by Al Cimaglia
October 5, 2017
In many ways anticipation is the spice of life and October is near the top of the list when it comes to hopeful times of the year. As the leaves turn colors the baseball playoffs are upon us, the NHL and NBA begin and it is also the season for yearling sales. It's a time full of anticipation of better days to come for local sports teams, as well as horse owners dreaming of buying a future stakes winner.
This week in Kentucky, the Lexington Select Sale takes place at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion. Fasig-Tipton is located in Lexington on grounds so manicured it resembles a luxurious resort location. Between October 3-7, 649 yearlings are scheduled to enter the sales ring. The atmosphere is electric as many anxious, nervous bidders hope their expectations align with reality when the freshmen pacers and trotters hit the track.
It is fascinating to go through the entire process. First pedigrees are scrutinized and potential owners can do a visual inspection of the yearlings. In some cases horses can be X-rayed before they are enter the sales ring.
Inspecting a horse is open to interpretation. Some trainers will be more concerned than others of certain physical "blemishes" and conformation issues. Some examine the way a yearling stands, how long the pasterns are, how they walk. Does the yearling's toes point in or out when standing? Do they walk with a smooth straight gait? Does the yearling appear alert and healthy? This is only a sampling of the checklist a potential buyer and trainer will have and then the breeding pedigrees are closely examined.
No matter how sharp of an eye a buyer has or how well they can discern the yearling's family history, at the end of the day much luck is needed. That's the case, but beyond the risk and expense is the great feeling of anticipation and that's difficult to put a price tag on.
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