The Keeneland January horses of all ages sale, which ends its five-day run Jan. 14 in Lexington, is generating some positive results after declines in many of its key business figures in recent years. Read what the auction's participants have to say below:
Adrian Regan, Hunter Valley Farm: “The nice mares, the obvious mares, were plenty pricey. There seemed to be a good market for the obvious mares in the catalog, which is good to see, I suppose. But it’s tough to sell a horse if you haven’t got the 'Real McCoy.' If you have veterinary issues with a foal, you’re really in big trouble, and it’s love or hate with the mares. If you have the mare that’s popular, everybody seems to be on them. For the middle of the road mare, it’s a struggle.”
Mark Taylor, Taylor Made Sales Agency: "You still have people refining their programs and getting their culls moved. On those horses, there are very low prices. You’re lucky if there is a market at all and you get the horse sold. But if you lead something up there that is commercially viable and that somebody feels like they can do something positive with in the next 12 months, those horses sell pretty good.
“I’m talking about a mare that’s in foal to a stallion (whose progeny have been) selling well and the mare maybe has a good sales history. Somebody’s there to buy her. But if you’ve got a 12-year-old mare and her foals have sold poorly and she’s in foal to a horse that’s out of fashion, there’s hardly anybody there to buy the horse. You’ve really got to work hard for your customers to get her sold.
“On the higher end, the Japanese kind of dominated everything. There were a couple of mares we had in November that I wish we would have had in here because I think they (the Japanese) would have bought them here after they maybe didn’t quite make the grade for them in November.
“The foal market is good for a good foal.”
Jim “Jimbo” Gladwell, Top Lines Sales: “For the right yearling, it’s really strong. The ones with very good physicals, with the good pedigrees or not, are bringing plenty of money and it’s tough to buy. There are plenty of guys running around here that didn’t spend all their money in November, so it’s a tough market. There are a lot of people trying to buy horses.”
Meg Levy, Bluewater Sales: "I actually think the market is pretty good for the right horses. As usual, the commercial stuff is selling quite well. It’s difficult to get a certain kind of horse sold right now, the kind that nobody seems to want. Perceived commercial quality rules the day, and it’s difficult to get the others moved. The January sale tends to be hodgepodge so you’ve got the best of the best clumped in on the same day with stuff that doesn’t rate.
“I was glad to see that B. Wayne Hughes and some other Americans were firing on some good stuff yesterday (Jan. 11) rather than letting the Japanese take everything.
“There is a lot of optimism in the market. I’m not really sure what’s causing it. Maybe with the stock market having ticked up a little bit, people feel a little bit more comfortable. We’re probably at the bottom and there still is a market for good commercial stuff. We know what things are worth now after we’ve been through the breeding stock sale cycle, so I think people feel a little more comfortable with it.”