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Big hopes for this weekend’s inaugural Ontario super sale

by Dave Briggs
 
The London Selected Yearling Sale, to be held Saturday and Sunday at the Metroland Media Agri-Plex at the Western Fair District in London, ON, is the result of the Forest City Yearling Sale and Standardbred Canada’s Canadian Yearling Sale joining forces.

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This weekend’s inaugural London Selected Yearling Sale was born with some inspiration from the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Now the co-manager of the London sale is hoping to replicate the gangbuster results of the Lexington auction, as well.
 
“It was a phenomenal sale in Lexington and beyond expectations, as far as being able to top last year’s statistics. It’s exciting that there’s such a strong market,” said Ann Straatman, reached Wednesday at the Metroland Media Agri-Plex facility at the Western Fair District in London, ON while setting up for the London Selected Yearling Sale that will be held Saturday and Sunday (Oct. 14-15).
 
Both sessions begin at noon.
 
The Lexington sale, which was formed in 2002 when the Kentucky Standardbred Sale and Tattersalls Yearling Sale came together, concluded last week with records for gross, average, median and number of yearlings that sold for $100,000 or more.
 
The London sale is the result of a similar partnership — this one between the Forest City Yearling Sale and Standardbred Canada’s Canadian Yearling Sale.
 
Straatman credits Standardbred Canada CEO Dan Gall for bringing the two sales companies together.
 
“We’ve had these discussions for years now and it was Dan Gall and his insight into bringing Ontario together at this time that we were able to put it all together this year. I give him a lot of credit in being instrumental in taking that leap forward,” Straatman said.
 
Straatman said she thinks consignors and buyers will see a huge benefit from having just one major yearling sale in Ontario.
 
“I think it’s one-stop shopping. The convenience is one big step forward,” said Straatman, who will co-manage the new sale with Standardbred Canada’s Heather Reid. “Being able to compare the horses all together under one roof, I think will give an advantage to the buyers. They won’t be waiting to see what’s coming at the next sale. They will see everything all together and be able to make their selections immediately that day.”
 
The primary attraction at the London sale is Ontario-sired horses eligible to the lucrative Ontario Sires Stakes program that will feature some $13.25 million in purses in 2018.
 
Ontario-sired yearlings sold very well in Lexington and Straatman said she hopes that trend will continue in London.
 
“People are looking for Ontario-sired horses and recognizing the strength of the program here in Ontario and paying for those type of horses in order to be able to play in the Sires Stakes. It’s very exciting for us,” she said.
 
This year’s crop of provincially-sired horses is not only up in numbers from last year, it’s more diverse thanks to the introduction of several first-crop sires.
 
“I think we have a great offering this year,” Straatman said. “I think the strength of our catalogue has increased. We have a lot of the popular perennial sires this year, plus we’ve got some new crop sires that I’m very excited about as well.”
 
The opening session of the London sale comes the same day as that evening’s $1.8 million OSS Super Finals at Mohawk. That was no accident. The sale and the Super Finals, which feature eight championship races going for $225,000 apiece, are designed to showcase the Ontario breed, which has long been among the industry’s best.
 
“We have equal quality on both days,” Straatman said. “Our horses were alphabetized using their dams’ names. The first 120 will sell on Saturday and the remainder will sell on Sunday. We chose a shorter day on Saturday to accommodate Super Final night at Mohawk. We want to make sure that everybody is able to get away by 4:00 or 4:30 in the afternoon to be able to attend that event that night.”
 
Straatman said the Metroland Media Agri-Plex is a great facility to buy and sell horses.
 
“It has recently undergone a huge renovation and is state-of-the-art as far as selling horses and hosting events,” Straatman said. “Regardless of the weather on the weekend, we’ll be dry and toasty inside."

Photo (by Claus Andersen): Walter Parkinson of Seelster Farms from last year’s Forest City Yearling Sale.

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