Yearling Sales and COVID-19

Published: August 10, 2020 07:39 pm EDT

Just like most Ontario yearling buyers, I have been trying to figure out how we are going to navigate the yearling sales this year.

As things stand now, I think most Canadians won't be going to the U.S. to look at yearlings and they won't be going to the yearling sales because we have to quarantine for 14 days when we return to Canada. My guess is that this rule will be in place at least until the end of the year unless there is a big turnaround in the status of the COVID cases in the U.S. which doesn't seem likely the way things are going.

Here in Ontario I believe the online auctions and the live auction -- if it is allowed to proceed -- will do OK because buyers can go around to the farms here to inspect the yearlings. I suppose that the Ontario-based yearlings that sell in the U.S. could do OK because we would at least have a chance to inspect them here in Ontario before they ship to the States. I can understand why the breeders like to get the U.S. dollars for their OSS yearlings but I always question the expense of shipping the yearlings down to the States and then we buy them for U.S. money, have the expense of shipping them back to Canada to race for Canadian money in the Sires Stakes, but that is another issue.

The only way that I can see the U.S. breeders getting top dollar for their Ontario-sired yearlings is to either sell them here at a live auction or ship them to Ontario for a week or so giving the Ontario buyers a chance to inspect their yearlings. I know this would be a substantial expense and breeders might not even be interested in doing so but it would keep the Ontario buyers in the game, and we could bid online or by phone with some confidence wherever the yearlings were being sold because we at least got to inspect them once. We are in a situation where horses can move freely back and forth across the border but people can't.

It's a tough year and radical moves are going to have to be made by breeders, sales companies and buyers to get through it. Hopefully this is just a one-year problem.

The views presented in Trot Blogs are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Standardbred Canada.