Sunny Skies Good Omen for Keeneland April Sale

If weather is any indication, the outlook is bright for Keeneland's April sale of 2-year-olds in training Tuesday. The second and final under tack show for the auction was held Monday in Lexington under the near perfect conditions -- sunny skies and warm temperatures -- that also blessed the auction's first under tack show on April 11.

Superb spring weather for both under tack shows is something that doesn't often happen for the Keeneland April sale, which has been plagued by cool, rainy weather in the past.

"The weather has been awesome, and that's very unusual," said Florida pinhooker Dean De Renzo. "The racetrack sounds like it's been maintained perfectly, and it's been easy on the horses, so we've got that going for us. Keeneland always does a fantastic job of bringing customers here, and I think they did a good job this year on their selection of horses as well. I've seen a lot of nice individuals."

The second and final under tack show attracted a large crowd, including representatives of Coolmore Stud and Sheikh Mohammed. Also on hand were New Jersey bloodstock agent Buzz Chace and California buyer B. Wayne Hughes

"With the crowd of people here and the weather and the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) over the weekend – if this doesn't fire you up to buy horses, what does?" said Keeneland auctioneer Ryan Mahan. "I think we've got probably one of the best physical groups of horses that we've had in several years. The inspection team was bragging about the horses early on, so we had high expectations coming in, and absolutely nothing has happened to change our minds. I would just like to see a little bit more (strength in the) middle market here."

Said Florida pinhooker Murray Smith: "The racetrack is as good as it has ever been. It's fair, even, and consistent, and we haven't had any mishaps."

Added another Florida pinhooker, Becky Thomas of Sequel Bloodstock : "I certainly think there are some nice horses here, and we (Sequel) have got a very good set of horses. The breeze show today truly looks like it's well-attended. I'm hoping that the market is solid."

The auction starts Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. (EST). There are 262 horses in the catalogue, but by the start of Monday's second and final under tack show, 67 already had been scratched.

The Keeneland auction is the fifth and final major select sale of 2-year-olds in training this year. It was preceded by select auctions in Florida and California, which produced some all-time highs even though the results were mixed. Falling profits for pinhookers were among the setbacks.