Anne M. Eberhardt

Profit Difficult to Achieve at January Sale

Consignors and their clients still are struggling to make money.

Making money was still a challenge for consignors and their clients during the latest edition of the Keeneland January horses of all ages sale even though a global financial crisis that included a severe American recession and problems within the Thoroughbred industry led to widespread stud fee reductions in 2009 and 2010.

Only 5% of the 528 yearlings offered during the auction were profitable (based on The Blood-Horse’s calculations) and that result was down slightly from 6% in 2010. The average stud fee paid to produce the 399 yearlings that were sold was $20,565, down 16.2% from last year. However, the average price brought by those young horses also dropped, to $19,206 from $21,283 in 2010.

The yearling price to stud fee ratio was an anemic .89, a very slight improvement from last year’s result of .87. But, in an encouraging development, the buy-back/no bid rate for yearlings in the January auction’s latest edition dropped to 24% from 33%.

Only 25% of the pregnant mares offered brought prices that exceeded the costs of the stud fees paid to get them in foal. That result was down from 34% in 2010. But their price-to-stud fee ratio did improve to 1.48 from 1.38.

The average stud fee paid to get the pregnant mares that were sold in foal was $18,272, up 1.7% from last year even though the cost of stallion seasons in the industry declined overall. The average price brought by the mares was $28,242, up 8.6%.

The buy-back/not sold rate for pregnant mares was 32%, which represented a significant increase from 2010’s rate of 22%.

The sale’s 2011 five-day run ended Jan. 14 in Lexington.