The number of horses consigned to Keeneland's September yearling sale is down for the second year in a row. But the Central Kentucky auction still ranks as the largest of its kind in the world.
Listed in the September catalogue are 4,367 yearlings, a total that represents a 2.6% decline from last year's comparable figure of 4,483. The sale's record high of 4,652 was established in 2000.
This year's auction will run for 12 days, beginning on Sept. 9 and ending on Sept. 21. The schedule includes a one-day break on Sept. 13 to give buyers time to inspect yearlings in the catalogue's third book. In 2001, the auction had 13 sessions, but was interrupted when Keeneland officials decided not to conduct business on Sept. 11 following terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
There are 2,259 colts, 2,106 fillies, and two geldings in this year's catalogue. Sires represented include Storm Cat, with 20 offspring; A.P. Indy ( 31); Deputy Minister (35); Gone West (20); and Kingmambo (38).
Last year in September, the 2,895 horses sold grossed $254,190,600 and averaged $87,803. The median was $25,000. The gross and average were the auction's second-highest ever, but failed to keep pace with record-setting performances the previous year. The gross declined by 12.9% while the average fell by less than one percent. The number sold and median also were down.
Keeneland began offering a yearling auction in October last year, a move that may have contributed to the decline in Keeneland's numbers. Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome also could have had a small impact.
"I am not surprised by the number of horses," said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland's director of sales.By Deirdre B. Biles