I faced a quandary in profiling Terence Collier, Fasig-Tipton’s director of marketing and primary auction announcer, not to mention its longest-tenured employee: Even though Collier has helped build the Saratoga Springs outpost of the world-famous Thoroughbred auction house into one of the premier marketplaces for Thoroughbred buyers and sellers the world over, what I found most intriguing about him had nothing to do with racing and everything to do with his strong, elegant voice.
Growing up in Kent, England, Collier had a way with words from an early age. As a teenager, he was the lead vocalist in an early iteration of the rock band that would become the ’70s-hit-record-producing Vanity Fare. In fact, his version of the band was good enough to serve as a warm-up act to The Rolling Stones. But he tells me he’s not interested in reliving his past life as a rock star. “I’m trying to forget that,” he says. What he’s most proud of? His work for Fasig-Tipton, which he started more than four decades ago, and with the auctioneer’s key Saratoga Sale, which he rates “as important as any Thoroughbred auction in the northern hemisphere.” This year, Fasig-Tipton’s annual Saratoga Sale and New York Bred Yearlings auctions occur on August 5-6 and August 11-12, respectively, with an additional Saratoga Fall Sale (of broodmares and weanlings) on October 15, all taking place at the Humphrey S. Finney Sales Pavilion on George Street in Saratoga.
Now 71, Collier’s the signature voice of the Saratoga auctions—and he’s not just reading from a script; he’s very much up to speed on what he’s selling. “We look at pretty much every yearling that’s on those grounds in those four days of select sales,” he says. “So I’ve got an overall impression of the yearling’s value as an individual and in its pedigree.” His meticulousness, combined with the relationships he’s developed in the high-risk, high-reward industry, make him a compelling figure when he takes the auctioneer’s stand. “In our minds, and in the minds of most people, he’s certainly the best sales announcer in the world,” says Boyd T. Browning, Jr., Fasig-Tipton’s president.
After talking with him, I still wasn’t satisfied; I wanted to know more about Collier the lead singer versus Collier the announcer. And that’s when he dropped this morsel on me: Anyone can see him in action beside pianist Roger Moss at Siro’s at the conclusion of sales nights. “I’ll catch you by the side of the piano,” he promised. I’ll be there, Terence.