IT'S FASIG TIME
July 3rd, 2018
The 2018 North American and European 2-year-old sales are done, Royal Ascot is over, so it’s just about Fasig time. The storied Fasig-Tipton July Yearling Sale, which has launched so many sires’ commercial careers, kicks off the North American and European 2018 yearling auction sales season next Tuesday, July 10, but first we have an increasingly relevant Horses of Racing Age sale Monday afternoon, July 9, to get things underway. Fasig-Tipton introduced this sale in 2013; twice in its five-year history it has grossed over $8-million, and this year, even before they take supplements, there are a record 152 horses catalogued. When we consider the yearling sale has grossed over $20-million just once since 2008, and has usually grossed around $15-$16 million, it certainly looks like the market is endorsing the Monday sale – not to mention it’s good news for Fasig’s bottom line.
ROYAL ASCOT 2018
June 28th, 2018
There is a famous American folk song, dating to the early 20th century, called “Frankie and Johnnie”. It’s one of those you-done-me-wrong-so-I-had-to-shoot-you ballads, and bears no relation whatsoever to Royal Ascot 2018’s version, Frankie Dettori and John Gosden. Frankie and Johnnie had a treble on Royal Ascot’s opening day last Tuesday, June 19, and at that point it looked like they were poised to dominate the whole five days of what is, without the slightest question, the world’s number one horserace meeting.
FARHH ON RADAR
June 5th, 2018
For European sires who went to stud between 2012-2014, so whose first foals are 5-, 4-, and 3-year-olds of 2018, their proximity to Frankel on the racetrack figured to be an important pointer to their prospects as sires, and so it has proved. Coolmore’s Zoffany, a son of Dansili who maybe gave Frankel the biggest scare of his career in the 2011 G1 St. James’s Palace S. at Royal Ascot as a 3-year-old, was the first of those who was in relatively close proximity to Frankel to go to stud, and had his first foals in 2013 (now 5-year-olds). He was comfortably the leading European Freshman Sire of 2015, and is now a solidly established mid-range sire standing for €25,000.
SIR IVOR, 50 YEARS LATER: AN UNEXPECTED DEVELOPMENT
May 29th, 2018
There has been a lot written this week about Sir Ivor on the 50th anniversary of his groundbreaking Epsom Derby win. Here’s my take on it.
CLASSIC SCORE FOR DECLARATION OF WAR
May 22nd, 2018
Declaration of War, from War Front’s second crop, became one of his sire’s leading standard-bearers as a 4-year-old in 2013. Having won both his starts at two in France for owner-breeder Joseph Allen, trained by Jean-Claude Rouget, the Coolmore partners bought into him and sent him to the U.S. to be trained by Todd Pletcher. However he sustained a training injury and was then sent to Ballydoyle, where he started out for Aidan O’Brien in September of his 3-year-old year, winning the G3 Diamond S. over 10 ½ furlongs on the all-weather at Dundalk in the third of his three starts as at three.
NA-EU 2ND-3RD CROP SIRES
May 14th, 2018
Last weekend’s first four Classics, at Churchill Downs and Newmarket, did not move the needle too much on the lists of North American and European second- and third-crop sires: the only significant mover, at least as result of Classic action, was North American third-crop sire Tapizar, Gainesway’s son of Tapit whose top 3-year-old filly Monomoy Girl was a convincing winner of the GI Kentucky Oaks in spite of breaking from 14 of 14. Tapizar now moves from 10th to 8th by cumulative progeny earnings for North American third-crop sires, and from fifth to third by 2018 earnings.
INTERIM REPORT: NORTH AMERICAN & EUROPEAN 3RD- AND 2ND-CROP SIRES
April 30th, 2018
The preliminaries are over. The first third of the calendar year is finished, and now the Classic season begins. Next weekend sees the GI Kentucky Oaks on May 4, the G1 English 2000 Guineas and the GI Kentucky Derby May 5, and the G1 English 1000 Guineas May 6. The following weekend are the two French Guineas races, then the Preakness, then the Irish Guineas the last weekend in May, and – just four weeks after the Kentucky Derby and English Guineas – on June 1 and 2 are the G1 Epsom Oaks and G1 Epsom Derby, and another week later it’s the GI Belmont S. The Classics are coming, thick and fast.
