Market Talk: The Sept. Sale's First Week

Read what the Keeneland auction's participants had to say.


The first week of the Keeneland’s September yearling sale in Lexington has been completed. Read about what people had to say about the market prior to Sept. 16:

Peter O’Callaghan, Wood’s Edge Farm: "The veterinary situation is very tough. There are too many nice horses here with minor stuff that will never amount to anything. The last time it will ever be talked about is here at the sales. But they’re not making the cut, making what they should be. All of us (consignors) experience it and it's something we have to factor in. But it’s still very frustrating, especially when you sell all these horses that go on to the races and do so well. The variation in the difference of opinion between the veterinarians is staggering."

Bob Feld, California-based bloodstock agent: "I think the market is very, very strong. We’ve been trying to buy a horse in the $300,000 range and we can’t. It seems like it's really tough at that level. We all seem to land on the same horse as always and everybody is trying to be a little more cautious in what they spend to a certain extent. Everyone is trying to spend a little wiser and not spend as much."

Greg Goodman, Mt. Brilliant Farm: "It’s spotty. If there is a horse that has absolutely nothing wrong with it, I think you can sell it for good money. But it’s hard to sell a horse with the slightest little thing that’s wrong."

Catherine Parke, Valkyre Stud: "I had four completely different yearlings in book two (of the sale catalog). But I think there was more depth to the market; lots of people were interested in each type. That was very refreshing. The feeling I get here is optimism. Everything feels more positive and optimistic to me. People are being a little more aggressive when they really like a horse."

Kerry Cauthen, Four Star Sales: "When you lead up the good horse, they (the buyers) are there for you. In the middle of the market, it’s a little sticky. I think this is the nature where we are trending towards a market where we’re putting a variety of different kinds of horses in the same book (of the sale catalog near the start of the auction). We’re going to have a lot of highs and we’re going to have a lot of lows."

Craig Bandoroff, Denali Stud: "Book one (the select session) was tough. They (buyers) just wanted the stars. Yesterday (Sept. 11), we had a very good day. But the ones they want, they’re stepping up and paying for and the ones they don’t want, they are walking away from them. But look, if you had told me coming in here that Sheikh Mohammed wasn’t going to buy one horse (during the select session) and the average and median were going to be up, I would have told you that you must have have been smoking something. That’s a huge positive. It’s a very resilient industry."

Ciaran Dunne, Wavertree Stables: "I thought it was an exceptional group of horses (in book one) and they are very good in book two. Our short list is not very short. We are going to run out of money a whole lot sooner than we run out of horses. But the market is still very polarized. Even though I say our short list is not very short, we’re eliminating 80% of the catalog and I guess everybody else is doing the same thing. If they (buyers) don’t love them, they don’t love them at all."

Bill Farish, Lane’s End: "I think the market has been a little spotty. The good horses are selling pretty well, but anything less than a really good horse is not selling well. Over the last five years it's gotten more and more selective. At some point that’s going to have to stop playing out."

Tommy Eastham, Darby Dan Farm: "The market is fair. It’s not silly money or anything that we’re seeing that is unexpected. Generally, our appraisals have been pretty close. We’re not really missing on many. At the barns, I’ve done some comparables to previous years and we’re actually up about 15% in overall show volume, so there is a little more activity."

Ted Voute, Clearsky Farms: "The market is pretty specific. It’s chicken or feathers, I guess. People are better at finding horses and they all center on the same ones. They want the best and they don’t want to come out for the second best. They would rather not have them. They’re all pretty sure about which ones will work."

Brian Graves, Gainesway: "Whenever we lead a nice horse up here, it exceeds our expectations. With the rest, it’s a little tough. But up to Hip No. 638, we’ve been able to sell every horse (privately) after we bought it back. We’ve found a buyer. The buyers are here and we’re selling."