Auction Retrospective: Time to Crunch the Numbers


A 15-day yearling sale such as the one that concluded Sept. 25 at Keenelend can be a tiring ordeal for breeders, consignors and their help, agents, and personnel at the sales company.

While many of those involved in the industry can take a well-deserved break once the sale is over, for others the work continues, albeit in a different direction. In the days and weeks immediately following the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, most breeders, their agents, and stallion managers pore over the results to see which trends are emerging and where changes need to be made.

Yes, by almost any measure the Keeneland sale was a solid success, from just below the very top all the way down to the lowest price category. But when you get beyond the broad overview, there are some sectors of the market that outpaced others, resulting in large returns for some breeders.

On the other hand, there were some holes in the market, leaving other breeders with losses from their 2005 breeding decisions -- thus, the need to review the numbers and try to figure out how to achieve a different result in subsequent years.

This process of numbers crunching has far-reaching effects on upcoming mixed sales, next year’s breeding season, and the following year’s yearling sales.

To assist this effort, BloodHorseNOW, has assembled an array of data to put the sale in perspective and plan for the future. These tables not only provide insight into the specifics of the sale just completed, but also chart historical trends for the sale.

For example, breeders can use these tables to take a hard look at whether the decisions they made two years ago paid off this year and, if not, why. They will use the numbers to help determine whether to go a different direction in stallion selection or whether it is commercially feasible to even continue to breed some of their mares. Others will go through a culling process, deciding to enter their breeding stock in the fall and winter mixed sales.

Stallion managers also use the world’s largest yearling auction as their barometer for setting 2008 stud fees. They will also peruse the numbers to see how many yearlings sired by their respective stallions were put on the market and whether there is a disparity between the number of breeders who are breeding for the market rather than to race. A glut of yearlings by a specific stallion within the commercial market could result in a cap on the numbers of mares booked to that sire.

If information is key to success in any venture, these September sale statistics should help many within the industry as they make key decisions affecting their breeding and sales programs.

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