Anne M. Eberhardt

Keeneland September Sale Opens Monday

Keeneland will play host to the international Thoroughbred community for the next two weeks as it conducts its 65th annual September yearling sale. The catalog is the largest in the auction’s history, with 5,555 horses listed.

The sale opens Sept. 8 in Lexington and runs though Sept. 23, with a break from selling on Sept. 12. Sessions will begin each day at 10 a.m. (EDT).

“Keeneland’s September sale is recognized globally as the ‘gold standard’ for yearling auctions,” said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s director of sales. “This sale offers buyers from across America and every corner of the world quality and value at all levels of the market. It is truly one-stop shopping.”

Reigning Horse of the Year Curlin, the second-leading North American money-earner of all time and winner of six grade I stakes, is a graduate of the 2005 September sale. Other alumni include champions Rags to Riches, War Pass, Wait a While, Midnight Lute, English Channel , and Maryfield; Good Ba Ba, Horse of the Year and champion miler in Hong Kong; and Canadian Horse of the Year Arravale.

“Keeneland September Sale graduates have distinguished themselves on every racing front,” Russell noted. “We were represented last year by six Eclipse Award winners, including Horse of the Year; two classic winners in Curlin and Rags to Riches; five winners of the Breeders’ Cup, including a 1-2 finish with Curlin and Hard Spun in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I); and War Pass, the highweighted colt on the Experimental Free Handicap. It was an extraordinary year, and the momentum has continued into 2008 with 17 grade I winners to date.”     

The world’s most prominent sires are represented by September sale yearlings, including A. P. Indy, Awesome Again , Danehill Dancer, Distorted Humor , Dixie Union, Dynaformer, El Prado, Elusive Quality, Empire Maker , Forestry, Fusaichi Pegasus , Galileo, Giant’s Causeway, Gone West, Harlan’s Holiday, Johannesburg, Kingmambo, Malibu Moon , Mineshaft , Montjeu, More Than Ready , Mr. Greeley, Pivotal, Pulpit, Rahy, Sadler’s Wells, Seeking the Gold, Smart Strike, Storm Cat, Street Cry, Theatrical, Tiznow , Unbridled’s Song, and Vindication.

Also cataloged are yearlings by such top young sires as Afleet Alex, Candy Ride, Chapel Royal, Closing Argument, Congaree , Consolidator, Eddington, Eurosilver, Forest Danger, Friends Lake, Ghostzapper, Leroidesanimaux, Limehouse, Lion Heart, Medaglia d’Oro, North Light, Offlee Wild, Pollard’s Vision, Pleasantly Perfect, Purge, Rock Hard Ten, Roman Ruler, Saint Liam, Smarty Jones , Speightstown , Strong Hope, Tapit , and Value Plus.

Keeneland Productions and HRTV are partnering to provide live coverage of the opening two days of the September sale. will stream the live auction signal each day of the 15-day sale. During the opening two days, a second stream also will provide enhanced coverage and commentary.

Last year’s auction produced total sales of more than $385 million, the second-highest September gross in history. An industry record 3,799 yearlings were sold, including 32 for $1 million or more.  Demi O’Byrne, on behalf of John Magnier and Coolmore Stud, purchased the sale topper, bidding $3.7 million for a colt by Unbridled’s Song out of Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Secret Status, from the consignment of Lane’s End, agent.