The Canterbury season is soon coming to a close, but August was a good month. Our Blazing Angel pulled off an upset by winning the Minnesota Oaks at over 26 to 1 odds, which was almost as exciting as when our Ice Rocket won the Northern Lights at 52 to 1 odds a few years ago. The rest of our small four horse stable has been healthy and competitive. With 22 starts year to date, our horses have earned purse checks by coming in 4th or better 17 times.
On another subject I was asked about, we struck out at the Minnesota yearling sale, or hit a home run depending on how you should really look at auctions. (If you've read any of the articles on the ownership page of this website you'll understand what I mean.) Of the near 60 yearlings at the sale, we isolated one that we thought had as much potential as the yearlings we bred and have grazing in the pasture out at the farm.
We did not enter our bred yearlings in the sale because we expected average Minnesota prices to improve due to the great sale site at Canterbury, but remain near a $10,000 average. We believe MN yearlings should bring competitive purse earning multiples similar to geographically near major Midwest racing states like Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Oklahoma and Indiana. Based on consistent multiples, Minnesota's near $10,000 average price is not competitive and should actually approach an average yearling price closer to $20,000. ($10,458 average 2015 MN yearling price according to the Jockey Club.)
Anyway, we bid $17,000 on the good looking colt we were after but stayed disciplined in the bidding process, which allowed the top trainer in Minnesota to over bid us.
Lastly, folks have asked about the stable economics in Minnesota so here is a chart listing this year's top stables by earnings per start (an economic proxy in my view). There are currently 46 owner entities with 15 or more 2016 MN starts. The listed 17 stables have earnings per start over the $3,500 per start estimate that I believe must be earned per start to cover costs. That means nearly 40% of the owners may have generated a cash flow profit related to ongoing costs based on my "proxy" estimate of stable economic effectiveness.
These stable names typically appear on this list year in and year out, and are the folks who really understand the game.
Dave Astar is a race horse owner, stallion owner, breeder, 40 year business executive, and 50 year handicapper.