Spirited bidding from a gathering of about 250 at the Keeneland Entertainment Center Jan. 9 bought $714,000 in stallion seasons to benefit of the Thoroughbred Charities of America.
The TCA's 26th Stallion Season Auction fundraiser raised $737,500 for all its live auction items, which included 10 no-guarantee seasons to Blame , Bodemeister , Candy Ride , Carpe Diem , Curlin , Into Mischief , Malibu Moon , Medaglia d'Oro , Speightstown , and Super Saver . The season sparking the most action was one to Medaglia d'Oro, which included a 2017 season breed-back provision and brought a final bid of $235,000. Darley's top sire stands this season for $150,000.
"That was major homerun, and we're grateful for Darley's perennial support of the TCA and its mission," TCA president Dan Rosenberg said.
Key support for this year's auction also came from a first-time sponsor, the Roth family's LNJ Foxwoods, which donated $30,000 as the event's top sponsor.
"They contacted us and asked how they could be involved," Rosenberg said. "They want to continue being involved, and not just in a monetary way but in a roll-up-your-sleeves-and-go-to-work way. They really care about their horses; they care about all horses."
Other TCA Stallion Season Auction sponsors include Lael Stable, Rosenberg Thoroughbred Consulting, PBI Bank, Candyland Farm, Stoll Keenon Ogden, John Deere, Bourbon Lane Stable, Starquine.com, Fasig-Tipton, Keeneland, The Horse magazine, L.V. Harkness, Flair Nasal Strips, Thoroughbred Daily News, and Blood-Horse.
The 26-year-old TCA, which is the charitable arm of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, provides support to non-profits benefiting horses and people. Since 1990 the TCA has issued more than $21 million in grants. Of the money it raises annually, 95% is granted directly to eligible non-profits.
Total sales for live and 39 silent auction items was not immediately available. Action was brisk on shadowboxes containing five halters previously worn by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah ($3,550), dual classic winner California Chrome ($2,500), 2015 leading sire Tapit ($2,600), multiple champion mare Beholder ($2,000), and 2013 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Orb ($1,500).
Besides money raised at the live auction, the TCA also held an online and phone bid auction on other donated stallion seasons. That portion of the fundraiser attracted 350 participants who bought nearly 150 seasons. The total raised by the purchases will be available in the coming week.
The TCA presents a couple of awards at its annual dinner.
Mike McMahon and Jamie Hill's Bourbon Lane Stable received the Allaire Du Pont Leadership Award for the partners' commitment to finding suitable second careers for its retired racehorses. Bourbon Lane has funded a dedicated paddock at Old Friends Retirement Farm near Georgetown, Ky.
The TCA Industry Service Award went to The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Incentive Program, which provides cash incentives for Thoroughbred-only divisions at horse shows in the U.S. and Canada. In 2015 nearly 750 horse shows in 42 states and Canadian provinces participated in the program. The number of participating horse shows has grown 350% in the last four years.
"Programs like TIP are important in rebranding the Thoroughbred," Rosenberg said. "Back when I was involved in hunters and jumpers, if you didn't have a Thoroughbred, you didn't get pinned. Then the warm bloods out-marketed us. We need to get back to where Thoroughbreds are valued for what they are—athletes."