Viewpoints From Keeneland (Cont.)

Continued from part 1

Reynolds Bell, agent for Jayeff B Stable, purchased the $3.7-million top-priced filly.

"Keeneland is looking for the very best quality for the July sale because that's the standard it's always had. While it's a little more difficult now than it has been in years past to get that standard in terms of the numbers, there are still 30 or 40 horses that are very well bred and have very good conformation. Basically, there are a half dozen to 10 guys in here who are going to be on those horses. It's competitive for the well-bred horses with very good conformation, very competitive.

"I'd love to see us have the sale like it used to be when there were 300 to 350 yearlings here in two days. Everybody's really gung-ho on September, but I hope we don't lose the July sale. Historically it's produced a lot of good horses, and it's a market that we need to maintain. If everybody tries to go in the September sale in the first couple or three days, it gets pretty jammed up for sellers and it's a better buyers' market. It's a broader market.

"The July sale is a little bit like Saratoga where you can spend too much time looking at the horses. You don't miss anything here. If anything you've got to get away from them to where you don't get overly critical. In September, it's tough on buyers, it's tough on consignors trying to put all those good horses in the first couple of days and squeeze everything in.

"What's interesting to me is it was supply and demand. There was a lot of money here, but it was concentrated on a smaller group of horses. Keeneland really worked hard to get good conformation here, which they did.

"Keeneland also did an exceptional job in trying to promote this sale, whereas in years past they didn't have to. Over the last couple of years, and I noticed it particularly this year, they have let out all the stops, really working with the consignors, doing some incentive things for people to be here. They gave it their best."

Craig Bandoroff, Denali Stud, sold three yearlings for $5,000,000--an average of $1,666,667.

"I could tell (Tuesday's final session) was strong, I just felt it. All this sale needs is people to put their horses in here. All the money was here, and it was money waiting to be spent. You can't bury this sale. September will be strong, but it's always strong if the horses are there. You could sell the top horses Christmas Day someplace. All this sale needs is for people to support it and give them the horses.

"I was disappointed in the Storm Cat colt's reception (out of Miss Golden Circle, sold for $750,000). Coming in here I thought he was a better colt than that, but they didn't agree with us. Obviously we were very pleased with the Escena filly (by Seeking the Gold, sold for $3.7 million as highest-priced filly). We didn't come in here projecting that kind of number, but when you have one they get on, they're going to duke it out. That's the kind they are looking for. She came in here and did everything she had to do. She is a classy filly. I said a long time ago they have to jump through a lot of hoops, and one of the biggest hoops they've got to jump through is when they get here they've got to have class and they've got to show like they are grade I material. She did that. When I saw her do that and (potential buyers) start to line up, you wait to see who's standing when the smoke clears."

Michael Dickinson, trainer, purchased one horse for an undisclosed client on Monday evening.

"I enjoyed the sale. The trade was strong. There were a lot of nice horses and it was a good market. I'm always looking for a good horse, but at a sale like this you have to steer away from the obvious and look for a sleeper. I try not to go to too many sales, I'm a trainer not a bloodstock agent. I watched the rest of the sale on TVG and it was very interesting. The drama and presentation could bring more people to the sale."

Robbie Lyons, Hartwell Farm.

"We had tremendous action before the sale. People were here to buy. There is a lot of uncertainty about what this sale is going to be, but I think now consignors will have the confidence to come back here and sell next year."

Neil Howard, general manager, Gainesway Farm, which sold three yearlings for $1,350,000.

"There are some good horses in the $200,000 to $300,000 range that are getting overlooked. Keeneland has got to find some way to convince people they can come here and buy a nice horse for that kind of money. I think it's a buyer adjustment thing. The perception is that they have got to open their wallets more than they usually do. For some reason or another, everybody gets focused on the same top end horses. The middle market range kind of gets left out."

Bob Hess Jr., trainer.

"Obviously, more horses would have been better, so there would be more variety. But I liked the overall quality of the conformation. I think it's an improvement from last year."

D. Wayne Lukas, Hall of fame trainer.

"If you bring a really good quality individual into the ring, there's plenty of money. I think this has always been a good sale, and I think it would be a sad thing to let it slip away."