In light of the overall success of the recently completed Keeneland September Yearling Sale that sold 2,774 yearlings and grossed over $280 million with an average of $102,220 (highest since 2007), breeders are understandably excited about the upcoming Midlantic September Sale that gets underway at Timonium on Monday, September 30.

While Virginia-bred results from Lexington were ho-hum with a few six figure exceptions, it seems like the overall supply and demand remains at a healthy balance. If that balance remains consistent (on the demand side), the next round of market results will verify that the Midlantic market is the best for yearlings from the region with the top tier being the only exception.

While the Virginia-breds were hampered in terms of average and lots sold by the lack of powerhouse consignments from the late Edward P. Evans, Audley Farm and Lazy Lane – stalwarts in terms of producing quality horses – the overall results reflected a market dominated by the reformatted sale (which consolidate quality up front) and the dominance of thirty highly commercial stallions.

Virginians produced few yearlings for those early blockbuster sessions and the Commonwealth’s remaining commercial breeders don’t typically breed to the top stallions with high stud fees.  If one only breeds a handful of select yearlings, such a high stakes gamble is best left to those with higher volume to stabilize eventual results.

Overall, there were 28 Virginia-breds consigned to the September Sale with 15 selling for $838,000 and an average of $55,866, well below the sale’s overall average of $102,220.  The high selling Va-bred was Audley’s colt by Arch, out of Pink Champagne by Awesome Again that sold for $200,000.  Only two other Virginia-bred yearlings were knocked down for six figure sale prices.

The overall market was also bolstered by newcomers including Blame (who posts both high and consistent numbers), Eskendereya (over $127,000), Quality Road (averaged over $119,000 and has one Va-bred entered at Timonium), Super Saver (over $106,000) and Lookin At Lucky (over $105,000).  Clearly the market’s love affair with new stallions is alive and well.

The Midlantic market remains well suited for Virginia breeders and Virginia horses.  The population is somewhat stable with Pennsylvania posting gains that compensate for Maryland’s and Virginia’s losses.  The value of Virginia-breds and the 100% owners bonus and Va-bred stakes program are well-known and appreciated by regional buyers while many Virginia breeders still enjoy top notch reputations for their propensity to produce high caliber racehorses.

Virginia breeders should fare well next week. — Glenn Petty

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