Viewpoints at Keeneland

Quotes from consignors, buyers, and sales company officials at the 2001 Keeneland July Selected Yearling sale

Nick Nicholson, Keeneland president.

Demi (O'Byrne) said to me today, 'You come out in September and you've all got so many horses, you're running all over the place and you can't concentrate. You need the time to come in here and look at them, think about it, watch, and not be so overwhelmed.'

"This thought hit me last night: 'This sale is worth fighting for.' That's going to be our internal motto."

John Stuart, his Bluegrass Thoroughbred Services sold five yearlings for $1,635,000.

"There were plenty of people, but I didn't think there were enough horses at the sale to meet the demand of the people who were here to buy. We had five this year, sold them all, and most of them brought about 25% to 30% more than I thought they'd bring. If I'd had another 100 in here competing against me, maybe I wouldn't have done so well. We sell at all of the sales where we think our horses fit. These were all early-developing horses.

"It's too bad, but I think a lot of people said, 'If Lane's End is going to sell in September, we're going to do that.' I think it made for a better sale for me that Lane's End wasn't here and I didn't have to compete with them. They have the best mares. I frankly think that Lane's End ought to be at this sale. What they do is their own business, and I'm going to do what I want to do.

"Things come and go in the horse business, but I would be shocked if this sale isn't here next year. You come here and sell two or three million-dollar horses, why in the world wouldn't you be here? The earlier you sell the better. You get your money quicker. In July, you have time to sell your horse. In the September sale, you don't get enough time to show the horse or get as much time in the ring, and you've got a lot of investment in a horse. Here you've got four or five days where you can show a horse all day. It's clearly a better place for nice, early developing horses."

Buzz Chace, New Jersey bloodstock agent, bought one horse for $1,900,000.

"The number of horses? I don't think it matters. This is a premier sale, and people like to come here. It's like going to the Oscars. It's a real nice event to have in the summer. There's always going to be a good horse that comes out of this sale."

Reiley McDonald, Eaton Sales, second leading consignor, selling 18 yearlings for $10,040,000.

"This has never been a bad sale, so why do people come off of it? It's a great sale for the good, forward, early yearling. Yearling buyers haven't bought a yearling for nine months and their fingers are itchy."

Michael Hernon, director of sales for Gainesway, sold three yearlings for $1,350,000.

"I think this is a tremendous market. Unfortunately, there aren't enough horses here to satisfy the buyers. You have to have the horses to satisfy the bidders. I hope some consignors will reconsider selling at the July sale. There is no reason there can't be 300 horses in this sale. Gainesway will be back here next year and hopefully with some more nice yearlings to sell. We've been very pleased with the results that have been achieved here."

Duncan Taylor, Taylor Made Sales Agency, the sale's leading consignor by gross, selling 17 yearlings for $15,130,000 and consigned the $4-million sale topper.

"I thought there was a possibility this (increase in average) could happen. There were quite a few good horses in our consignment and fewer horses in the sale overall. Whenever that happens it's supply and demand. All the top people showed up who want to buy good horses. There was plenty of demand. It wasn't one of those things where it was you and one person bidding. There were enough people to drive the prices up.

"As far as the future of the July sale is concerned, I think people are going to sit back and take note. This sale is a good option. There is a group of buyers who enjoy coming here, they want more horses here, and I think there is enough product around that suits the sale. I don't think you can put every well-bred horse in here and expect it to sell good. You have to have your horse well-prepped, well-groomed, and mature to do well here. You need some pedigree, because that's what the buyers are expecting. I would hope people will sit back and take a look and say, 'Hey, maybe that's the place I ought to be going to.' "

Dan Kenny, bloodstock agent.

There were no big surprises. I expected business as usual for those trying to buy at the top of the market. The small number of horses made it very tough to buy at the top. I think there was some hesitation at first, until Demi (O'Byrne) bought two for big prices almost back-to-back. Then the momentum picked up. Still, it was better to be selling on the second day. This sale should put everyone in a positive mood.
People had some concerns about the economy and mare reproductive loss syndrome. I didn't see where mare reproductive loss syndrome would affect the yearling sales. The key is that purses are good."

Gerry Dilger, Dromoland Farm, which sold two yearlings for $3,100,000.

"I'd love to have five or six nice horses in here because they would bring the money. This is my favorite sale. If you bring the right horse in here, people will buy them all day long. I love it here in July."

Martin O'Dowd, general manager, Runnymede Farm, which sold two yearlings for $2,275,000.

"The market is fabulous. I think an awful lot of these people who did not come forward with horses in July should be regretting it. If you had the right horse, all the money in the world was here. I think Keeneland did a wonderful job this year promoting the sale and attracting the buyers. Next year, they need to turn around and make the same effort to encourage breeders to take the right horses to the sale. They need to go out and talk to them, bring the figures from this sale with them, and let them see that this sale is a special showcase."

Continued . . .