Participants in the Keeneland April sale of 2-year-olds in training sale speak out on the horses in the April 8-9 auction and the new two-session evening format:
Mike McMahon, McMahon Bloodstock, on the More Than Ready – Riverboat Miss filly that sold for $625,000 out Eddie Woods’ consignment: “I bought her (as a yearling for $250,000) for clients. I have a syndicate, but this one was actually owned by two of my other clients, Henry Mast and Stephen Wigmore, who wanted to buy nicer fillies like this.
“She is gorgeous. I like to buy the best by the sire and she was the best More Than Ready filly last year, for certain. I think More Than Ready is the greatest.
“She’s always been fast. She does things normal horses don't do. I have to give credit to Eddie and Angel (Woods). They carry the ball all the way from when we sign the sale ticket for $250,000 and give them the yellow slip. They do a fantastic job.”
“I like the night sessions a lot for the sale. During the daytime session (in previous years), you could walk around here and there were 40 people here. At night a lot more people are here, and they are enjoying the sale. They’re relaxed and watching horses. It’s like a spring break for people foaling mares. They can come in and get out of the trenches for a couple of hours.”
Dean De Renzo of Hartley/De Renzo Thoroughbreds, which sold the $800,000 sale-topper, Don Gato (by Storm Cat): “He was a sale topper that I think was a wonderful buy. I mean that, really, truthfully. He was such a great buy because of the residual value. They can (eventually) stand the horse; there’s no down side him. They also can have a lot of fun racing him. That’s an exciting position to be in because, even though $800,000 is a lot of money, you’re in a great position to make money. With Storm Cat in the position that he is today (with fertility problems), I think they made a smart move.”
Eddie Woods on the $625,000 More Than Ready filly: “A great price went to a great horse. All the right guys were on her. It’s what a horse like that is supposed to bring. It was around my expectations. You just look at her and you go, ‘Oh wow, this horse can really run. Her video was awesome.”
John Stephens, Stephens Thoroughbreds: “It seems like it’s feast or famine. If they’re on your horse, if your horse shows himself well, you’re going to get paid for the horse. People have got to be realistic about what their horse is. Just bringing a horse to a horse sale doesn’t mean he’s going to bring a lot of money.
“Overhead-wise, one breeze show is good for consignors because we don’t have to be here for so long. It makes a big difference in our overhead. I mean (I could have used a second breeze show because) I had a horse that tried to buck the rider off and hit the rail, but you know what, those things happen.”
Tim McMurry, Lane’s End Bloodstock: “The new format turned out to be OK. The lack of time (between the under tack show and the start of the sale) wasn’t an issue. Some guys might have been pressed, but I wasn’t.”
Marette Farrell who worked with Alex Solis Bloodstock, which purchased a $600,000 Cozzene – Brookdale filly: “There were two horses that we really, really liked in the sale. We didn’t get the other one, so this was the one that we zoned in on and we waited and waited and waited, so we’re absolutely excited that we got her. She’s just so athletic, and she’s so classy. Her breeze was effortless, and when we went down to the back ring and watched her walk around, she just oozed class. She just walked around there like she was going to the winner’s circle after a race.”
Randy Miles, consignor: “I would prefer to see a little change and stretch it out a little bit more to give the buyers a little bit more time to relax in what their doing and to make them comfortable. The more the buyers are comfortable. the better off the horses are going to sell.
“I would schedule the breeze show on Thursday and sell on Monday -- that gives buyers plenty of time. Even though there are big races over the weekend, they still can get up the hill and do some work without having to do it so fast.”
Peter Bradley, Bradley Thoroughbred Brokerage: “I did not have orders for a dozen horses. I got one filly order for a medium-priced filly, so it was fairly easy to weed through the really good ones and the really bad ones.”
Randy Hartley, Hartley/De Renzo Thoroughbreds: “The top end is good and the rest of the horses are struggling. It’s like all the rest of the sales.
“I think people like a night sale. It gives it a little more pizzazz. Keeneland has done all they can. I just feel like the people are falling on a few horses. We need the $100,000 buyer and the $75,000 buyer. It’s a tough sale; people are distracted here with the races going on and the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) coming up.”
John Moynihan, bloodstock agent and adviser to Jess Jackson: “There are nice horses here. There are certainly some holes and that sort of thing, but the horses you try to buy always bring plenty of money. Good horses come out of this sale. Selfishly, I like having two breeze shows because it gives me more information to process, but I’m all for what is in the best welfare for the horse, so I understand only having one breeze show.”
Ron Ellis, trainer: “I thought there were a lot of nice horses here, but it’s a very hit or miss market. It seems like a lot of people are on the same few horses, and it doesn’t seem to be deep with buyers. I think it’s going to be very productive as these horses start racing.
“I was fine (with the short time between the under tack show and the sale’s start). I got a lot of the horses looked at yesterday (April 8) without any problem, but I could see where somebody would say that there wasn’t enough time, but there was for me.
Ciaran Dunne, Wavertree Stables: “There seems to be plenty of money here if they (the buyers) like them. But if they don’t like them, they (the horses) are going home. There is very little forgiveness in their heart.
“Keeneland is on the right track, but they might have to revamp it (the sale format) just a hair.”