Public auctions offer the most variety than any other acquisition option. Prices vary depending on the quality of the animal. There are multiple sales companies that operate all over North America, including: Kentucky, New York, California, Ontario, Maryland, and Texas, to name a few; the quality of horses varies from state to state.
Most sale companies have an area, called the “repository” for veterinarians to review radiographs and throat scopes of the horses offered for sale. Your veterinarian can take his or her own images and perform their own scopes on horses for you at additional cost but must have the consignor’s permission to do so.
These are sales that offer a variety of stock, from yearlings to broodmares to stallion prospects. These sales are often held in late fall into late winter. These sales are an attractive option to purchase late yearlings in the fall or early two year olds in the new year, as well as racing prospects that could either return to the racetrack or be used for breeding purposes early in the new year.
These sales are held from July through December. These horses are presented to buyers at the sales location, then later taken to the ring to be sold. Yearlings are a risky venture, but can boast a large profit down the road at the two-year-old sales, a practice known as “pinhooking”. The purchase of a yearling puts any potential profit to be made on hold until the horse is ready to run its first race, a process that can take up to a year or even longer.
Two Year Olds
These sales are held from January through May. These horses are presented to buyers on the first few days of the sale; then there will be a “breeze” or an “under tack” show on the racetrack where the horses will gallop or “breeze” for one to four furlongs. The purpose of these shows is to demonstrate movement and potential speed of these horses. The horses are then able to be viewed again and are later taken to the auction ring to be sold a few days after the show. While these sales will present a smaller selection of horses, they are much closer to being race-ready than yearlings.
These sales are held from October through February and offer weanlings, broodmares, stallion prospects, and racing prospects. Weanlings are considered to be a low-risk purchase since they can usually be sold for a higher price as yearlings or two year olds. Owners and other connections can oversee the development and management of these horses as they grow into racing age. Broodmare ownership can be an exciting venture since owners have the ability to breed their own racing or sales prospect and can follow development from birth until racing age. Lower-quality stallion prospects, as well as actively racing horses, can also be purchased at these auctions.