April 16th, 2018
Though it has been supplanted as Australia’s highest-grossing yearling sale by Magic Millions’ week-long Gold Coast Yearling Sale in Queensland in January (A$168-million), Wm Inglis & Son’s (universally known as ‘Inglis’) Sydney Easter Yearling Sale is still the crown jewel of the vibrant Australasian yearling market. This year’s edition, held at the sales company’s new A$140-million complex (complete with hotel – you walk out of the lobby into the sales ring) just beside Warwick Farm Racecourse returned an average of A$347,634 for 335 reported sales. Adding in 51 ‘Book 2’ horses sold at the end of Book 1’s three-day session (and included in the same catalogue), the Sydney Easter Sale grossed A$122,347,600, for an overall average of A$316,902.
DATELINE: NEW SOUTH WALES
March 26th, 2018
In the world rankings of thoroughbred racing, there’s no debate that North America and Europe (Britain, Ireland, France, Germany) are the top two regions for racing class. It would be between Australia and Japan for the world number three spot, but Australia gets the nod there by virtue of the racing being open to all comers, while Japanese racing is more restricted. But in certain key categories Australia is the world number one, including: enthusiasm; markets thriving both in top prices and in market depth; profitability metrics for commercial breeders; and – which I didn’t know before making my first foray to Australia – the size of the farms. The state of New South Wales, largely because of the work of Arrowfield Farm owner John Messara in his tenure as Chairman of Racing NSW from 2011-2016, is Australia’s number one racing state – this is where all the action is we’ve all been hearing about.
YOUNG SIRES: TWO MONTHS IN
March 6th, 2018
Sires with their first 4-year-olds, and second crops of 3-year-olds, this year are at a critical juncture of their sire careers; either they will have sired something of Classic standard in one or both of their first two crops in the next couple of months, or they won’t. Two months in to 2018, looking at the leading North American sires with first foals 2014 (4-year-olds of 2018), the impact of Classic and Grade One form on the “third-crop” (so called because their third crops have now reached racing age) cumulative progeny earnings is clear.
THE EFFECT OF SHUTTLING ON STALLION FERTILITY, MORTALITY, AND PERFORMANCE
February 28th, 2018
The horse business is positively full of interesting questions which are difficult to answer. Without true scientific evidence to back up suppositions, we’re left to make assumptions about the truth. One of these such ‘difficult questions’ is how shuttling stallions to stand dual-hemisphere duty affects their health and performance. In this modern world where news knows no bounds of time or space, we receive the published information and make assumptions. We can receive realtime updates of every moment in a stallion’s life- look for example to California Chrome and American Pharoah, who received extensive media attention of their travels to the Southern Hemisphere for the 2017 covering season. With this instant access to information, we hear all of the news- both the good and the bad. We know when the stallions are happy and enjoying their life of perpetual springtime grazing virtually year-round on green pastures; we also know when things go wrong.
WINTER MIXED SALES: HOW POLARIZATION LOOKS
February 18th, 2018
Polarization: it’s a word we’ve heard constantly for the last six months to describe the North American and European auction marketplace. Here is what it looks like.
BIG NAMES TOP 2017ABC RUNNER LIST
February 12th, 2018
In the APEX (Annual Progeny Earnings index) system of rating stallions, ABC Runners are the top 8% earners from runners in a year. We call them “break-even-or-better” runners; they’re not necessarily stars (though ABC Runners include A Runners, Group winners, etc.), but they at least pay their way or come close. Here we’re looking at sires of ABC Runners for the year 2017 only. In North America that meant earners of $64,025 or more; in Britain/Ireland, earners of $27,672 (about £20,000); and in France, earners of $40,786 (about €35,000) or more. So this is a snapshot of the year 2017.
GALILEO TOP SIRE BY APEX A RUNNER INDEX
January 29th, 2018
Rating sires objectively is a tricky business. There are three methods which have historically been used: progeny earnings; average-earnings indexes; and percentage of Black-Type Winners from named foals of racing age. The limitations of progeny earnings are easy to understand: sires with the most foals and runners have the best chance of topping these lists, and possibly better sires with limited runners are penalized. Percentage of Black-Type Winners went out the window when sire crop sizes doubled and virtually no sires could reach the 10% BTW/foals threshold which identified the top sires. Now there is a variation in vogue, especially among advertisers, which is BTW/runners. The trouble with this is, this statistic actually favors sires with lower percentages of winners to runners, and thus potentially rewards unsoundness.
UNCLE MO, FRANKEL STANDOUTS IN F2013-F2014 SIRE CROPS
January 24th, 2018
In our first 2018 APEX column, dated January 9 on the website and emailed January 11, we ran a graph showing the decline in the number of sires which qualified for APEX ratings at the end of each year since 2007. There were 1,156 sires rated in North America, Europe, and Japan in 2007; there are 735 rated in 2018, a decline of 36% (to review: only sires with 3-year-olds and older of the last year covered [2017 this year] are assigned ratings, and sires must have had 10 or more named 3-year-olds in the last year rated, which eliminates the bottom 30% of sires, who have zero impact on the commercial market).
