Here's what people had to say about the market during the first two sessions of the Keeneland January horses of all ages sale in Lexington:
Michael Hernon, Gainesway: "The market here yesterday and today is not quite as strong as the market we experienced early in the sale in November. But we're seeing good, solid demand for the better product. You have to remember, this is a January sale, and the horses at the top level aren't quite as deep as in November. It's like walking into a different department store; the product is different. The good weanlings, I think, are few and far between, but those ones that are good are in high demand. "
Dan Hall, general manager of Frank Stronach's Adena Springs Farm in Kentucky: "It's a good sale. I don't think there have been any real surprises. It's just a continuation of the (strong) November market even though it's a different type of catalogue, obviously. We came in here to support our program of breeding to our stallions. We've bid on a lot of mares; we've bought several, and we've gotten ourtrun on several like in November. For the most part, horses are bringing what they're supposed to. It's like any other sale, when the cream of the crop walks through there, everybody's on it."
Aki Kato, agent for Isami Nakamura of Japan: "They don't really have the big standout here, but what they have is bringing pretty good money. In Japan, they're struggling. The top breeders, they're okay. But the middle and the bottom people are struggling. The stock market has gone up, but the economy has not really been stimulated. I'm hoping it gets better."
Pat Costello, Paramount Sales: "The market is very strong. We've 'RNA'd' very few today (Tuesday), and a lot of them exceeded our expectations. It's a very good market. The economy and racing are doing well; everything is really. People did well in September (selling yearlings). (The $270,000 Tale of the Cat -- Passing My Way yearling filly) brought more than I expected. There was a lot of competition. She had a ton of scopes. She's a beautiful filly."
Rollin Baugh, California bloodstock agent: "The market is steady, and there is a lot of demand. There is a certain amount of selectivity, which means that the horses that are clearly more desirable than others are bringing good premiums and they (the buyers) aren't swallowing the ones that are really obviously off the scope. It's pretty live. There seem to be a lot of conversations among people about private transactions, and people seem to be optimistic."
Tom VanMeter, Eaton Sales: "It's nuts and bolts, not the top, just solid, medium horses. We've sold two or three horses that we 'RNA'd' in November and got the money we wanted here. One was Kris Is It (in foal to Distorted Humor); we 'RNA'd' her for $190,000 and sold her for $200,000 this time."
Buzz Chace, bought Unbridled's Song -- Aura of Glory yearling colt for $230,000: "There's not a whole bunch of really nice yearlings here. That's not saying they won't be racehorses, but the ones that people are looking for to resell, there's not many of them. I thought he (the Unbridled's Song colt) was an outstanding horse. It looks like he really has a chance." (Chace purchased the colt for Bill Poston a homebuilder from Atlanta, Ga. The colt will be resold by Taylor Made Sales Agency at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale or the Keeneland September yearling sale.)