Keeneland November Sale Posts Increases In Gross, Average, and Median

The Keeneland November breeding stock sale ended its 10-day run Wednesday with increases in gross revenue, average price, and median price. Compared to a year ago, when the auction had 11 sessions, the gross revenue and average rose 4.3% and 9.9%, respectively, while the median soared 40%. The number of horses sold decreased 5.1%.

One of the most encouraging developments was a decline in the buy-back rate from 26% last year to 20.3% this year.

Keeneland reported that 2,377 horses were sold for a gross of $187,230,000, an average of $78,767, and a median of $28,000. Last year, 2,506 horses were sold for a gross of $179,568,600, an average of $71,655, and a median of $20,000. (The 2000 results do not include a no-guarantee season to the stallion Storm Cat that was sold for $450,000 by W.T. Young's Overbrook Farm to benefit the American Red Cross.)

While this year's upswings weren't huge, they were considered surprisingly good by Keeneland's officials considering the uncertainty about the economy and the threats of war and terrorism. The statistics also signaled that Keeneland's November market had stabilized after last year's gross, average, and median plunged by 40.5%, 22.5%, and 23.1%, respectively.

"I think this sale has outperformed our expectations," said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland's director of sales. "In a readjusting market, we lose the speculators and get back to professional people who evaluate their horses and evaluate the market. And I think that is why the 'not sold' rate decreased significantly.

"What surprised me was mares selling as well as they did," Russell continued. That showed that buyers had confidence in long-term investments. A couple of people have commented to me that this (breeding horses) is their business and this is what they know. Why should they invest in the stock market if it isn't doing well? They might as well invest in what they know. And they've been happy to do just that.

"I thought the foal market was very, very strong. That was a case of supply and demand (the number of foals catalogued was down significantly). The good-looking, well-conformed weanlings brought more than premium."

Keeneland reported that 170 horses were sold in the final session for a gross of $1,320,000, an average of $7,766, and a median of $5,000. The top price on the last day was the $44,000 brought by the mare Motel Lass. Donna Moore purchased her from Paramount Sales, agent. A 6-year-old winning daughter of Bates Motel, Motel Lass sold in foal to Black Minnaloushe