KEENELAND JANUARY: THE TRENDS CONTINUE
January 15th, 2018
Those who were in the thick of battle at Keeneland’s January Sale last week will testify to the strength of the market, at least for ‘the right article’, and the sale apparently continued the momentum which has carried the North American and European auction marketplace to ten-year (post-crash) highs, with the sale’s gross of just a shade under $35-million ($34,996,000 to be precise) marking a 21% gain over last year’s edition, while the average of $38,499 was a 28% gain over last year. Most importantly for consignors, the 909 sales were 57.4% of the 1,583 catalogued, an increase of 6.6% over last year’s desultory 50.8% clearance rate.
NOBODY DOES IT BETTER
January 11th, 2018
The total amount of available prizemoney for thoroughbred racing in 2016 in the three major European racing countries - Great Britain, France, and Ireland – was around US$488 million, for a combined population around 137 million.
APEX: GALILEO REGAINS TOP SPOT
January 9th, 2018
In APEX terms, maybe the most amazing thing about Galileo is that he not only has the highest A Runner Index (4.60) among 407 North American and European sires with 200+ year-starters 2011-2017 (a ‘year-starter’ means a horse is counted as one starter for each year it starts, because average-earnings indexes, of which APEX is one, have to be calculated on an annual basis), he also has the highest number of year-starters – 2,119 in the seven-year period, an average of more than 300 starters a year. He has 195 A Runners 2011-2017 (like a year-starter, one horse can be an A Runner more than once) and 412 ABC Runners; Tapit, who is second in both categories, has 112 A Runners and 326 ABC Runners. So Galileo doesn’t just have the highest percentage (9.20%) of A Runners/Runners over a seven-year period, he’s doing it with a higher number of starters than any of the other more than 400 sires. Phenomenal – and phenomenally prolific.
GOOD GAINS IN 2017 AUCTION MARKETPLACE
January 3rd, 2018
The North American and European auction marketplace enjoyed a 10-year run, from 1998-2007, when prices continued to climb until, in 2007, the auction marketplace broke through the $2-billion barrier, when over 30,000 horses sold averaged $75,463. But the horse market itself was overheated, and after the World Financial Crash of 2008 the auction market, like the North American and European foal crops, collapsed by 40%; by the end of 2009 the auction market gross had plummeted to around $1.2-billion. The market then literally crawled along the bottom for three more years before beginning to rebound in 2013. In that year the auction gross shot up 24%, by almost $300-million, to $1.488-billion, and the average jumped 19%, from $58,028 in 2012 to $69,005 in 2013.
RECORDS SET AT EUROPEAN MIXED SALES
December 18th, 2017
Between 2013, when the bloodstock market began to recover from the shattering effects of the 2008 World Financial Crash, and 2016, the number of North American and European yearlings which made 1-million or more (whichever currency) varied between 23 (in 2013) and 19 (in 2016), according to figures compiled by my colleague, Dr. Emily Plant. After 32 yearlings topped those marks in 2017, the stage was set for more fireworks at the recently concluded mixed sales. Though the Kentucky November sales saw three fillies or mares bring $6-million or more (Songbird, Tepin, and Stellar Wave), the overall Kentucky November sales total of $276-million was nowhere near the Kentucky November record of $394-million racked up in 2007.
26 EUROPEAN VALUE SIRES AND MARKET PICKS AT 15K AND UNDER
December 16th, 2017
Not surprisingly when we focus on sires at £15,000/€15,000 and under we are more in the realm of unproven rather than proven sires: only four of the 25 stallions we selected as ‘value sires or market picks’ in Britain, Ireland, France, or Germany and standing for 15,000 or under have 3-year-olds or older, whereas we have nine horses on our list retiring to stud for 2018.
