Demand for Weanlings Shapes Market

Demand for Weanlings Shapes Market
Photo: Marc Manning
The highest-priced weanling sold at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale. A Pulpit filly out of Madcap Escapade (by Hennessy) that brought $1.7 million.

Speculators – both those looking to resell next year and end-users wanting to get in on the "next big thing" – swarmed the Keeneland November Breeding Stock sale looking for weanlings. Their demand for these young horses kept this segment of the market relatively strong despite the large number of weanlings available. 

Statistics compiled for the Keeneland November sale and published in’s Data Digest show that the 1,234 weanlings purchased this year was the highest number sold at Keeneland for the past five years. As might be expected with more horses available, the average weanling price fell 14.5% to $61,050 from $71,443 a year ago. The number of weanlings that sold for $100,000 or more, however, was 220, which is the second-highest number sold in this category in the sale’s history. There was equally strong demand at the highest end of the market as shown by the 11 weanlings that sold for $500,000 or more compared to 10 that sold in this price category last year. 

The highest-priced weanling sold was a Pulpitfilly out of Madcap Escapade (by Hennessy) that brought $1.7 million. The only two Kingmamboweanlings in the sale brought the second- and third-highest prices of $950,000 (the top weanling colt out of Because, by Sadler's Wells) and $850,000, for a filly out of Crystal Crossing (by Royal Academy). 

Based on average price for three of more weanlings sold, the leading sire was Dynaformer, whose three Keeneland weanlings averaged $453,333, with a low price of $60,000 and a high of $700,000. Next was Pulpit, whose average was $409,000 for five sold, topped by the aforementioned $1.7 million weanling and whose lowest-priced weanling sold for $45,000. 

One of the most watched segments of the weanling market is that of first-crop sires, whose first foals are being seen publicly for the first time. Their weanling prices are generally a solid barometer of how the market perceives the quality of stallions’ offspring. 

Among the first-crop sires, Ghostzapper had the highest average of $755,000, with his two weanlings bringing final bids of $775,000 and $735,000. Darley stallion Shamardalwas second by average, with only one offered bringing a final price of $275,000. Among other first-crop sires of weanlings, Rock Hard Ten was third on the list, with his seven weanlings averaging $188,571. 

Weanling sire and first-crop weanling sire averages are among the plethora of Keeneland November sale data compiled by Scot Gillies,’s research editor, and published in the exclusive Data Digest, which is now available as a free downloadable PDF to all subscribers of The Blood-Horse that have registered on

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