The Inaugural Sunshine Select Sale, scheduled for January 25 has been cancelled due to the lack of quality entries. According to a press release, the consigned horses which were to be sold at the sale will be sold either privately or via an online auction.
Once again, harness racing has failed to move ahead. Two year olds in training sales are very popular in thoroughbred racing because buyers are able to see horses in training with a pretty good assurance that barring injury, the horse they purchase will make it to the races as two year olds. For that privilege, owners are willing to pay handsomely and consignors would benefit. These sales would help the prices at yearling auctions because pinhookers would look to purchase yearlings with an eye towards selling them a few months later at the 'in training' sales; the net result helping to bring higher averages to the yearling sales and keeping breeders in business.
Instead of subscribing to the benefits of a sale like Sunshine Select, apparently what was happening was consignors were attempting to unload their 'rejects', which would no doubt doom the sale. After all, it is easy enough to buy a horse which won't make it to the races or need additional time if it was to make it to the races at all. As a result, the sales company will purchase a sufficient number of high caliber yearling in order to ensure a sufficient number of two year olds, ready to go will be available for auction.
Perhaps once the industry sees how profitable these type of sales can be, people will be willing to participate. In the meanwhile, breeders continue to struggle to make a profit on those 'surprises' who become future champions.
I don't know about you, but there was nothing I liked more than going to the track to ring in the New Year. There is something special about those evenings, not only the parties in the dining rooms, but even on the grandstand, the feeling of something special would permeate the cold winter evening as you would hope to end the year with a profitable evening and failing that, driving home at the birth of the new year.
Unfortunately, if so inclined, you will find almost impossible to find a trotting track open on New Years Eve as the only two tracks racing tomorrow night are Balmoral Park and Sports Creek Raceway (Monticello has an afternoon card). I realize it is not only the declining interest in racing which has caused tracks to abandon New Years Eve; the fact is a sufficient number of players will be playing the races, but instead of coming to the track, they will be betting from home where the horsemen and tracks will be splitting their three cents out of each dollar wagered. Unless you like a blood bath, it doesn't make financial sense to race. I agree takeout is too high, but there is something wrong when the producer of the product splits 3% while those pulling the signal in make out like bandits (relatively). There is something wrong in this model and unless it changes, there is further trouble down the road.