Keeneland January Sale

Keeneland January Sale

Anne M. Eberhardt

Keeneland Jan. Sale Set to Kick Off 5-Day Run

Keeneland officials hoping for market stability in 2011's first major auction.

The January horses of all ages sale isn’t Keeneland’s premier mixed auction. That distinction belongs to the November breeding stock sale.

But just because its offerings aren’t as flashy doesn’t mean there won’t be horses that are tempting to buyers in the first major Thoroughbred auction of 2011, which will be held Jan. 10-14 in Lexington.

The two most recent winners of Keeneland’s Alcibiades Stakes (gr. I), Negligee and Wickedly Perfect, are scheduled to go through the sale ring on the auction’s opening day. Negligee, who captured the 2009 edition of the Alcibiades and is a Canadian champion, will be offered by John Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, agent, as Hip No. 125. Wickedly Perfect, who triumphed in the 2010 Alcibiades, is Hip No. 245 in Robert and Blythe Clay’s Three Chimneys Sales consignment, which will offer her as agent.

A 4-year-old daughter of Northern Afleet , Negligee is identified in the sale catalog as a broodmare prospect. Wickedly Perfect, a 3-year-old daughter of Congrats , is identified as a racing or broodmare prospect.

Another attractive offering on the January auction’s first day is 2010 Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes (gr. IT) winner Ave, who is Hip No. 276. Consigned by Three Chimneys, the 5-year-old daughter of Danehill Dancer is listed as a racing or broodmare prospect.

“We’ve got a good cross-section of racing and broodmare prospects and a good selection of short yearlings, which are always popular,” said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s director of sales. “The January sale traditionally has been a good marketplace for pinhookers. There were a lot of end users buying in November, so we’re hopeful that pinhookers haven’t filled up their barns yet (because of the competition last fall) and they will be out buying. I think we’ll have a good international representation of buyers here, but obviously not at the same level or depth as in November.”

Last year’s Keeneland September yearling sale posted increases of 3.3% in gross revenue, 6.7% in average price, and 13.6% in median price. The November auction’s results included downturns of 7.7% in gross, 12.4% in average, and 15% in median, but Russell was not discouraged by the numbers because the auction didn’t have a dispersal that compared to the large and lucrative Overbrook Farm sell-off in 2009.

“I think we saw some stability in the latter part of 2010, and we hope that will continue on through in 2011,” Russell said.

However, the Thoroughbred market will continue to face some stiff challenges. While the American economy shows signs of improvement, it still is far from strong. In addition, credit remains tight and Thoroughbred racing is in a period of extended decline in purses.

“I don’t know if we are positive, but we are optimistic; you have to be in the horse business,” Russell said. “We look forward to the games beginning.”

Selling at Keeneland will start each day at 10 a.m. EST.