After meeting with new owners this week, one that bought into his first yearling last year, the titled question seems to be one of the most frequently asked. Unfortunately the honest answer is, "it depends".
The Astar Thoroughbred website contains many reasons why you should either claim or buy yearlings. The best answer to the "auction" question probably resides in the article where I expose the actual results of the 2014 Minnesota Auction. I illustrate the actual sale prices and purse earnings data, by horse, to date. That information helps owners see how volatile, and possibly rewarding, variation is when buying yearlings.
Owners also wonder if higher priced auction horses actually produce better results. The answer is yes, not just in the 2014 Minnesota auction but universally. The article includes a small sample correlation analysis which showed that, through the 2014 auction yearling's 3 year old racing seasons, for every additional $10,000 bid an additional $6,000 was earned. Of course, those earnings will grow as horses continue to run and typically have another couple years of racing life left.
The decision on claiming, versus waiting to buy at the auction, has to be yours as a new owner. The information shared on this website should help owners understand the risks and rewards, and how those may fit into their own racing agenda. Here is the direct link to the article:
Every year you can count on both owner confidence and delusion reigning supreme at Canterbury Park before the season starts. After many years of racing here, and 100's of owner and breeder wins, I've learned two absolute truths.
First there are the owners who know how to run economically efficient stables. They will have the top 2017 horses. They say very little. They keep things pretty close to vest. They have had success in the past, have a wall of stakes trophies to prove it, and actually know what a stakes winning Minnesota horse looks like. They understand variation and probability. They see no reason to let the masses know that they may have a steamer or two in the stable, and don't really want too many others to know it. If you ask them directly about their horses they may tell you a little something, but likely not.
Then there's the other group of owners. They know nothing about variation or probabilty. Every year they tell everybody that will listen how great their horse or horses are, and how great a racing season they will have. Often they'll tell you about some silly workout, or blow a minor comment their trainer shared with them out of proportion. I've even heard them think their horse is on the verge of greatness because they hit the board in some ridiculous no field $5,000 purse race at Fonner Park.
You know the type. They also likely thought Hillary Clinton would easily win the election, the Wild would win the Stanley Cup, the Vikings would be in the Super Bowl, and the Wolves and Twins were going to make the playoffs.
I love racing, and sickly find humor in pretenders, but I also feel bad because racing is a very expensive game for the delusional.
As horses start to arrive on the backside at Canterbury Park, Minnesota racing enthusiasm ramps up. Next week I am meeting with a few local business folks who always wanted to be involved in racing, but never knew how to engage. After searching the web for information and seeing no educational sessions were available, and relevant Minnesota information was sparse, they saw our website and contacted me.
I will always meet and advise people on the subject of horse racing ownership for free because I love the sport and remember how difficult it was for me to get good/honest advice many years ago. It seems to be just as hard today so I thought I would republish the link to our website page which contains the information that compelled these owners to give me a call.
LINK TO "NEW OWNER EDUCATION"
As always lunch is on me, and it would be great to see a few new faces in the ownership ranks at Canterbury this year.
As we approach the 2017 Minnesota racing season Facebook memories reminded me of a nice article published by Horse Racing Nation 3 years ago. It featured Christina Zurick talking about racing from the eyes of a then 18 year old. She had very nice things to say about Minnesota, Canterbury, our trainer Gary Scherer and even a couple of our Minnesota bred horses.
What I found interesting is that this young 18 year old suggested racing needed to improve breeding, communication and methods for bringing new owners to racing. These are the same issues I have strongly stressed in Minnesota for over a decade.
Anyway, I thought a few of you would enjoy the article so here is the link. Enjoy.
Dave Astar is a race horse owner, stallion owner, breeder, 40 year business executive, and 50 year handicapper.