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Bill's Columns
Date: October 29th, 2017
By Bill Oppenheim
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.
For the overall North American sales season, a total of 7,515 yearlings were catalogued, of which about 16% were withdrawn (about par for the last three years), and 74% of those which went through the ring were listed as sales, meaning 62.4% of the yearlings catalogued were sold – 4,688, to be precise. These figures are all in Brianne’s Weekly Sales Ticker, which you can see in that section of our web site. The combined gross of $448,638,500 was over $66-million higher (17%) than last year, and 12% higher than the 2015 gross of $399,868,700, the previous post-recession high. This year’s average was $95,699, up 12% from last year, and 8% higher than the 2015 average of $88,291. After four years when the North American yearling sale gross ranged from $379-million to $399-million, this year’s breakthrough means between $50m-$70m has been added to the gross realized by breeders and consignors. Good news for November.
As reported in our October 23 article which appeared in the Blood-Horse Daily and is also on our website, the European yearling sales also posted gains of 8% in gross, so when we combine the two markets, which remain remarkably similar in spite of the players being very different, in 2017 a total of 9,289 yearlings have sold, for a combined gross of $782-million and change, a 13% gain from last year, and 8% higher than the combined 2015 gross, which was just under $720-million. Similarly, the combined average of $84,226 was 7% higher than last year, and 2% higher than in 2015 (the average didn’t rise as much because of higher numbers catalogued and sold, while the percentage sold from the catalogues has remained at 67% and change the last three years). With another $300-million in revenue from early 2017 mixed sales and the 2-year-old sales, the combined market so far in 2017 totals $1.092-billion, up 11% from $982-million at the comparable stage of last year’s sales, and up 6% from the $1.024-billion 2015 comparable total. All good.
We’ve commented a lot over the last few weeks about the disparity in average between the top five commercial sires in North America and Europe and all other sires. Among them, Dubawi, Galileo, and Frankel in Europe, and Tapit and War Front in America have had 134 yearlings sell, for a total of $109,977,097, and a remarkable combined average of $820,724. That is more than ten times the average for all other sires combined: the 9,155 yearlings sold by all other sires have averaged $73,445, which means the five super-sires make a difference of over $10,000 in average among almost 9,300 yearlings sold. Once again we must note, with some astonishment, that the average for number five, Frankel, is $658,685, which is 66% higher than the average for number six, Medaglia D’Oro (44 sold, $397,018). That is what we might call a yawning gap.
But, of course, when we say all other sires averaged $73,445, that covers a lot of territory. Though it is a big step down from number five Frankel’s $658,685 average to number six Medaglia D’Oro’s $397,018 average, he is one of eight sires – four in Europe, four in North America - to have averaged between $280,000-$400,000. In North America, besides Medaglia D’Oro, the other three are: Pioneerof The Nile (46 sold, $328,413 avg); Scat Daddy (73 sold, $318,195 avg); and Curlin (54 sold, $290,981 avg). In Europe, the four are: Invincible Spirit (38 sold, $362,912 avg); leading first-year yearling (F2016 or first foals 2016) sire, Kingman (37 sold, $321,350 avg); Shamardal (24 sold, $296,903 avg); and Sea The Stars (54 sold, $285,485 avg). You can view all these numbers on the Blood-Horse site, though until we can work out how to limit their international statistics to North America and Europe you have to skip through the Japanese sires. The data is correct, though.
So a total of 13 sires in North America and Europe averaged over $280,000, of which seven are in Europe, six in North America. It’s in the next rung down, sires which averaged between $150,000 - $240,000, that the depth and breadth of the North American market comes into play: from 22 sires in this yearling average range, 16 are in America, six are in Europe. The 16 Americans are: Speightstown ($233,249); Uncle Mo ($227,135); Giant’s Causeway ($219,286); Ghostzapper ($218,771); Distorted Humor ($205,244); Malibu Moon ($203,706); Candy Ride ($193,715); Into Mischief ($189,649)(take a breath): Orb ($184,007); Bernardini ($175,088); More Than Ready ($172,779); Will Take Charge ($169,190); Quality Road ($166,020); City Zip ($151,524); Cairo Prince ($150,787); and Union Rags ($150,689). The six Europeans are: Dark Angel ($204,029 for 108 sold!); Australia ($191,301); Lope De Vega ($184,725); Dansili ($183,355); New Approach ($157,689); and No Nay Never ($152,968). So, of 35 sires which averaged $150,000+, that means 22 are North American, 13 European, though you can clearly see at the top rungs, there is pretty much parity.
Of the two youngest groups of sires, those with first yearlings (F2016) and first 2-year-olds (F2015), there is again parity between the two sire corps. Eleven sires with their first yearlings have averaged over $75,000, six in Europe and five in America. The six Euros are: Kingman ($321,350); Australia ($191,301); No Nay Never ($150,787); Sea The Moon ($98,179); Charm Spirit ($87,950); and Slade Power ($82,920). The five Americans: Will Take Charge ($169,190); Cairo Prince ($150,787); Verrazano ($99,567); Strong Mandate ($86,174); and Fed Biz ($80,705).
Eight sires with their first 2-year-olds averaged over $75,000, four in Europe, four in America. The top two by average are American: Orb ($184,007) and Violence ($142,691), and also Declaration of War ($103,631) and Animal Kingdom ($76,824) cleared the bar. The four Europeans: Camelot ($117,392); Dabirsim ($112,959); Intello ($97,761); and Farhh ($89,303).
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