TLP: Pimping the Studs During Derby Days
If you've ever wanted to go to the Kentucky Derby, this is your year. Aside from the parties and the infield drunkenness and the gaudy clothes, you could go home with a thoroughbred at a bargain price this year. Or better: buy a farm. There are plenty available.
The for-sale signs on horse farms are as common as the bluegrass and the limestone fences here, and breeders have grown accustomed to sending horses through the auction ring and feeling fortunate when they fetch half of their asking price — or anything at all. The run-up to the Kentucky Derby is normally an exciting time for lawyers playing matchmaker between deep-pocketed clients and owners of can’t-miss stallion prospects.The Kentucky Thoroughbred Association says lending for horse-farm sales has dropped by 60 percent in the last three years. There's been a 30-percent jump in the number of horse farms for sale since last year and colts with hot bloodlines are going for a scant $2 million, down from nearly $10 million a few years ago.
“The rails are quiet,” said Mike Meuser, a Lexington lawyer who is usually in the forefront of such deals. “Collecting, or trying to collect money, is the bulk of my business these days.”
More from the NYT:
The economic decline of racing, however, will be on full display during this year’s Triple Crown season. Eskendereya, who would have been the favorite for the Kentucky Derby but was pulled out with an injury, is owned by a bankrupt stable. The owners of Pimlico Race Course, the historic racetrack in Baltimore that hosts the Preakness Stakes, are going through bankruptcy. And the New York Racing Association said it might not have enough money to hold the Belmont Stakes this year; it is trying to get a loan from the state government.You still could get lucky. The mares are, according to the Times:
Dynamics similar to those that brought down subprime mortgages have been at work in the horse business: no-money-down lending and a breeding market based on the assumption of ever-rising prices.
“We ignored the notion of supply and demand,” said Arnold Kirkpatrick, president of the Lexington real estate firm Kirkpatrick & Company. “We bred too many horses, overborrowed to do it, and are now caught trying to sell them to people who don’t want them.”
These days it is far cheaper to get a date with a blue-blooded stallion. The top of the market for stallions like Dynaformer is $150,000, according to BloodHorse.com. Smarty Jones, who nearly swept the Triple Crown in 2004, once stood for $100,000, but today he can be had for $10,000.Is that what you call a cheap shot?