Murray Brown On Black Book Sale

Published: November 6, 2009 10:21 am EST

The yearling portion of the Standardbred Horse Sale ended Thursday, showing a 6.2 per cent increase in the average price compared to 2008, while the new four-day format drew positive reviews


The 1,079 yearlings sold brought a total of $34.2 million for an average of $31,769. Last year, the average was $29,891 for 1,094 horses. The total price was $32.7 million.

“There was a strong demand for a good yearling, right to the very end, which pleased me no end,” sales manager Murray Brown said. “It shows we’re still alive and breathing. People love to own horses and they enjoy them. There is great opportunity in racing; probably the greatest opportunity we’ve ever enjoyed. We take it as we get it.

“Anytime you’re up in this economy, you’re happy.”

Trotting colts averaged $37,721 (compared to $35,523 in 2008) while pacing colts brought an average of $32,874 (compared to $30,638). Trotting fillies averaged $31,864 ($28,978) and pacing fillies averaged $25,878 ($25,041).

“Today (Thursday) was very much like Wednesday; very solid,” Brown said. “The horses they wanted, they wanted. The ones they didn’t want, they just weren’t willing to pay a whole lot for. For some of the better ones, they might have overpaid relative to the market on Monday and Tuesday.”

Kelly O’Donnell bought Thursday’s sales topper, a Glidemaster colt named Oaklea Texas, for $80,000. He is a half brother to 2005 Champlain winner Oaklea Opal.

“He’s a really good looking colt, very athletic,” said O’Donnell, who purchased the horse for owners Mark Maynard and Jack Tramonte. “He’s the perfect size – not too small, not too big. He just looks like he carries himself real well.”

O’Donnell was a fan of the new format that stretched the yearling sales over four days, rather than the traditional three days. The sale continues Friday and Saturday with broodmares and racehorses.

“I think it’s better,” O’Donnell said. “Three (days) is tough; you are so tired at the end of the day. The next two days will be tough, because they’ve got a ton to sell, but there’s not quite as much looking at those as what you’ve got to look at here.”

Trainer Jonas Czernyson agreed.

“You’re not as tired as when you got home at eight o’clock,” Czernyson said. “It’s kind of easier to get up the next day and get going again. I think it’s a great idea. You have more people that hang around because they can still go home, take a shower and go out for dinner.”

Brown estimated 90 per cent of the feedback he received regarding the format was positive.

“It worked out very, very well,” Brown said. “I couldn’t be more pleased.”

This story courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, visit