LQHBA Fall Sale is Nov. 7
Louisiana mixed sale catalog up this year.
By Martha Claussen | October 28, 2015
The Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders Association will present its 2015 Fall Mixed Sale on Saturday, November 7. The action begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Equine Sales of Louisiana LLC sale pavilion in Opelousas, Louisiana.
This marks the second year that the event will be held in Opelousas, just minutes away from Evangeline Downs. LQHBA board members made the decision last year to move the event to coincide with the big racing weekend, which is highlighted by trials for the $1 million LQHBA Breeders Futurity (RG1).
The catalog lists 223 sale prospects, up from 142 listed in the 2014 Fall Mixed Sale. Once again, prospective buyers will have a wide selection from weanlings and yearlings to broodmares and horses of racing age. Since 1986, the sale has offered consignors an opportunity to close out their year with a boost in sales and buyers one more opportunity to purchase a broodmare, weanling, yearling or racehorse in training.
"It will be a very exciting weekend for our association," Tony Patterson, LQHBA Executive Director said. "Sale goers will have a chance to attend the trials for the $1 million LQHBA Breeders' Futurity on Friday evening and the LQHBA Breeders Derby trials on Saturday evening at Evangeline Downs. It’s only a five-minute drive from the track to the Equine Sales Company of Louisiana."
The 2014 event had a change of venue to the Equine Sales of Louisiana LLC sale pavilion in Opelousas, Louisiana. LQHBA officials were hopeful that holding the sale close to Evangeline Downs on the same weekend as trials for the LQHBA Breeders Sale Futurity would increase attendance and participation.
Chris Blanchet, who owns Blanchet Farms in Ville Platte, sent 32 last year, but has 37 listed in this year's Fall Mixed Sale catalog. Blanchet and his wife, Kim, were two early proponents of moving the sale to south central Louisiana to coincide with trial weekend for the LQHBA Breeders Futurity and Derby.
"Moving the sale to Opelousas was very good," said Blanchet. "The new venue has 300 stalls, which fits well, and having it the same weekend as trials for the million dollar race falls right into place for horsemen."
Consignors Preparing Their Stock
Over 59 consignors in Louisiana are making final preparations to send their horses to Opelousas.
Noted Louisiana breeder and owner Leverne Perry has 25 consigned to the sale, with broodmares, weanlings and yearlings. His daughter, Leigh Lepinski, speaks with pride when previewing their sale prospects.
“This consignment is a part of a major herd reduction from his farm where he raised champion Mr Jess Perry, along with regional and LQHBA champions," said Lepinski. "Some of the mares cataloged are from the female family of Mr Jess Perry. Those will always hold a special place in our hearts. Throughout this process, I can't help but think ‘Is the next Mr Jess Perry-in-the-making out of one of these mares in foal?’ Scoopie Fein was 14 when she foaled Mr Jess Perry. I hope mares and offspring from his farm will follow in those footsteps, and continue in the Louisiana program that he is honored to be a part of building it into what it is today."
It's a busy time for the father-son duo of Steve and Stephen Tate of Tate Farm. They stand several prominent stallions on their farm in Ville Platte, Louisiana, including Sir Runaway Dash, Heza Fast Rogue, Zoomin For Bux, Fighter On Fire and Jumpn Chic.
Many consignors point out that, due to a variety of reasons, some yearlings are not ready in August. Horsemen appreciate an additional three-month window to evaluate some of the late developing babies for the sale ring. The Fall Mixed Sale serves that population very well, according to Stephen Tate.
"The Mixed Fall Sale gives us a place to go with babies that were not ready for the Yearling Sale," said Tate. "That sale has gotten so big that it's nice to have a second sale to sell the yearlings that needed a little more time to mature."
"We have a good number of horses and a mix of everything going into this year's sale," adds Blanchet. "Every year we have trainers coming to us looking for additional prospects later in the year."
Horsemen who make a winning bid on one of the weanlings or yearlings in the Fall Mixed Sale are in luck as the majority of the young horses in the sale are currently eligible for the LQHBA Breeders' Futurity. The race, held at the end of November at Evangeline Downs, is the only seven-figure futurity in Louisiana.
There are a record number of yearlings that will pass through the sale ring for the 2015 LQHBA Mixed Sale. Of the 92 yearlings, payments are up to date for 55 for next year's event. The catalog has 20 weanlings listed and the owners of 18 have made the first payment for the 2017 LQHBA Breeders' Futurity.
"This is another opportunity for horsemen to spot the next major Louisiana champion," adds Patterson. "The majority of young horses that will pass through the sale ring are paid to date for the richest state-bred futurity in the country."
The Mixed Sale offers racing prospects, but also valuable broodmares for horsemen looking to add to their stock and reap the solid financial rewards of the Louisiana breeding program.
"It is the largest selection of any sale of mares in foal that are eligible for the Louisiana bred program, which is the strongest breeder award program in the country," explains Lepinski. "The number catalogued has increased but so has the quality. We have such a strong program in Louisiana for racing and breeding that this sale offers a concentrated market for buyers to get involved in whatever level or need to fit their racing and/or breeding operation."
Big Weekend in Opelousas
On Friday, November 6, from 12- 3 p.m., the Acadiana Equine Hospital at Copper Crowne, 5124 Highway 182 in Opelousas, will host an Open House and Stallion Showcase. Their veterinarians and staff will be on hand to demonstrate many of the services offered at one of the most innovative equine hospitals. The event is free and open to all horsemen and sale visitors. Meet their staff and view demonstrations on Aquatred therapy and the latest advancements in dynamic endoscopy. Refreshments will be provided along with entertainment and giveaways.
Friday evening will be a big night at Evangeline Downs with trials for the $1 million LQHBA Breeders Futurity. Post time is 5:35 p.m., but could be modified depending on the number of trials. The ten fastest qualifiers will return on Saturday, November 28 with the winner earning nearly $450,000.
The Mixed Sale gets underway at 9:30 a.m. and should wrap up with plenty of time prior to the Saturday night card at Evangeline Downs, which will feature trials for the first ever LQHBA Breeders Derby.
It is a very important weekend to the Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders Association board of directors and association members.
"The quality offered in this catalog, shows that sellers are confident that this is a viable option to market their horses without having the added expense of traveling far away to other sales," stated Lepinski, who serves as first vice president for LQHBA. "The timing and location of the sale with the trials for the $1 million LQHBA Futurity and the LQHBA Derby creates a synergy of excitement that has buyers looking for the next future qualifier. This is going to be an exciting weekend of sales and racing!
Mark November 6 and 7 on your calendar. Whether it be watching the thrilling trials for the LQHBA Sale Futurity or making an investment for 2016 racing and breeding, it will be quite a weekend in Opelousas!
Martha Claussen served as publicity director at Sam Houston Race Park for 10 years. She continues to be active in writing, fan education and Quarter Horse racing publicity in Texas, Louisiana and other regions in North America.
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