Sale to be held August 29 at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie
By Gary West, national Turf writer
August 22, 2022 -- On August 29, at 10 o’clock in the morning, the best group of yearlings ever offered for sale in Texas will begin parading into the sales ring at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie. Yes, that’s a subjective assessment, but it’s soundly based on observation, history and precedent. When have you seen sons and daughters of such classic winners as Accelerate, Bernardini, Tonalist, Palace Malice and Tapwrit; when have you seen yearlings by such champions as Mitole, Honor Code, Vino Rosso, Good Magic and Midnight Lute; and when have you ever seen the son of a Triple Crown winner all offered at auction in Texas? Never.
The upcoming Summer Yearling Sale represents the next step on the horse industry’s upward trajectory in the state. Ever since 2019, when lawmakers created the Horse Industry Escrow Account, all the metrics have been trending higher. Handle and purses have increased at Texas racetracks. Since 2019, Texas has seen the return of many mares that had exited to Louisiana and Oklahoma, as well as the relocation of several stallions. While the national foal crop — the number of Thoroughbreds foaled in a given year — increased only 0.3 percent in 2020, the Texas foal crop increased 15.8 percent, according to the Jockey Club. And with added incentives has come development, such as the Forks of the Paluxy Farm in Bluff Dale and Danny Pish’s 1880 Training Center in Lipan.
The Summer Yearling Sale is one of the more conspicuous markers yet on this upward trend. Consider hip #143, a Florida-bred son of Justify, the 2018 Triple Crown winner of $3,798,000, out of Iroquois Girl, a stakes-placed daughter of Indian Charlie. This is the sort of youngster you’d expect to see in a sale in Kentucky. But he’ll be available here in Texas on Aug. 29.
More than 200 yearlings have been catalogued, horses bred in Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, and, of course, Texas. Texas’ most popular sires are all represented — Too Much Bling, Competitive Edge, Bradester, Cinco Charlie, Mr Speaker and the late My Golden Song.
Also indicative of the upward trend is the involvement of the Highlander Training Center in Sulphur Springs. For the first time, the state-of-the-industry facility will be represented by a consignment —21 yearlings, some owned by Highlander, but most by clients.
“We saw this as an excellent opportunity,” said Jeff Hooper, the Highlander Chairman and CEO, “to become even more involved in Texas and the region. We see a strong market here for quality yearlings, and at Highlander, with our staff and our facilities, we think we have the perfect combination to present such horses of quality to the market.”
Trainers Jon Newbold and Shannon Ritter supervise sales-prep at Highlander.
“We have high expectations,” Hooper continued. “We tried to customize the group (of yearlings) for the market here, and we’re very excited about the quality we’re bringing to the sale.”
Many of the handsome yearlings will turn your head. And many of the catalogue pages will force you to pause. Hip #2, for example, a Louisiana-bred colt by Half Ours, is a full-brother to stakes winner Jimmy Two Times and a half-brother to Streak of Silver, winner of the 2021 Texas Futurity. Hip #9, a Texas-bred colt by Lord Nelson, is a half-brother to Con Lima, a multiple-stakes winner of $884,865. Hip #19 is a full-sister to Bling on the Music, the winner of the 2016 Texas Futurity who went on to finish third in the Pocahontas Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs. Hip #103, a Texas-bred filly by the millionaire Include, is a full-sister to Proud Emma, winner of the 2020 Bayakoa Stakes (G3) and $361,658. And hip #107, a Texas-bred colt by the millionaire Tapiture, is a half-brother to six winners, including two stakes winners, Cajun Spirit and Half Cajun.
This outstanding group of yearlings is indicative of the upward trend in the Texas’ horse industry. But even more, it means this upward trend will soon be quite evident at the state’s racetracks.
The Texas Thoroughbred Association Summer Yearling Sale is open to the public and admission is free on Monday, August 29 at 10 am in the Lone Star Park sales pavilion. Click here to download the sale catalogue.
For media information/interviews:
Sales Director Foster Bridewell, 214.728.7618, firstname.lastname@example.org
Frank Alosa, 603.491.0047, email@example.com