BIG GAINS AT GOFFS AND TATTERSALLS
December 10th, 2017
Britain leaves the European Union in March, 2019. Among the zillions of complications which will ensue, we’ll have to figure out whether we can still just call them all ‘European’ thoroughbred sales, or whether we’ll have to start talking about ‘European and British’. That’s not as important, though, as enshrining citizens’ rights or making sure there’s no physical border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
VALUE SIRES and MARKET PICKS 2018, PART 2: US SIRES $15,000 & UNDER
December 1st, 2017
There are very few proven sires standing for $15,000 and under, so they’re entitled to be heavily patronized. The first two on our list had virtually identical race records: Darby Dan’s Run Away And Hide and Hill ‘n’ Dale’s Kantharos each ran three times at two. Run Away And Hide broke his maiden at Keeneland in April over 4 ½ furlongs; won the GIII Kentucky S., at five furlongs, on May 1, Kentucky Oaks day; and the GII Saratoga Special over 6 ½ furlongs, obviously, at Saratoga. Unfortunately, then injured, retired, and covered mares at Darby Dan as a 3-year-old in 2009. Kantharos, similar story: broke his maiden at five furlongs at Churchill in May, 2010; won the six-furlong GIII Bashford Manor on July 3; romped by seven lengths in the GII Saratoga Special; injured, retired, in his case to Ocala Stud in Florida, where he covered as a 3-year-old, in 2011.
VALUE SIRES and MARKET PICKS 2018, PART 1: US SIRES At $17,500+
November 27th, 2017
It nearly goes without saying that ‘value’ is a relative term – the most expensive horse can be cheap if it’s good value, and likewise cheap horses can be poor value. So we begin this series with 26 Kentucky sires which I reckon do provide ‘value’, seven of which stand for $50,000 or more, and a further 19 which stand for $17,500 - $40,000. The next part of this series will focus on US sires which will be standing for $15,000 or less, then we will move on to Europe. And I am far from the only one who assesses value: all breeders make that decision nearly all of the time when selecting stallions, and so does ‘the market’; for this series I am adding in sires which the market has determined are value. The market is a valuable ally to have – probably more so than one opinionated individual such as myself.
November 20th, 2017
With the close of play in Keeneland Book 6 on Nov 18, the Kentucky November Mixed Sales concluded their 13-day run with gross receipts of $276,221,700. In the last five years the combined Fasig-Tipton plus Keeneland November sales have grossed: $271-million (2013), $269-million, $262-million, $269-million, and now $276-million. This doesn’t suggest the market is booming out of control, then again we can never be so definite about mixed sale catalogues being as consistent from year to year as yearling sales as the prices to a certain extent depend more on what is actually offered at the mixed sales. Having said that, though, the fact is the revenues haven’t varied more than 5% in the last five years.
FIRST-CROP SIRES BRING NOVEMBER INTRIGUE
November 12th, 2017
Through the first five days of the Kentucky November sales—Fasig-Tipton November and Keeneland Books 1 and 2—exactly 1,400 horses were cataloged, 203 at Fasig-Tipton Nov. 6 (14.5%), and 1,197 at Keeneland 1-2 (85.5%), which ended Nov. 10.
YEARLING MARKET GAINS
October 29th, 2017
Last week’s Fasig-Tipton’s October Yearling Sale posted gains of 39% in gross (up over $10-million) and 10% in average over 2016 and concluded a highly successful yearling sales season in North America, not just in comparison to 2016, which had dipped about 4% from the previous year, but also in comparison to 2015 post-recession highs. Literally 21% of the North American yearlings in sales we cover sold at Fasig October, which makes it a very important sale, even though its average of $36,507 was only 38% of the $95,699 average posted for the 4,688 yearlings sold in the North American sales we cover. The fact that one out of five yearlings sold in these sales were sold in Fasig October brings home the point that they sure can’t all be Book 1 horses. Interestingly, though, in a sale where records were set for gross and average, the median dipped by 17%, from $14,500 last year to $12,000 this year: polarization, for sure.
European Yearling Sales Show 8% Gain
October 23rd, 2017
North America’s yearling market has enjoyed gains in the neighborhood of 14% so far this year, with Fasig-Tipton’s massive four-day end-of-season yearling sale kicking off Oct. 23. Goffs, in Ireland, has a two-day “open” yearling sale with 480 cataloged later this week, and even next month, the opening day of Tattersalls’ December Sale (that means it ends in December, not starts in December) will be a day of yearlings Nov. 27.
October 16th, 2017
In the annals of Thoroughbred breeding, it is likely the horse that caused Fappiano to split off from Mr. Prospector like none of his other sons, was the 1964 French Derby winner Le Fabuleux, who was imported by Bull Hancock in 1972 after standing his first six seasons in France.
History tells us there will be plenty of gems to be found
October 13th, 2017
In 1983, a Nijinsky half-brother to Triple Crown winner and then new hot sire Seattle Slew, who would become Seattle Dancer, set a world record for a yearling thoroughbred sold at public auction, for $13.1 million – a record that still stands.
