Turfites are saying that this year’s Stud Farm Association (SFA) of Trinidad and Tobago Yearling sale was the worst ever in the history of the sale.
Thesale was held on Sunday November 17, 2019, At Santa Rosa Park, Arima, near the Trainers’ Stand where horses pass to go to the starting stall.
It was also a poor turnout of owners and trainers, who had preferred to keep their money in their pockets.
In the past, the Trainers Stand used to be crowded with owners, trainers and relatives of horse owners. There was a bar and free food to owners of horses who had their horses entered for the sale.
But this year, the stand was empty and the small crowd had to line up against the railing that separates the Grand Stand and Trainers’ Stand to view the horses.
The sale-topper was $40,000 which was bought by millionaire trainer Harold Chadee, whose horses race under his son’s name Dave Chadee. The other “babes” were sold for between $5,000 and $10,000.
ARCPresident Robert Bernard described the annual sale as very poor as only nine of the 18 horses that passed through the sales ring were sold. There are reports that out of the nine at least four of them were bought back by their respective breeding farm owners.
Owners’ horses would not have to pay a penalty ($2,000) to be eligible to race in any of the SFA stakes races (which are for locally-bred horses).
Secretary of the SFA Richard Halfide said 46 Yearlings were catalogued to pass through the sales ring but only 18 came because some of the horses were sold privately, while some did not pass the veterinarian examinations and others had conformation problems.
In 2017 owners spent just over $900,000 in the Yearling Sale and this dropped to $309,000 in 2018. This year owners spent just over $100,000.
Many owners are blaming the long delay in paying stakes money, which delay is now taking about eight months.
One owner said the ARC owes him for two races his horses won since March this year.
He said this is unacceptable since owners have to dig deep in their pockets to upkeep their horses. He said an owner has to spend about $50,000 a year to upkeep a Yearling before the horse hits the track as a two-year-old.
There are reports that the ARC owes owners about $7 million in stakes money. This year the auctioneer for the Yearling sale was John Rufus, an employee of the Trinidad and Tobago Racing Authority (TTRA).