A son of Dance With Ravens out of the Not for Love mare Mass Romantic was the top seller among Maryland-breds during the just-completed Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale of two year-olds in training. Although most sales reports were upbeat, the news for Maryland continued to be mixed.
Hip 53, named Leftagot, fetched $90,000 to lead all Maryland-breds in the sale. His half-brother, Romancing the Gold, has won nearly $85,000, and his second dam, G. O’Keefe, was a grade 3 winner of more than $260,000. He narrowly edged Hip 162, a Divine Park filly out of the winning A. P. Indy mare Sandra’s Song who brought a top bid of $85,000, for the title of top-selling Maryand-bred.
But arguably the most telling number for the state of Maryland’s breeding industry was: 12. That’s the number of Maryland-breds entered in the sale, with 10 of those going through the ring.
By contrast, there were 30 Pennsylvania-breds entered in the sale — and a whopping 64 New York-breds.
Maryland was a pioneer in promoting horse breeding, and the benefits were shown in the prevalence of high-quality runners from the Free State. Even as recently as 2010, nearly five percent of the horses entered in this sale were Maryland-breds; that number is now closer to two percent. But the inception of slot machines in New York, the expansion of gaming in Pennsylvania, and the glacial pace of gaming in Maryland have combined to put the state’s breeders in a bind. Breeders also would like to see more money dedicated to state-bred horses, including additional bonuses paid to owners of Maryland-breds from the purse account; they have not to date been able to forge an agreement with horsemen to accomplish this goal.
The median sale price for Maryland-breds increased slightly this year, to $41,500, up from $40,000 in 2011 and just $30,000 in 2010. But the gross and average were down compared to 2011, when two six-figure horses caused the average for Maryland-breds to soar to more than $61,000.
All 10 Maryland-breds to go through the sales ring this week sold, one post-sale. That compared favorably with a 24 percent buyback rate for the sale as a whole.