Because of the upcoming Keeneland sale of 2-year-olds in training, Easter Sunday wasn't a day of rest for some people. Buyers and consignors spent April 8 on the Kentucky track's backstretch working. The auction is scheduled for April 9, beginning at 4 p.m. (EDT), in Lexington.
Below are what some horsemen had to say about the juvenile market in general and the Keeneland auction in particular:
Barry Berkelhammer, Florida-based bloodstock agent: “There are some very nice horses here. Some are later to bloom and I think that’s how they kind of end up here traditionally. They might not have been pressed on as much at the earlier sales.
“Hopefully, I’ll be able to buy one, but so far the competition has been pretty stiff this year. The market has been strong. But we’re all zeroing in on the same horses because everybody wants to be running on Saturday afternoon at Saratoga. The guys who want to run at Charles Town aren’t calling us.”
Nick de Meric, de Meric Sales: “We’ve had two very solid days (April 6 and 7) of showing. Most of ours (shoppers looking at our horses) are regular core buyers here and there are quite a few more domestically-based buyers that maybe we haven’t seen at all the other select sales. Hopefully, that will make for a good recipe for a healthy sale and hopefully, the sale has some depth to it. We’ve got a strong hand here and I think they (the horses) have been well received, so far anyway.”
Ciaran Dunne, Wavertree Stales: “I think for about five years now we sell 30% to 40% of what we catalog. The horses that separate themselves on the track by performance are the horses that sell the best. And that’s how it’s supposed to be. We keep hoping that someone is going to come along and mop up the pieces – buy those middle market horses – but it’s just the nature of the business (that they don’t). The more we expose them (the horses) and the more we show them, the more we show people what they don’t want. In the same way that we don’t want to buy those horses (with weaknesses), neither do they. I don’t see any real change here.”
Eddie Woods, consignor: “This sale will be the same as it always is. It’s really hard at the moment to gauge it because it is so long between the breeze show and the sale. There is so little (product) to look at over a five-day period. It’s not concentrated enough where you can think, ‘Well, they’re all on this horse and nobody is on that horse.’ Today we won’t see much here (in terms of buyers) after lunchtime and rightly so, it’s Easter. Tomorrow, hopefully, we’ll see a bit of a glut (of lookers).
“I like it better when you have to pull the trigger – in, go, do, out. I like it when we’re buying that way and I like it when we’re selling that way. All the boutique sales that have all this time prior to them suffer from over-analysis.”
Kip Elser, Kirkwood Stables: “There are great buying opportunities here. These horses have been pre-selected by very good horsemen and a good sale company team. They’ve already climbed several steps on a very steep pyramid. Even the ones that possibly are under the top of the sale are still very, very good horses. I think that’s what people are missing when they go somewhere and want to buy the best horse of the day.”
John Stephens, Stephens Thoroughbreds: “We’ll see. I think that if you have the right horse, you’ll do great. That’s kind of the way it’s been at every sale so far.”