The Horse Indicator
I'm here in Saratoga at the Fasig Tipton Selected Yearling Sale, which takes place tonight and tomorrow.
It's basically the top 235 one-year-olds at auction.
Not surprisingly, at a Fasig Tipton sale just last month, gross revenues were down 26 percent as compared to a year before, the average price for a horse was down 15.8 percent, which was actually better than expected.
The subplot here is interesting because given the 11-month gestation period, the stallion contracts for these horses were negotiated in 2007 at the height of the market. So there is the very real possibility that some of these owners may now be "underwater" on their horses, like the housing market.
Shiekh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the most powerful man in horse racing is personally here for the first time in more than a decade, which is important. It was his battle with horse titan John Magnier that bid a horse, which was named 'Green Monkey', up to a record $16 million three and a half years ago.
Although spending is down at least there are new tax benefits. As part of the farm bill, buyers of horses tonight and tomorrow can benefit from an accelerated depreciation schedule. If you buy a two-year-old or younger, you can write off a horses value in four, instead of eight years.
There are some interesting stories in this auction, the first one is #39 an unnamed Bernadini filly purchased in November for $1.45 million.
The other good story is a horse called 'On A Storm', which is one of seven yearlings in the auction from the last crop of 'Storm Cat', who had the highest stud fee at $500,000 per live foal.
This one in particular is seen as the best of the Storm Cat crop because of his physical attributes.
Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com
Update: An earlier posting had the picture of the wrong Bernadini yearling.