An Update from us on COVID-19: Issue 2
RSS Feeds Thursday, May 21, 2020
Dear Client,
In the past week we have seen spectator-less racing start at both Santa Anita and Churchill Downs. The results from the first weekend were encouraging, to say the least. The handle at both tracks was more than double that of similar weekends last year. That has been the trend at all the tracks remaining in operation through the pandemic. Racing has a unique opportunity for growth during this pandemic that other sports will not have, at least for the time being. European tracks are finally getting underway and for your information I've attached a very informative article. (Plans for the Return of British and Irish Racing via Racing Post)
Keeneland will also be holding a race meet from July 8th to July 12th which will feature 10 stakes races and approximately 50 additional races with an emphasis on two-year-old racing. Hopefully, this will be a great time to feature top racing at the same location the sales will take place just two months later. It’s another piece of good news for the thoroughbred industry.
Fasig-Tipton commenced yearling inspections last week, and Keeneland plans to start inspections next week. There was a Zoom meeting including several major consignors and Keeneland management yesterday, and my take away is as follows:
1) Keeneland now has approximately 5,800 entries for the September Yearling Sale, up from 4,700 last year. The increase is due to the abnormally large number of cross-entries with Fasig-Tipton. A large number of these will be scratched from Keeneland prior to the June 12th deadline.
2) Keeneland has remained open to a possible format change which would allow the sale of more horses in the first four days of the September Yearling Sale, followed by a dark day on Friday of the first week. It is waiting to evaluate recommendations from its medical consultants and to review final numbers remaining in the sale. Personally, I think this would be a very smart move and would work to the benefit of buyers, especially those traveling from other countries.
3) Both sales companies are planning to upgrade their websites to include “virtual inspections”. Keeneland will subsidize the cost of producing a 60 second formatted video for Book 1 and Book 2 yearlings. We do not yet know if Fasig-Tipton will take on this expense, but I believe they are working to develop an even more informative means for consignors to showcase their yearlings.
4) Both sale companies will encourage phone bidding for those who cannot attend the sale, as well as online bidding. Personally, I love the concept of online bidding; however, I’m not sure if the technology is fully developed for it to be effective and it could possibly slow the sale down. With more than 4,500 horses to sell this could be problematic, but at least it is another tool for buyers to use.
5) Finally, both sales companies remain open minded about creating more digital opportunities to assist buyers and sellers. Many ideas are being discussed, and I think we will see a different and better means of auctioning thoroughbreds starting in September.
Our team is continuing to visit farms and help come up with the best plan for each yearling prior to the Keeneland withdrawal date of June 12th. Below you will find links with the pertinent dates for both sales in September.
Important: If you have horses you are aiming for the October yearling sale, we need to get your entries in as soon as possible. This is going to be a very popular option for sellers this year, and Fasig-Tipton has limited capacity. So our goal is to get all entries submitted before the sale is full.
Thanks, and we all remain available to talk anytime. We can discuss horses, racing or life. Give any of us a call. Our numbers are below. Wishing you and your family safety and good health. Best regards, Reiley.
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Results matter. At Eaton Sales, we are passionate about the Thoroughbred business, but our relentless pursuit of outstanding results for our clients, in both the sales ring and the race track, is what drives us. For years, Eaton Sales’ clients have entrusted us to sell many of the most distinguished horses in the world.

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