The number of entries for this year's Keeneland September yearling sale is "comparable" to the total for last year's auction, according to Keeneland's director of sales Geoffrey Russell. He declined to provide the exact figures, but projected that the number catalogued would be "close to, but down a little" from the 4,367 listed in 2002.
The auction had an early bird closing date for nominations of March 1; the final closing date was May 1.
"We're quite content," said Russell on May 14.
Keeneland canceled its July select yearling sale this year, with officials blaming mare reproductive loss syndrome (MRLS) for sharply reducing the number of top prospects with flashy pedigrees and early birth dates in Kentucky. (The 2002 July sale had a catalogue of 200 yearlings.) MRLS also had the potential to cause a significant downturn in the number of entries for the Keeneland September sale.
"I am surprised that the number (entered) is as comparable to last year as it is," Russell said. "It shows that consignors have the same confidence in the September sale as 'The Marketplace' that we do."
Keeneland made "an extra effort" to recruit September yearlings from outside Kentucky this year, according to Russell. But because entries were still being processed in mid-May, he could not determine if more out-of-state horses had been nominated, helping to pump up the numbers.