JC / Railbird

Sales

Stakes Inflation

Chris Rossi on the graded stakes bubble:

As foal crops have declined, so has the number of race days for a total of 6,250 race days lost since 2006. Yet the number of stakes awarded graded status has remained level: 475 awarded in 2006 and 474 awarded in 2011. This failure to adapt to the new racing landscape has resulted in an increase of 14% in the number of races awarded graded status.

The 2016 projection should strike fear in everyone involved in breeding and selling American Thoroughbreds. Without correction, short fields and ducking connections won’t be just the bane of bettors in the very near future.

(Neither the Paulick Report nor Equidaily like to pick up Raceday 360 pieces, but both should aggregate this one.)

More on Corrective Surgeries

Dr. Larry Bramlage talks to the Paulick Report:

I’m one of those people who believe we really have changed the conformation of the breed — but not by the surgical conformation. It’s that we have moved the entire breed to a different conformation: the offset knee. It’s happened because those have been the most productive horses.

Interventions

Alicia Wincze talks with breeders and buyers about corrective surgery:

“I think if they’re talking about weakening the gene pool with medication, then they’re also weakening the gene pool by doing (corrective surgery),” said trainer Charlie Lopresti. “They’re taking mares that produce crooked foals, cosmetically fixing them and selling them for a lot of money at the sale. It used to be back in the old days, only the strong survived, and if they were crooked and they could run through it, they were good horses.

“I don’t think it’s a bad thing, but I think we all need to get on the same page. And if they’re going to try and clean up the racing act, they need to clean up their act too.”

The International Market

Keeneland auctioneers adapt:

“You try and get rhythm in your chant, but at the same time you understand you’ve got people out there speaking probably 15 or 20 different languages, and most of the time they’re looking at the tote board now instead of listening to you,” he said. “So it’s very important that you are clear and precise in your numbers and everybody understands what the bid is and what the current asking price is.”

Tax Break

Get a FREE racehorse in 2011, courtesy of the IRS. From an analysis of the recently passed federal tax bill in today’s TDN:

Bonus Depreciation was increased to 100 percent for eligible horses or farm equipment placed in service after September 8, 2010 and before January 1, 2012. In other words, the entire cost of eligible horses or farm equipment purchased and place [sic] in service during that period can be written off. For example, two yearlings purchased and placed in service in 2011 at a total cost of $1 million can be entirely written off that year.

Just in time for Keeneland January shopping. (And a reminder that there are more ways to support ownership than increasing takeout for purses.)

I haven’t done more than skim the sale catalog online, but @irish_1 pointed out on Twitter this morning that Antoniette, dam of G1 La Brea winner Switch, is up for auction next month as hip #267 in foal to Roman Ruler.

Keeneland Gains

The two-week Keeneland September yearling sale closed on Sunday, and to the relief of those involved in the business of breeding and selling horses, it closed with gains. “I mean, you have to be happy with it overall,” a consignor told the Blood-Horse, “considering everyone was going into it with grim prospects.” Reports the Thoroughbred Times:

Total sales, average price, and median all rose compared with the 2009 September sale, and the buy-back rate improved from 27.5% to 26.7%. Keeneland reported 3,059 yearlings as sold from 4,174 offered for $198,257,900, a 3.3% increase from $191,869,200 in total sales a year ago.

“It wasn’t a home run,” notes the Daily Racing Form. “But the Keeneland September yearling sale … posted solid returns that may have signaled that the bloodstock bust is over.” And it did so with sharply reduced spending by the Maktoums, points out the Paulick Report.

Whew. Everyone feeling a little more hopeful now?

Of the young sires, Bernardini was the standout, with 31 yearlings selling for an average of $199,323, a gross of nearly $6.2 million (numbers via). While I haven’t missed noticing that Bernardini’s first crop runners have been doing exceptionally well, I only noticed yesterday that he’s already an omnisurface sire, with winners on dirt, turf, and synthetics. His offspring have also either won or placed in group or graded stakes on all three surfaces. Interesting.

Is it too early to start talking about possible 2011 buzz babies? Here’s a 2009 filly to watch for, a half-sister to Zenyatta by Bernardini.

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