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:
Dave Astar is a race horse owner, stallion owner, breeder, 40 year business executive, and 50 year handicapper.