A spirit of optimism is sweeping through the horse racing community which bodes well for the future of horse racing, because despite a volatile global economy, even though buyers are becoming more discerning about which horses they do buy that doesn't mean they're not prepared to spend more money to get the horses they want.
If the Fasig-Tipton yearling sales are any indication of an economic upswing then horse racing enthusiasts had better saddle up for a thrilling ride. The Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July North American yearling sale kick started the buying cycle on a high note with reports that their total sales for the first day amounted to $15,364,000. That figure was 15% higher than last year's figure of $13,349,000 even though fewer horses were sold despite having a larger catalog. Clearly trainers are more confident about investing their money in yearlings, and investing more in quality rather than quantity.
Compared to the 2011 sales the average yearling's price increased from $69,890 to $81,291, top prices surpassed $310,000 and fifteen horses sold for over $200,000. Although not a yearling, another high note was struck when Malibu Moon fetched $375,000. Fasig-Tipton President and Chief Executive Officer Boyd Browning Jr. concluded that buyers and sellers are becoming more confident in the marketplace about buying yearlings.
Some buyers expressed their disappointment at not being able to get decent horses at reasonable prices but they weren't settling for an average horse either. There isn't a trainer in the world who would be satisfied getting the best horse that he could afford when better horses were available. But horse racing is less about racing horses and more about winning races; and average horses are just average.
Unfortunately, breeding champion horses often just begets an expensive lineage that doesn't make it into the winner's circle -- but there is always the relatively cheap thrill one gets from the unraced offspring of a freshman sire. They've got the history, breeding and potential to throw a champion even though only time will tell if they have what it takes to finish in the winner's circle.
Tockyocky Racing took a huge chance buying the unraced Demonic Hamonic through an online horse auction from Kes Racing at Digiturf.com. He had the peace of mind that he was buying from another reputable trainer, who was able to produce some impressive training records, but that wasn't a guarantee of how he would perform in actual races against other horses; but that didn't deter other trainers from bidding for Demonic Hamonic.
The average virtual race horse at Digiturf.com retails for $15 but trainers can set their own prices when selling through their online auctions. So when Kes Racing entered his unraced $15 virtual horse into the auctions with a minimum reserve of $3,750 it did raise a few eyebrows in the virtual horse racing community. What raised even more eyebrows is that five trainers started competing against each other in an aggressive bidding war that drove Demonic Hamonic's selling price up to $5,225. Bidding closed at $5,225 when Tockyocky Racing made the final offer that was impossible for anyone else to outbid.
As incongruous as what it may seem to pay $5,225 for an unraced virtual horse, that is little more than computer pixilation rather than a flesh and blood thoroughbred, there are good reasons why trainers would part with that much cash for a virtual horse on Digiturf.com.
Digiturf.com might seem like just another virtual horse racing community that races horses online but their biggest distinction is that their players are competing for real cash stakes. Money might make the world go round but on Digiturf.com players around the world are competing for real money. Digiturf.com makes those races even more competitive by adding sponsorships worth $320,000 to each virtual horse racing season. A season lasts four months, complete with a $79,000 Championship Series and a supporting race program for weaker horses, but ultimately it's about winning a championship title at the end of the season. And that's what makes a $15 virtual race horse worth $5,225 at Digiturf.com.
You couldn't make that much money selling houses -- but you could by racing virtual horses at Digiturf.com!
Digiturf.com is a simulated online horse racing game where players develop their skills and strategies in owning, training and racing virtual horses against others from around the world. The horses are computer generated but the stakes are real.