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MTA Yearling Sale Shows Substantial Gains

Maybe one item alone will say everything necessary about the Minnesota Thoroughbred Association yearling and mixed sale Saturday evening. Executive director Kay King was almost, not quite, but almost ready to officially declare the sale topper the highest purchase of all-time.

“I’m going to check our records, but I’m almost sure it is,” she said.

The topper was hip No. 6, a dark bay or brown colt by Holy Bull, the 1994 U.S. Horse of the Year, from Run With Joy (Canterbury Park’s 2007 Horse of the Meet) and was purchased for $56,000 by Barry and Joni Butzow.

“He vetted out, was pretty correct and was feisty,” Joni said.

It was the colt’s bottom side that interested Barry. “I don’t care about Holy Bull but look back a couple of generations on the other side,” he said.

Yes, there is a connection to some fine blood on the bottom side as well. Run With Joy is by Ghazi from Unbridled Joy, who is by Unbridled, the 1990 Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner and three-year-old colt of the year.

The $56,000 colt was consigned by Oak Tree Farm as agent for Raymond and Karen Wheeler.

The transaction itself was a shot in the arm for an industry that has struggled and suffered from a lack of optimism and enthusiasm.

There was nothing of the kind this time around; in fact, it was quite the reverse, due largely, of course, to the marketing deal struck between Canterbury Park and Mystic Lake.

“It was amazing,” said King. “First of all because of a renewed energy; you could feel it from the consignors and the purchasers. Everyone seemed hopeful now that there is a future. People can recognize that. There is something worth running for.”

Hip No. 13, a dark bay or brown gelding by Orientate from Star Crusader, was purchased for$31,000 by Jim Thares from Kim Heytens and Kimberly Meadows.

Next on the list was a $25,000 purchased by Kenneth Larson from Wood-Mere Farm, LLC, a dark bay or brown filly by Orientate from Miners Mirage.

There was a $22,500 purchase, a gray or roan filly by Monarchos from Harmony Found, by Anthony Didier from Wood-Mere Farm, LLC, agent for Irish Rose Racing, LLC.

All of that had King in a much better mood than on the mornings after recent sales. “It’s so much more fun doing the results this morning than especially two years ago,” she said.

In 2010, the average sale price was $4,959 and the median was $2,600 on the sale of 17 horses for a total of $84,300.

Those figures improved last year with an average price of $6,403 with a median of $3,000. The gross on 31 horses sold was $198,500.

Now take a look at 2012:

The average was $10,332, the median was $5,500 and the gross on 31 horses was $320,300 – an increase of over 60% from 2011 and an increase of nearly 280% compared to 2010.

Twenty-six Minnesota-breds sold for an average of $11,754. Also in the sale were four Kentucky-breds and an Ontario-bred.

King made other observations that suggested a larger, maybe more diversified market.

“It’s interesting because there were many new faces, people we hadn’t sold to before and also people we haven’t sold to in quite a while. That was reassuring as well.”

King envisions her role as a cheerleader for such functions. “From the time we set the date and sent out the consignment forms to everyone with Minnesota-bred yearlings it’s my job to pull out the pom poms and be the cheerleader no matter how bad things have been the last couple of years.”

Her job, she said, was a lot easier this year. She was selling some reality instead of a roll of the dice.

This blog was written by Canterbury Staff Writer Jim Wells. Wells was a longtime sportswriter at the Pioneer Press and is a member of the Canterbury Park Hall of Fame.

Photo Credit: Coady Photography