The opening session of the two-night Keeneland April 2-year-old in training sale got off to a rough start April 8 at the Central Kentucky auction house with the number of horses not sold (30, or 46.9%) almost equaling the reserve not attained rate of last year’s one-day sale (47.1%).
“It is a 2-year-old sale and with 2-year-old sales performance counts. So, with performance you will have polarization.” said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland director of sales. “These buyers are sophisticated buyers. The horses who performed well sold like gangbusters tonight.”
Buyers and consignors alike agreed with Russell’s opinion of the opening session, many repeating the old adage that the good horses, who "ticked all of the boxes," sold well while the others that failed to meet all of the buyers requirements were received less than favorably.
A son of Langfuhr out of the Rubiano mare Coral Sea brought $700,000 from Jess Jackson’s Stonestreet Stable to top the first session of the sale. The colt, a half-brother to grade II stakes winner Cool Coal Man and who worked an eighth of a mile in :9 3/5 during the one-day breeze show April 7, was consigned by Niall Brennan Stables, agent. He was bred in Kentucky by W.S. Farish, E.J. Hudson Jr. Irrevocable Trust, and Kilroy Thoroughbred Partnership. Murray Smith signed the $135,000 ticket for him as a yearling.
“It’s a lot like the other sales this year,” said Seth Semkin, racing manager for California storage magnate B. Wayne Hughes. “The two that we bought, I thought sold very well. Mr. Hughes was very game to get the two that he got. They were nice horses and their prices reflected it.”
Hughes purchased a son of Cozzene, out of the Nureyev mare European Rose, for $575,000 from the consignment of Eddie Woods, agent. He also spent $675,000 for a son of Aldebaranout of the Storm Catmare Propriety from the consignment of Kirkwood Stables, agent.
Florida-based pinhooker Mike Mulligan of Leprechaun Racing, who sold four horses for $810,000, said this sale falls in line with the previous sales of 2-year-olds in training held earlier this year.
“The horses that work well, gallop out well, and jump through all of the hoops and are received by all of the sharp buyers that are here are being very well rewarded,” he said. “I am sure there is quite a bit of value there for the horses that fall a notch below. We sold some horses for a lot less than we paid for them and we sold two horses extremely well. We are sort of in the business of buying a group of horses for $3 or $4 million and selling them all, not necessarily as this-horse-is-worth-this and that-horse-is-worth-that.
“I think it has been very much the same all year. The horses that they like are bringing very good money and if you have a horse that falls a little short of that, it is going to be a struggle. Horses that have vet issues that are serious are really in trouble.”
Another Florida consignor, David Scanlon of Scanlon Training Center, called the sale good overall but said it was spotty. “We brought a couple of horses up here and sold them well and we brought a couple up that we thought would be a little busier and didn’t get the price that we expected,” he said. “Right now, I would say it is a mixed reaction. It seems like the sale had its moments but it just didn’t have quite a momentum. “
The final session of sale is scheduled for April 9, with the session beginning at 7 p.m.