broad Brush was under but still respectable... and the two stallions both saw 100% sales (vs. the sale's 39% RNA rate).

For additional Fasig-Tipton coverage, check out the free Data Digest, or head over to the Hammer Time blog.

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