Sellers' Profits Up at Keeneland Sept. Sale

Stories about Thoroughbred auctions focus a lot on key business figures such as gross, average price, and median price. But for sellers, the most important numbers are the ones that show whether or not they made a profit.

Based on The Blood-Horse’s calculations, the financial fortunes of commercial breeders and pinhookers improved during the Keeneland September yearling sale, which ended its 13-session run Sept. 24 in Lexington.

Commercial breeders benefited from lower stud fees and a rise in prices for the yearlings they offered. The average stud fee cost to produce their horses was $37,443, down 15.5% from the $44,315 amount for the yearlings in the 2010 September auction. The horses that were sold at Keeneland brought an average of $76,511, an 18.1% increase from 2010’s comparable figure of $64,811.

Unfortunately, only 20% of the yearlings offered were profitable, but that was a significant advance from 13% last year. The yearling price to stud fee ratio was 1.94, an increase from 1.40 in 2010.
For pinhookers at Keeneland in September, 46% of the horses they offered were profitable compared to 42% last year. Their rate of return on investment was 45.9%, a big improvement from 24.2% a year ago.

Pinhookers paid an average of $48,742 for their stock as weanlings or short yearlings at public auction. The amount was down 18.2% from the $59,588 average purchase price for horses in the 2010 September yearling auction. The average price brought by pinhooked yearlings at Keeneland was $84,066, down only 1.5% from last year’s comparable figure of $85,325.

Factors taken into account by The Blood-Horse's calculations include cost of the horses' upkeep and Keeneland's 5% sale commission.