Keeneland's January horses of all ages sale, which begins Monday in Lexington, will be bigger than ever before. The auction's total of 2,933 lots exceeds by 425 the former January record of 2,508, set last year.
"The Thoroughbred market has been very strong for the last couple of years, and people are taking advantage of that; that's why we have quantity," said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland's director of sales.
But while the January sale lacks the glamour and quality of the Keeneland November auction, which is the company's premier breeding stock sale, it has grown in popularity with both consignors and buyers.
"This market has established a good niche, especially when it comes to broodmare prospects." Russell said.
One of the major drawing cards for this year's edition of the January auction is the dispersal of horses owned by the estate of F. Eugene Dixon Jr. Dixon, who died last August, was the longtime chairman of the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission. Charlton and Claiborne Farm are the consignors for the dispersal, which will be held Tuesday. The horses include stakes-winning broodmares and young horses by such sires as Dynaformer, Fusaichi Pegasus , Pulpit, and Seeking the Gold.
Also in the January catalog are several female added-money winners from the racing stable of Egyptian entrepreneur Ahmed Zayat. Last year's Del Mar Debutante Stakes (gr. I) winner Point Ashley, who is in the Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency consignment, is scheduled to be offered Monday. Chief Officer, who beat males in the 2006 New York Breeders' Futurity, is set to be offered Wednesday as part of the Taylor Made Sales Agency consignment. And 2006 La Brea Stakes (gr. I) winner Downthedustyroad, who is in the Eaton Sales consignment, is scheduled to be offered Thursday.
"There are some very nice just-turned-3-year-old fillies that I think will be greatly attractive to buyers," Russell said. "Racehorses are dotted all the way through the catalogue, and there some nice horses in the latter part of the sale."
The auction runs through Jan. 15, with sessions beginning each day at 10 a.m.
Last year, the January sale recorded all-time highs for number of horses sold, gross revenue, and median price. The average price increased 13.2%.