by Dick Healy
Though summer visitors to Saratoga Springs, N. Y. find excitement and
unparalleled thoroughbred racing at the famous Race Course on Union Avenue,
attending the annual yearlings sales at the Fasig-Tipton Company’s Humphrey
S. Finney Sales Pavilion, where high-stakes horse auctioning happens, is
The many updates at Fasig-Tipton that will
greet visitors this season include major renovation to the Pavilion, with
new inside seating arrangements to accommodate 700 of horse racing’s most
celebrated owners, trainers and bloodstock agents. Often mingled among the
hundreds that attend the sales are any number of print, TV and movie
personalities, many of which personally own thoroughbred race horses.
As one veteran Fasig-Tipton attendee
remarked, “These special sales nights are a happening. Few other Saratoga
scenes can match it.”
What the sales present, especially during
the two nights of the Saratoga Selected Yearlings Sales (this year, Monday
and Tuesday, Aug 2-3), is an opportunity to get up close and see the
spirited yearlings being paraded along the expanded equine ring. And to see
and listen to the rapid-fire voices of Fasig-Tipton auctioneers as they
entice buyers to increase bids on a particular offering.
Over the years the sales grounds and
facilities have been steadily improved; however, since the Kentucky
headquartered Fasig-Tipton was purchased two years ago by Synergy
Investments Ltd., the overall changes are remarkable. Visitors will be
treated to newly inlaid patio walks, impressive stone bordered entranceways,
modern bathrooms and easy access to the restaurant and bar service areas.
Buyers are at the sales grounds daily
prior to the actual auctions. Lunch and dinner, offered by the renowned
Schenectady based Glen Sanders Mansion, is served right on the property. A
nearby snack bar serves hotdogs, hamburgers, coffee, soda and assorted
desserts. The general public is welcome and there is no charge to enter the
“Everything here is pretty much accessible
to the public,” says Fasig-Tipton facility manager, Bill Meissner, “however
the pavilion seating is set aside for owners, buyers, sellers and approved
associates and friends.”
Saratoga’s premier builder Bonacio
Construction Inc., whose firm also built several downtown high-rise
condominiums and other projects, renovated the Fasig-Tipton site. Idea
Source of Louisville, KY did the design.
If you miss the Aug 2-3 sales auction,
there will be the New York Bred Preferred Yearlings Sale Saturday and
Sunday, Aug 7-8, at the same place. There is ample parking in parking lots
adjacent to the sales grounds for a modest fee.
Aside from the Yearlings, the evening
sales are ablaze with the latest ladies’ and men’s fashions, as the mix of
visitors attracts an international group including English, Irish, and
Arabian attendees. Evening sales generally begin around 7:30 p. m.