Mixed Reactions to Keeneland Format

Mixed Reactions to Keeneland Format
Photo: Joe DiOrio
Niall Brennan

The introduction of Keeneland’s two-session April 2-year-olds in training sale received mixed reactions from the consignors that offered horses April 8-9 at the Central Kentucky auction.

In an attempt to shake things up and hopefully create more of a buzz among buyers, Keeneland offered one breeze show, April 7, and then held the sale the two following evenings.

Below are comments from consignors about the new sales format:

Niall Brennan of Niall Brennan Stables: “I think the buyers need more time. Breezing on Monday and trying to sell on Tuesday night was very difficult for people to get their work done. Many people said to me they felt a bit rushed and they were only looking at yesterday’s horses yesterday, and thought they could do it that way but then you are not looking at Wednesday’s horses at all. It doesn’t make sense and people don’t get their homework done and get their vet work done, and talk to their clients on the phone. There is just a lot of things that make a sale happen, and I just think that it has been shown, even in the earlier sales this year, that three or four days between the breeze show and the sale day works better. I think buyers are more prepared.”

Brennan said while he did not consider the sale an ideal situation, he commended Keeneland for trying something different.

Mike Akers of Dapple Bloodstock, who also operates a pinhooking partnership with Ciaran Dunne of Wavertree Stables said:  “I think we are all feeling our way through it. The veterinarians are probably squealing about not having enough time, but it is easy to say that you could just have them all sell on Wednesday night, but then you run up against the race meet.  It seems like there are a fair amount of lookers here, and all in all, everybody is giving it a chance.

Consignor Eddie Woods called the new format “fine” and added: “If people want to buy horses it doesn't matter where you have them.  We can have them in the courtyard of the Campbell House (Lexington hotel) and people will drive down there to buy them.  It is that simple and that is the way it has always been. If people are interested in the horse then they will come to the sale no matter where it is or when it is.”

Jerry Bailey of Jerry Bailey Sales Agency : “I can understand the two nights but we could have sold all of these in one session, but with the race meet, Monday and Tuesday would not have been enough time for vetting. It would have to be Monday to Wednesday and could they start early enough, I don’t know. I am satisfied with the format.”

Mike Mulligan of Leprechaun Racing: “I really like the new format, and I know there has been a lot of controversy about it. I think it is good. The horses were here all weekend and all the professional horse buyers looked at horses on the end of the shank prior to the breeze show. They are going to have a feel on how they feel about the horses before they breeze, which I think is good. Then, the horse breezes, and the horses that breeze exceptionally well they are going to find those horses.”

David Scanlon of Scanlon Training Center: “Obviously, some changes needed to be made after last year. You have to start somewhere with the changes, and I think it was a good area to start into.”

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