Mexican Buyers Active at Keeneland Sale

Mexican Thoroughbred buyers spent nearly $1 million at the Keeneland September yearling sale that ended Sept. 22, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture reported Monday.

The 12 buyers from Mexico had attended a seminar in July in Mexico City conducted by the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association and the state Department of Agriculture. Several others had planned to attend the sale but canceled in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the United States.

The Mexicans bought 82 horses for $910,100, an average of $11,098.

"The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is committed to helping Mexico improve its Thoroughbred industry," Agriculture Commissioner Billy Ray Smith said. "This is just the beginning of what we hope to be a long-term relationship between our equine industry and theirs."

Last year, three buyers from Mexico purchased 94 horses at the Keeneland September sale. Department officials and representatives of the KTA laid the groundwork for equine trade with a visit to Mexico in March 2000.

The horse sales are part of ongoing efforts to generate trade between Kentucky farmers and Mexican buyers. Smith signed trade agreements with three Mexican states during the trade mission last winter. The Agriculture Department's trade office in Guadalajara has facilitated the sales of Kentucky Thoroughbreds, beef and dairy cattle, and processed foods.