Yearlings waiting to be sold at Keeneland.

Yearlings waiting to be sold at Keeneland.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Keeneland Sale Continues on Torrid Pace; All-Time Record in Sight

The marathon Keeneland September yearling sale continued on a torrid pace Thursday, with the gross, average, and median prices up 34.5%, 47.9%, and 68.2%, respectively, over the same session one year ago and the sale is on course to be the biggest grossing sale in Keeneland history.

Keeneland reported 272 horses were sold Thursday for $6,815,400, an average of $25,057 and a median of $18,500. During the corresponding session a year ago, 299 horses brought $5,066,800, an average of $16,946 and a median of $11,000. The 82 yearlings that did not reach their consignors' reserve prices represented 23.1% of the total through the ring Thursday.

Through the first 10 days of the 14-day sale, 2,546 horses have been sold for a sale record $312,462,500, an average of $122,727 and a median of $55,000. At this point in the sale last year, 2,580 horses had been sold for $269,863,600, an average of $104,598 and a median of $42,000. There have been 785 buybacks.

With four sessions remaining, the sale could surpass Keeneland's all-time record gross of $317,666,000 set at the 1999 November sale when 3,61 horses were sold.

Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland's director of sales, declined to speculate on whether the '99 November record would be surpassed, noting that "it is in sight."

Although the British, Arab, and Japanese interests that battled for the million-dollar babies during the first sessions of the sale have gone home, the auction continues to have an international flavor. Russell said some of the active bidders now are from Panama, Mexico, Korea, and the former Soviet republic, among other countries.

Russell said the continued strength of the sale indicates there is strong demand for horses in the middle price ranges. He noted that buyers are still giving the offerings close pre-sale scrutiny in the barn area and are having their potential purchases checked out by their veterinarians.

Thursday's top price of $230,000 was paid by trainer Ken McPeek, as agent, for a daughter of Clever Trick out of Southern Musical, by Southern Halo, from the consignment of Rick Littrell's Viking Stud, Inc., agent for Meadowdale Farm.

Results, leading buyer, leading consignor, leading sire lists from Keeneland