Fewer quality horses than usual resulted in lower prices at the Midlantic winter mixed sale Sunday at the Timonium fairgrounds.
Some 145 horses sold for $896,800, an average of $6,185 per horse. At the same sale last year, 189 horses sold for $1,725,500, an average of $9,130.
"The difference was in the quality of the horses," said Mason Grasty, executive vice president of Fasig-Tipton Midlantic, the sales company. "It doesn't signal a downturn in the market."
The most significant weakness was in yearlings. At last year's sale, yearlings sold for $80,000, $70,000, $55,000, $45,000 and $42,000. Sunday, the top yearling brought $25,000. He was a Grindstone colt purchased by Rodney Jenkins.
The sales topper was Bantierna, a 12-year-old Roberto mare in foal to Polish Numbers. Teresa and John Garofalo of West Chester, Pa., bought her for $67,000.
Meanwhile, Fasig-Tipton officials have changed the time and place of the resale of Bernice L. Givens Sykes' repossessed horses because some yearlings have contracted the contagious respiratory disease strangles.
Eighty-nine of the horses have been cataloged for resale at 10 a.m. Feb. 13 at the Paris (Ky.) Stockyards. They were to be sold during the initial session of Fasig-Tipton's February mixed auction Feb. 11-12 in Lexington, Ky.
Sykes, who identified herself as a real-estate developer from Waldorf, bought 75 horses for $431,100 in December at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale at Timonium and 59 horses for $267,700 last fall at the Keeneland sale in Lexington.
Although she did not pay the sales companies, which had extended her credit, the sales companies paid the sellers of the horses. Fasig-Tipton is trying to recoup losses by repossessing some of the horses and offering them at auction. Keeneland is selling horses from its sale privately.