Midlantic Sale Poised For Middle-Market Success

The following appeared on Bloodhorse.com and was written by Ron Mitchell.

If there is a juvenile sale well positioned for a strong middle market, it’s the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale May 20-21 at the Maryland State Fairgrounds near Timonium, Md. 

Due to its central location near Baltimore, the Midlantic sale is convenient to a broader buyer base than is typically found at markets in Florida, Kentucky, or California. That, according to those involved in the process, and other factors set up well for a vibrant sale Monday and Tuesday.

“There are lots of people here looking at all levels,” said Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning, Jr. “There are a lot of racing circuits within a two- to three-hour drive that feed off this market and provide depth. At this time of year, a lot of people need horses coming into their barns.”

“I think it’s a great place to sell a horse,” said Mark Roberts of Hidden Brook Farm. “You can get $1 million or you can sell one for $25,000. In my opinion, it’s the strongest middle-market sale in the country, particularly if you have a regionally bred horse. It’s a great spot. In two hours, you can have 80% of the trainers on the East Coast by driving here.”

Roberts said the strength of the Midlantic sale is one reason he and other consignors specifically target the auction for juveniles with broad appeal.

“I have nine horses here, and I aimed them all at this sale,” Roberts said. “None of these were in another sale. From day one, they were coming here. And I like them all.”

Kevin McKathan of McKathan Bros. said the Midlantic auction attracts more trainers who are selecting and buying than other sales in which agents dominate the selection process.

“You feel like there is a little more middle market here because you have guys who race at Penn National or Laurel come here and back the middle market pretty well,” McKathan said. “I believe you can sell any kind of horse here. You get a lot of trainers from New York, Maryland, and Pennsylvania who shop for their own horses. We don’t have that luxury at a lot of the other sales.”

The sale begins two days after the Preakness Stakes (G1) at nearby Pimlico Race Course, providing owners, trainers, and others with a buoyant four-day extravaganza of racing and sales.

“People are in a good mood when they’re here,” said agent Steve Young, noting that he has had good success with Midlantic sale graduates. “It’s a great place.”

Saturday’s Preakness provided a timely update for at least one horse as Hip 575 from Ciaran Dunne’s Wavertree Stables is a son of leading sire Tapit  who is a half brother to War of Will, winner of the middle leg of the Triple Crown.

The overall juvenile market this year has been slightly above or stable with 2018, with a diverse group of 600 head cataloged adding to optimism heading into Monday. As of 8 a.m. Sunday, 124 horses had been withdrawn from the sale.

Topped by the $1.2 million paid by agent Dennis O’Neill for a son of Medaglia d’Oro , last year’s sale resulted in 333 horses selling for gross receipts of $24,868,500, a slight decline from the $25,237,000 total paid the previous year, with average dipping 2.3%. The $38,000 median reflected a gain of 8.6%.

“We have a really good group of horses on the grounds. We have a really good group of buyers on the grounds,” Browning said Sunday morning as the barn area was a bevy of activity with horses being inspected under bright sunny skies. “It feels good. We have seen strength in the 2-year-old market for the most part this year, and I’m optimistic heading into the sale. At this time of year, a lot of people need horses coming into their barns.”

Randy Hartley of Hartley/DeRenzo Thoroughbreds said the consignors are motivated to sell because the Midlantic is the final sale of the year for the Florida-based consignors, who are sitting out the Ocala Breeders’ Sales June 2-Year-Olds and Horses of Racing Age Sale and Fasig-Tipton’s inaugural Santa Anita 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale in California.

“This is the end of the road because there are no other sales for us,” Hartley said. “We race, but for us we have to reinvest in stock for next year, so this is the end of the trail. We’re here to sell. It looks like there are enough people here to make for a strong sale.”

While Hartley/DeRenzo’s consignment includes some 2-year-olds that were pricey yearling purchases, Hartley said the consignors are committed sellers.

“We have some expensive pinhooks here and people know what they cost, and we’re getting veterinary work done on them and good showing on them,” he said. “They worked good and came back good. We would love to make a profit, but at the end of the day, we just need to get them in the right hands to get out there and run.”

Sale sessions begin at 11 a.m. ET.