The results at the Forest City yearling Sale have experienced the same highs and lows that have dogged the sport of harness racing in Ontario over the last few years. Gross sales were off more than $2.1 million between 2011 and 2012, with the average price of a yearling dropping from $18,000 to $10,500. That average stepped up to $13,524 last year and increased again this year to $15,294. This sounds better than it is: at the recent edition 65% of the sales were for $15,000 or less, and that figure doesn’t come close to paying expenses and earning a profit for the sellers.
Mach Three sold 13 yearlings at Forest City, the same number as last year, however, his average jumped 41% to $31,346. It appears that one was bought back by the consignor. Two sold for at least $50,000, while a healthy—for this sale—54% brought at least $25,000. Nobody is making money selling yearlings for $25,000, but the threshold for the Forest City Sale is low. Five of the Mach Threes, or 38%, failed to top $15,000.
Mach Three place third in the OSS, behind Sportswriter and Shadow Play. His daughter My Secret Belle won three Gold Legs and Boomboom Ballykeel took a couple. Greg McNair bought three of these yearlings.
Six-year-old Big Jim, the 2010 freshman division winner, who stands in Ontario for the modest fee of $4,000, is selling his first crop. Nine went under the hammer and the results were disappointing. Seven, or 78%, failed to exceed $15,000. Only one, a colt purchased for $68,000 by David Menary, topped $25,000.
Twenty-seven-year-old Camluck, who was recently retired from stud duty, is a throwback to the era when stallions routinely stood into their thirties. A steady diet of ungodly fast miles during their racing careers in tandem with large books and the added stress associated with shuttling from continent to continent, has changed all that. This year at Forest City Camluck sold 13, six fewer than last year, and his average was down 23% to $17,192.
The newly crowned King of the OSS, Sportswriter, only sold two, at an average of $16,250. That’s 13 fewer than he sold last year at an average of $24,200. Reverend Hanover and Code One Hanover recently won their Super Finals, and the Sportswriters won an impressive 21 Gold Legs.
Shadow Play, who appeared to be the new ruler of the OSS, until Sporty showed up, made hay in the sophomore divisions this year. His daughter Slippin By won three Golds and her Super Final. Lady Shadow won a couple of Golds and Play It Again Sam won a Gold, was second in three, and finished second in the final.
Shadow Play sold nine at Forest City, five fewer than last year. His average dropped 33% to $15,556. A couple topped $25,000, while 55% of them didn’t crack $15,000. His first crop sold here for an average of $11,600 in 2012 and doubled to $23,393 last year. Sportswriter’s voracious appetite for OSS pie and the anticipated arrival of the Bettor’s Delight crew in 2015 have obviously tempered expectations. Speaking of Bettor’s Delight, three of his sold for an $18,000 average.
Due to the tenuous nature of the harness racing experience in Ontario during the recent past an inordinate number of sires have come and gone—mostly gone. Jereme’s Jet is one of those. He stood in Indiana this year for $3,000. After he left Canada his son Jet Airway took off in the OSS, winning four Golds. Also, freshman pacer Drachan Hanover won a gold and finished second in his Super Final. Only two by Jereme’s Jet sold this year, down from 17 in 2013. The pair averaged $7,250, off 39% from last year.
Kadabra, who had a solid sale in Lexington, only sold three at Forest City, for a $30,667 average. Last year nine sold for half as much. He was second to Muscle Mass in the OSS standings. The freshman trotters A Little More Love and Juanita’s Love each won a pair of Golds.
Muscle Mass, the OSS leader, whose daughter Riveting Rosie got her Mojo back in time to win three Golds and a Super Final, sold three for a $31,000 average. Last year the son of Muscles Yankee, who stood in New York in 2014, sold seven for 31% less.
Harper Blue Chip and his paternal siblings Your Majestic and PL Hercules brought 11-year-old Majestic Son into the light. Only one sold here in 2013; this year it was five at an average of $18,200. Only two sold at Lexington, where a half-sister to Lifetime Pursuit brought $77,000.
Majestic Son’s daddy, Angus Hall, hit a low point at Forest City in 2012 when 21 yearlings averaged $8,000. The 10 fillies in that offering only averaged $5,300. And, to make matters worse, Angus Hall was standing for $10,000 at that time. Well, 18-year-old Angus is now standing for $6,000, and nine of his averaged $12,889 at the sale. This was seven fewer than last year at a slight drop in the average price. Not very good. Angus Hall has a few productive sophomore fillies: Sweetie Hearts, White Becomes Her and Margie.
Manofmanymissions is selling his first crop. As was the case with Big Jim, his numbers at Forest City didn’t impress. Seven sold for an average of $15,714, with five of them failing to top $15,000. A colt that sold for $40,000 was the only good news.
Nine-year-old Deweycheatumnhowe seems to have found his niche at last, in the Ontario Sire Stakes program. But, of course, he’s not there anymore. His daughter Danielle Hall won four Gold Legs and the Super Final this year for Carl Jamieson, and although he will have offspring competing in the OSS through 2017, Dewey is now standing in New York. Bettor’s Delight is apparently on his way back to Ontario, maybe Dewey will do the same. Three sold for an average of $21,667, up 38% from last year. Dewey stood for $20,000 in Ontario in 2012, and he now gets $7,500 in New York.
Between them Sportswriter and Kadabra only sold five at the Forest City Sale, and those five were all back benchers. Kadabra averaged $68,000 in Lexington and Sportswriter averaged $59,000. Also, there was no boost from new stallions Big Jim and MOMM. The overall average shows a solid gain over last year, but making money on marginal yearlings is still a difficult way to go.