A Big Week in Newmarket
October 8th, 2017
There's a friendly debate that takes place every year between North America's leading Thoroughbred auction house, Keeneland, and Europe's leader, Tattersalls, based at Newmarket - who stages the world's most important yearling sale, Keeneland's September yearling sale or Tattersalls' October Book 1?
The Great Leap Forward
September 24th, 2017
Finally the Keeneland September Sales got back over the $280-million mark at which it had been hovering the last four years, since the $60-million jump in 2013 marked the end of The Great Recession.
Keeneland Books 1-2_How Good Was It?
September 15th, 2017
This week at Keeneland, 681 yearlings sold in Books 1 and 2, grossing $196,645,000, and averaging $288,759. There have been 13 seven-figure ($1m+) yearlings so far, compared to nine in the first two books last year, and 116 yearlings which sold for $500,000+, compared to 96 last year.
An "Extra-Special" Day of Selling at Keeneland
September 11th, 2017
In last year's three-day Book 1, 607 yearlings were catalogued, of which 346 were listed sales, for a gross of $120 million (average $347,471).
September 5th, 2017
Beginning with the $60-million increase in gross from Keeneland September 2012 to Keeneland September 2013, the last four years of Keeneland September (2013-2016) have seen 11,100 yearlings sold for a total of $1.114-billion and an average of $100,435. So we know what the target is: somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,775 sold for a gross of $278-million, and a $100,000 average.
September: The Big Picture and the Second Week
August 29th, 2017
When you look at the 4,309 yearlings catalogued over 13 days of selling, there's just no other sensible overall organizing tool we can use besides chronological: the first week will consist of the new Fasig-Tipton Turf Showcase on Sunday, Sept. 10, and four days of selling at Keeneland_Book 1 on Monday, Sept. 11, and Book 2 Tuesday_Thursday, Sept. 12-14._
Five Days in September
August 22nd, 2017
For the last four years, the Keeneland September Sale finished with between 2,744-2,819 yearlings sold, for gross revenues of $280.4m, $279.9m, $281.5m, and $272.8m last year, when the number catalogued jumped by 300 from 2015.
Fasig NY-Bred Sale Confirms Improving Marketplace
August 16th, 2017
Last weekend's Fasig-Tipton New York-bred sale rounded off the company's first three yearling sales of the season by setting new records for gross ($16.2 million), average ($89,088) and median ($69,500), and of course when we say 'set new records,' that actually does mean the metrics were actually higher, not just from 2016, but even from 2015, which we've been using as the benchmark year all through 2017.
Next Up: Arqana at Deauville
August 16th, 2017
TDN's Sue Finley is one of those who knows there aren't many places better than Deauville to attend a horse sale, so she's excited that Arqana is getting ready for four days of selling August yearlings, beginning with two select evening sessions, after racing, on Saturday and Sunday, followed by an Open session on Monday, and their V.2 sale, which is in a separate catalogue, on Tuesday.
Back to Business
August 9th, 2017
Now, I wasn't there to see the bidding myself, but I need to have a word with that canny David Loder about that $995,000 bid which bought the sale's only War Front colt right at the end of Tuesday night's session at Fasig-Tipton Saratoga; couldn't you just have rounded it up?
August 1st, 2017
For the past few months_during the 2-year-old sales in particular_we insisted on making comparisons not just to last year's results but to 2015 as well, as there was a dip in North American sales prices from 2015 to 2016.
Tapit Top NA/EU Sire of 2017 Midyear ABC Runners
July 25th, 2017
Though this is no comment of how much it cost to produce or acquire them, this week we publish lists of the leading sires of 2017 ABC Runners at the midyear point. As mentioned, it's important to realize that Midyear earnings thresholds are only around 65% of the year-end earnings thresholds, so it is possible_even likely_that some horses which are A Runners at Midyear will not have any more earnings, so could slip to B or even in a few cases C Runners
Small Batch Sires: Frankel and Uncle Mo
July 18th, 2017
It's not that often that sire sensations appear, so for Juddmonte's_Frankel_(Galileo) to streak away from his fellow F2014 (first foals 2014) North American and European sires the same way Coolmore's_Uncle Mo_(Indian Charlie) did among F2013 sires last year is unusual: two prospective 'World Top Five' stallions in successive years.
Galileo: Back to Number One
July 12th, 2017
The Coolmore team has been floating the idea for a few years now that_Galileo (Ire)_might be an even better sire than their 14-time British and Irish champion sire, Sadler's Wells.