Louisiana Sale Looks For Continued Growth

LQHBA Yearling sale looks to continue its growth.

By Martha Claussen
July 24, 2013

fjr bread n butter

FJR Bread N Butter is a LQHBA Yearling Sale grad.

The 37th annual Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders' Association Yearling Sale will take place on Friday, August 9, and Saturday, August 10, at the Coushatta Casino Resort Pavilion in Kinder, Louisiana. The sale has experienced phenomenal growth since its inception in 1977. The first sale, held at Delta Downs offered 39 yearlings; this year's edition will feature 523 yearlings up for bid.  That number is impressive, but far from the only benchmark setting the standard in Louisiana.

Since the passage of casino gaming in 1997, racing and breeding in the Bayou State has reached new heights. Delta Downs was the first racetrack to install slot machines in 2002 and as of 2008, Delta Downs, Fair Grounds, Louisiana Downs and Evangeline Downs each have on-site racinos. With this additional gaming revenue, the four tracks are able to offer a minimum of 148 Quarter Horse race dates annually with lucrative stakes schedules and more than $22 million in purse money. By passing through the LQHBA sale ring, the graduates are eligible to run in the 2014 LQHBA Breeders' Futurity, with an estimated purse of $1 million.

The Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders Association is committed to improving the quality of the accredited Louisiana-bred racing program. In addition to the LQHBA Yearling Sale, they host a Fall Mixed Sale and maintain a dedicated association with AQHA to promote the industry.

Leverne Perry, executive director of the LQHBA, is quick to point out the number of incentives for Louisiana racing.

"We have slot machines throughout the state and great racetracks that offer many race dates in Louisiana," said Perry.  "Nobody has more racing opportunities than we do."

Perry explained that last year 478 mares owned by out of state LQHBA members were shipped to Louisiana to take advantage of the breed incentives. 

"Once the mare is bred to a stallion standing in Louisiana, she must be domiciled in the state until her foal is born and accredited," said Perry.  "This has become a tremendous economic boost to the state as farms, feed companies, veterinarians and workers benefit from this."

Perry also points out tax benefits to Quarter Horse owners thanks to legislative inroads aided by the American Horse Council.

"A breeder is eligible for 50 percent tax credit for the first year," said Perry. "With in excess of $4.5 million dollars paid in mare and stallion awards, there is no better time to get involved in Louisiana breeding and racing."

Sale Growth
Since 2010, over 500 yearlings have been cataloged annually in the LQHBA Yearling Sale with gross sales between $2.4 and $2.9 million. There was growth last year with total sales of $2,962,200 with the sale topper, a Jess Louisiana Blue colt, sold for $56,000. The average price paid was $8,844 versus $8,241 in 2011.

In 2012, Game Patriot led all sale sires by average with 17 yearlings at $17,535, followed by Jess Louisiana Blue with 10 for $16,960 and Coronas Leaving You with 15 for $16,713. Fast Prize Dash was the leading first crop sire with 11 head averaging $6,064.

Robicheaux Ranch
Robicheaux Ranch LLC has been one of the biggest consignors for the LQHBA Yearling Sale. Their impressive roster of sale graduates include Vals Fortune, Dealagame, Coors Select, Jess A Feature and 2013 futurity champions, Sandra Sue Blue and Dashing Jet Rio.

Ryan Robicheaux serves as sale coordinator for the farm, which is owned by his parents, Jude and Regina.

Robicheaux smiles when asked about Vals Fortune, the millionaire racing champion.

"We call him the 'blue light special,' " said Robicheaux. "He went for $22,000 at the 2002 sale and ended up winning $1.1 million. With 20 wins from 23 starts, he was one of the best horses I have ever known."

Robicheaux, 33, reports that 94 Robicheaux Ranch yearlings will be shipped to Kinder, the second-highest number in the family's 13-year association with the LQHBA Yearling Sale.

"The sale has been great for our family and for Louisiana racing," states Robicheaux.

He points out that while it is always a goal to win a million dollar futurity, the breed incentives in Louisiana continue to make tremendous strides.

"With 25 percent of purses as incentives, breeders can earn nice checks, even if they don't win the Lee Berwick or LQHBA Futurity," said Robicheaux.  "In July, a 2-year-old maiden allowance at Delta ran for $28,000.  Those checks can add up."

National Marks
Graduates from the LQHBA Yearling Sale continue to make their mark, not just in Louisiana, but on the national racing scene.

The 2009 LQHBA Sale had one of its biggest stars in JLS Mr Bigtime, who quietly passed through the sale ring as hip number No. 91 and was re-purchased by his breeder for $19,000. The gelded son of Bigtime Favorite is approaching the $1 million mark in career earnings with a second-place finish in the 2010 All American Futurity (G1), which had a purse of $1.9 million.

Jet Black Patriot was another outstanding sale graduate, repurchased by Janelle and Richard Simon for $20,000 at the 2007 LQHBA Yearling Sale. The black colt quickly garnered attention as a 2-year-old, winning the $545,649 LQHBA Breeders' Futurity (RG1) in 2008 and finishing second to Stolis Winner in the $2 million All American Futurity (G1).  He retired with earnings of  $876,921 and has followed his success on the racetrack with a highly promising stud career. Jet Black Patriot was the fifth-ranked first-crop sire in 2012.

FJR Bread N Butter
FJR Bread N Butter won the $564,895 Lee Berwick Futurity (RG1) on Saturday, July 13, at Delta Downs, defeating a talented field of 2-year-olds in a track record setting performance. Owned by Jaime Torres, the elation in the winner's circle following the victory was shared by the entire Torres family.  They had strong memories of spotting the son of Heza Fast Dash out of the Toast to Dash mare Toast Butter, bred by Ricky John Broussard.

"He got no respect at the sale," said Torres.  "People took one look and said he had knocked knees and didn't look like a runner. We were not swayed by what we heard. We bought him for $8,500 and he just won the Lee Berwick."

Torres received the Lee Berwick Futurity trophy and the winner's check for $282,447. In just five career starts, FJR Bread N Butter has increased his career earnings to $316,247.

Nothing to Lose
There's lots of reasons to head to Kinder on August 9 and 10. Both days of the sale will be fast-paced and tremendously exciting. There is great dining and gaming at Coushatta Casino Resort, and of course, you could be the first to spot, bid and own the next Louisiana champion.

"We've had some great horses that have competed well on a national level," states Perry. "There is a history of successful horses and good money for stallion and broodmare owners. In other words, lots of reasons for someone to come out and buy a horse."