On Sunday, December 15, 2002 Thoroughbred horsemen from all over the country will descend on the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Sale Pavilion at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas. Trainers, breeders, pinhookers, and spectators will all be in attendance for the Fasig-Tipton Texas December Mixed Sale. The Mixed Sale will include all ages of Thoroughbreds - weanlings, yearlings, 2-year-olds, and horses of racing age to broodmares and stallions all will be offered in this one-day sale.

Fasig-Tipton holds two other sales at the Dallas metroplex facility where buyers can concentrate on one particular age group at a time. The annual 2-Year-Old in Training Sale is held in March and the August sale features 1-year olds in the Summer Yearling Sale. In December, however, the format opens up and all ages are welcomed. "Just about everyone can find what they're looking for, and we get a pretty good cross section of horse buyers", states Tim Boyce, Director of Sales for Fasig-Tipton Texas. "The racehorse people sometimes find themselves bidding against the show horse folks, who come looking for a "green prospect".

Fasig-Tipton is no new comer to horse sales, with over 100 years of experience; they are the oldest Thoroughbred auction company in North America. "We have regional and national sales all over", said Boyce. "We sell in Saratoga, New York; Timonium, Maryland near Baltimore where the Preakness is run; in Florida at Calder Race Course; here in Texas; and of course at our home office in Lexington, Kentucky. That's just down the road from that other company," Boyce quips.

Being in Texas since 1997 when Fasig-Tipton took over the Thoroughbred sales for the Texas Thoroughbred Association, Boyce has seen a steady growth in the market. "Until this year we've been on a great roll here in Texas," cites Boyce. "Racing is new here and yet it's old too. You have a history that's deep in the racing tradition and you also have the electricity from the excitement of pari-mutuels opening up relatively a short time ago - that's why we seem to out perform the national markets here."

Last year a Valid Expectations/Vany weanling colt topped the sale at $65,000, purchased by Tom Durant of Grandbury, Texas. This was the highest price for any Thoroughbred out of a mixed sale in previous years in Texas. The December's second highest horse was the first horse to enter the ring, a broodmare named Welcome Ring who was in foal to Valid Expectations - she went for $20,000. Valid Expectations is a leading sire of not only Texas, but is also leading the national Second Crop Sires list.

Chances are that this year new records will be set again. "I have a few dispersals that are likely to produce some very strong offerings", said Boyce. "We have a Holy Bull weanling colt that could really get people excited, plus I expect we'll have more of the Valids (Valid Expectations) since they seem to be selling well here.

So what does a novice buyer do at a Mixed Sale? "First the novice buyer needs to come prepared with a buyers plan," said Boyce. "Hopefully they've written down a business plan at some point and hopefully that plan includes some advisors." The Mixed Sale is a good place to come and make contacts with people in the Thoroughbred business. The breeders are all there as well as bloodstock consigning agents and trainers. All of whom can be of assistance to the uninitiated. "Depending on the over all plan, whether it is racing, breeding, or pinhooking, there should be a level of input from a professional", said Boyce. "That input can come from a breeder, vet, trainer, or bloodstock agent. It's probably a good idea not to get too much advice, but a buyer should find an adviser that has seen their business plan and shows understanding of just what it is the buyer is trying to accomplish."

Advisors can assist in conformation or pedigree analysis. They can estimate price ranges. Advisors will be able to help with the understanding of auction etiquette as well as the warranties and conditions of sale, and they can also refer other experts as well.

The Mixed Sale's numbers generally will feature broodmares. Last year the breakdown was 119 mares, 41 weanlings, 36 yearlings, 20 two-year-olds and horses of racing age, and 2 stallions. The majority of the broodmares are in foal and some even sell with a season to a selected stud. "It puts you right in the breeding business - kind of a three for one deal", said Boyce. "Consignors will offer a broodmare, who is in-foal, and then they'll throw in a breeding season to one of their stallions. You get the mare, the baby she's carrying, and you're all set for breeding fees for the next year. The buyers really make out on these deals, but it also gets the consignor who is usually a breeder or stallion owner, repeat business. Plus it gets their stud a full book and that's always good."

The horse of racing age section is also a part of the sale where some buyers are extremely attentive. Here a buyer can buy either a non-raced 2-year-old or a horse whose pedigree is accompanied by a Racing Form Past Performance chart. Horses have been known to come straight from running in a race to the sale and then be running the following week for a new owner! "It's kind of like claiming a horse without the risk because all defects of bone have to be described either by x-rays in the repository or announcements at the time when the horse enters the ring", said Boyce. "Quite often the horses of racing age section of the sale is where you will find sharp show horse trainers looking for a flashy Thoroughbred with which they can work to develop an outstanding event or dressage prospect. "My sister does a lot of this", said Boyce. "She always wants me to let her know if I've got something that will work in her program. She says that the Thoroughbred is a lot likelier to get pinned in a show because of their sleekness."

So whatever you are looking for in a Thoroughbred, you are most likely to find what you want at the December 15, 2002 sale at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie. The sale starts at 10:00 am and will run straight through with the broodmares selling first, followed by stallions, weanlings, yearlings, then horses of racing age.

Should you have any questions, please call Fasig-Tipton at 972-262-0000.

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