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Past the Grandstand

Two-Year-Old Sales Season Gearing Up

As the Triple Crown trail continues to gain more momentum, the possible stars of next year's trail gear up for two-year-old sales season. Throughout the spring, an abundance of quality auctions for juvenile Thoroughbreds can be found throughout the nation. Leading sales companies like Barretts, Fasig-Tipton, Keeneland, and Ocala Breeders' Sales (OBS) all present at least one annual two-year-old sale, with sale season commencing with the Barretts Selected Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale on March 4.

In order to provide buyers with the best tools to find a future champion, sales companies hold under tack shows, or breeze shows, in which the cataloged juveniles perform brisk breezes. These works typically are performed at the distance of one furlong, though juveniles sometimes breeze a quarter-mile or even three furlongs. While viewing these works, possible buyers are able to attempt to measure the potential in the cataloged two-year-olds, judging not only the time in which the breezes are executed, but the manner in which the horses travel. Other means of selecting the best purchase include analyzing a horse’s pedigree, conformation, and attitude.




















Some prefer to purchase two-year-olds rather than yearlings, as juveniles are closer to their racing debut and are much more mature, physically and mentally. However, horses entered in two-year-old sales have usually been placed under great pressure, which may ensue in soundness, or even mental, issues.

But purchasing a two-year-old at auction can certainly bring great success. In fact, 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another was sold at the OBS Spring Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training of April 2011 after having been purchased as a pinhooking prospect – or a horse bought for with the purpose of reselling – as a yearling. Graduates of 2012 two-year-old sales include the grade one winners Executiveprivilege (OBS April), Rolling Fog (OBS April), and Spring in the Air (OBS March), as well as the graded stakes winners Balance the Books (Keeneland April), Goldencents (OBS June), Honorable Dillon (Fasig-Tipton Florida), Kauai Katie (Fasig-Tipton Florida), Know More (Barretts May) and What a Name (Keeneland April).

Last year, the amount of juveniles sold at select two-year-old sales was down, but the average price tag for two-year-olds bought at the quartet of select juvenile sales held annually increased nearly 19% from 2011’s average purchase price. The median also improved by nearly 28%. Though buy-back rates increased, high-priced horses were less rare than they were in 2011, with three two-year-olds being purchased for seven figures as opposed to just one in 2011.

Three select juvenile sales, the Barretts March Sale, the OBS Selected Sale (March Sale), and the Fasig-Tipton Florida Sale, have already released their catalogs. The Barretts sale has cataloged 138 two-year-olds, down 11 horses from last year, whereas the OBS sale has 345 horses entered, down 17 horses from last year. Fasig-Tipton’s Florida Sale has cataloged 136 juveniles as opposed to last year’s 167; the company’s Texas auction has cataloged 131 two-year-olds, down from last year’s 150.

“Our expectations for the sales are much the same as last year,” Eddie Woods, who in recent years has sold the likes of classic winners Big Brown and Union Rags at two-year-old sales, said. “Two-year-old sales are leaning towards the higher end of the market. . . and that is the healthiest place to be.  A lot of that is due to the success of the two-year-old graduates across the board all over the country.  This is something we are extremely proud of, and hopefully it continues to proliferate.”

2013 Two-Year-Old Sales Schedule


Under Tack Show Date

Sale Date

Barretts March Sale of Selected Two-Year-Olds in Training

March 1

March 4

OBS Selected Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training

March 7 & 8

March 12 & 13

Fasig-Tipton Florida Sale

March 22

March 25

Fasig-Tipton Texas Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale

April 1

April 3

Keeneland April Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale

April 4

April 8

OBS Spring Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training

April 16-19

April 22-25

Barretts May Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training

May 10

May 13

Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Two-Year-Olds in Training

May 15 & 16

May 20 & 21

OBS June Two-Year-Olds & Horses of Racing Age

June 14-16

June 18 & 19


Photo courtesy of Terri Cage


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Older Comments about Two-Year-Old Sales Season Gearing Up...

I don't have a problem with getting on them early, if they're worked keeping in mind the level of their conditioning. The stats I've seen are that horses raced at 2 actually hold up better than horses that don't start till three. I don't like the under tack shows because there's no way these babies should be working those types of fractions.
Have to agree with you there cocoa, I don't like these at all.
These under tack shows are crazy. Making babies run a furlong in something like 9 seconds... We really shouldn't be able to get on these horses until they're 3 or so.
Great info here, Mary ... Something I would like to dabble in down the road.
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About Mary Cage


Mary with champion Classic Empire

Mary Cage, a 21-year-old avid fan of horse racing, has been around horses all her life, having owned, shown, and judged them for as long as she can remember. She began writing her own horse racing blog, Past the Grandstand, in August 2011 and has since been published in America's Horse, American Racehorse and the Appaloosa Journal, as well as with the websites of The Blood-Horse and The Equine Chronicle. She has also had photos published with Paulick Report and Thoroughbred Daily News. In addition, she works as one of the social media coordinators for the Texas Thoroughbred Association and has interned at WinStar Farm with a marketing focus - with projects involving photography, videography, giving tours, data entry, etc. 

In her personal horse experience, Mary has been around horses all her life and has won several Appaloosa National Champion and Reserve World Champion titles in the show ring. She has also worked as a hotwalker and groom.

Mary has always aspired to have a career with horses and since her love for horse racing began, she has dreamed of pursuing a career in the Thoroughbred racing industry, possibly as a writer/photographer and marketing/communications specialist. She is currently attending the University of North Texas, where she is a journalism major with a concentration in advertising and a minor in marketing. With this blog, she hopes to show readers horse racing through the eyes of a young fan and transport you to some of racing's biggest events through her photos and words.

University of Louisville College of Business Equine Program

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