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Buying Frenzy at Standardbred Sale Generates $70 Million

D Liteful Hanover, a half sister of 2007 superstar Donato Hanover, was the top selling Pennsylvania-bred yearling at the 69th Standardbred Sale in Harrisburg, PA November 5-10. The filly, bred by Hanover Shoe Farm, brought $325,000. Credit Hilary L. Spears
Standardbred Horse Sales Co. conducted its 69th Annual Sale at the PA Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg November 5-10. A total of 2,041 horses were sold during the six-day event for $70,579,500, with an average of $34,581. Gross sales shattered the previous record of $66.7 million set in 2006. The buying frenzy was supported by slots-enhanced racing and breeding opportunities in Pennsylvania, New York, and Ontario, and by the strength of the Euro and Canadian dollar.

The yearling sale portion of the event kicked off on November 5 with sales increasing 10.5 percent over 2006. The highest priced yearling was Bedtime Song, a trotting filly by Windsong's Legacy out of Bold Dreamer, dam of the dominant 3 year old filly Pampered Princess, whose career winnings top $1,500,000. Consigned by Peninsula Farm (KY), Bedtime Song was purchased by Michael Andrew of Maine for $360,000. Trotting colts were most in demand, averaging $48,558. Pacing colts averaged $43,737, trotting fillies averaged $41,865, and pacing fillies averaged $30,749.

The top yearling from a Pennsylvania farm was D Liteful Hanover, a Revenue trotting half sister to World Champion winner of 19 straight races Donato Hanover ($2,919,327). Selling to David Scharf and Steve Jones (NY) for $325,000, D Liteful Hanover was raised at historic Hanover Shoe Farms of Hanover, PA. The top sire at Harrisburg was Hanover trotting sire Andover Hall, with 39 yearlings that averaged $78,154. Top price paid by a PA buyer was $320,000 by Greg Peck of Newtown for Touchdown Town, a Muscles Yankee trotting colt consigned by Perretti Farms (NJ).

Mixed Sale

The Mixed Sale topper was double World Champion mare and likely 2007 Trotting Mare of the Year Mystical Sunshine ($1,793,755), purchased by Carter Duer (Agt.) for Dana Parham and Robin Schadt of Odds On Nourirr (Illinois) for $525,000. Duer announced that Mystical Sunshine will likely be bred to Donato Hanover after he retires to stallion duty in 2008 at Hanover Shoe Farms. The top selling male racehorse at $320,000 was Big Business, a 3 year old pacing gelding by Hanover sire Dragon Again that had much of his Stakes success in Pennsylvania.

Yearling buyers from New York and New Jersey were most active, with purchases of $10.6 million and $9.3 million respectively. Hanover was the leading Pennsylvania-based yearling consignor, with over $8,800,000 in gross sales while averaging over $53,000. Other major Pennsylvania consignors were Vieux Carre Farms of Gettysburg with over $1,750,000 in gross sales; Fashion Farms of New Hope with over $1,200,000; Hempt Farms of Mechanicsburg with over $580,000; and Pin Oak Lane Farm of New Freedom with over $330,000 in gross sales. The PA consignors realized sales in the amount of $13.8 million, selling 333 horses that averaged $33,969. Gross sales by Pennsylvania consignors increased 28 percent from 2006. Highest gross sales by any consignor were by Northwood Bloodstock Agency (NJ), with gross sales of $12.9 million and an average of $29,204 for 445 horses sold.

To attract additional international buyers, the Department of Agriculture and the Standardbred Breeders Association of Pennsylvania provided an incentive package to first-time international buyers who purchased Pennsylvania-bred yearlings. As a result, 21 horses were purchased for $512,000 by qualifying buyers representing Russia, Tatarstan, Finland, Sweden, Great Britain and Ireland.

Record Success

According to Paul F. Spears, President of Standardbred Horse Sales Company and Executive Director of Standardbred Breeders Association of Pennsylvania, "The 2007 Standardbred Horse Sales Company Annual Sale was an enormous, record-breaking success. Our industry has a renewed sense of optimism, fueled by the attractive financial opportunities of slots-enhanced purses in New York, Pennsylvania, and Ontario. The new Pennsylvania slots program is rapidly supplementing both overnight purses and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes purses. Standardbred horse ownership is once again becoming an attractive investment option for new owners. Not only do they have a chance at owning "the big horse", they now have a reasonable chance of making money with even a moderately talented horse. Andrew Cohen, a financial columnist for Barron's magazine, is promoting Standardbred horse ownership through his columns in Barron's and on Standardbred racing websites. Ellen Harvey of the United States Trotting Association periodically holds "new Owner Seminars" that educate new owners in various aspects of Standardbred racehorse ownership. And best of all, it's great fun!"

In 2007, overnight purses for harness racing at Pennsylvania tracks have increased dramatically, and approximately $5 million will be awarded to Pennsylvania breeders. The Pennsylvania Sire Stakes program is expected to add $5 million to the Pennsylvania Pari-Mutuel program from slots revenue, possibly raising the total purses for Pennsylvania Sire Stakes to about $9 million in 2008.

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