Disclosure is a key issue that will be addressed by the recently formed Sales Integrity Task Force. An incident at the Keeneland September yearling sale once again sparked the debate about whether or not sale participants should be required to disclose their names or the names of their clients.
After Japanese trainer Hideyuki Mori bought the record-setting, $8-million Storm Cat
-- Welcome Surprise colt, he declined to disclose who would own the yearling much to the dismay of journalists covering the auction. Mori asked Keeneland officials to honor his client's request to remain anonymous, and they did.
Said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland's director of sales and a member of the sales task force: "I believe a person has right to buy and sell under whatever name they feel most comfortable. A seller should be able to use whatever brand he thinks will be the strongest in selling, whether it's his own name or an agent's. A buyer, if he goes off and recruits a new client, has a right to protect that client's name (from publicity). This is not the task force's opinion; it's my opinion."
To make it easier for him to deal with the media, Russell asked Keeneland staff members who knew Mori's client's identity not to tell him the name.
"I don't know; it's not part of my job to know; it doesn't concern me," Russell said. "When all is said and done, I'll be informed."