With the economy improving and the Thoroughbred market rebounding, Keeneland officials are anticipating a robust November breeding stock sale. The auction will kick off its 11-day run Nov. 6 in Lexington.
Keeneland cataloged 3,958 lots (3,957 horses and one stallion share) for the auction. The number is up 1% from last year’s total of 3,919.
“Our September yearling sale was a very solid sale from start to finish and the Tattersalls October yearling sale in England was very strong,” said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s director of sales. “The Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. also had a very good fall mixed sale. People were wanting to get back into the mood to buy broodmares again and that was a very positive sign.”
Keeneland’s offerings are scheduled to include Plum Pretty, Harmonious, and Zazu. A racing or broodmare prospect, Plum Pretty (by Medaglia d'Oro ) captured the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) in 2011 and the Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) this year. Harmonious (by Dynaformer), who is a broodmare prospect, won the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (gr. IT) at Keeneland and the American Oaks (gr. IT) in 2010. And Zazu (by Tapit ), who is a broodmare prospect, triumphed in 2011’s Las Virgenes (gr. I) and Lady’s Secret (gr. I) stakes.
Also in the catalog are Plum Pretty’s dam Liszy (by A.P. Indy), who isn’t in foal; a yearling full sister to 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra (by Medaglia d'Oro ) named Samantha Nicole; and Tamboz, a winning full sister to Tapizar , who triumphed in the Nov. 3 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I). Tamboz is in foal to Tiznow .
Among the weanlings in the auction are half brothers and sisters to champion She Be Wild and such grade I winners as Divine Park , Excellent Meeting, Furthest Land, Flashy Bull , Gabby’s Golden Gal, Ice Box , Sinister Minister, and Stormello.
The number of weanlings cataloged rose from 1,518 in 2011 to 1,691 this year.
“There is a little more demand and breeders are taking advantage of the market being better,” Russell said.
In 2011, even though the number of horses that were sold decreased, the gross for the November sale rose 41.1% from the previous year to $208,031,700. The average price soared 62.1% to $81,581, and the median price increased 38.2% to $23,500. The gross, average, and median all reached their highest points since 2007, when the gross of $340,727,200 and median of $35,000 established records for the November auction.
Boosting business were the dispersals of well-bred horses owned by the late Prince Saud bin Khaled’s Palides Investments and the late Edward P. Evans’ Spring Hill Farm. Champion Royal Delta, who was in the Palides dispersal, topped the November sale, bringing $8.5 million. Racing for her buyer, Besilu Stables, Royal Delta won the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (gr. I) for the second year in a row Nov. 2. She went through the auction ring four days after winning her first Ladies’ Classic.
The Thoroughbred marketplace “is still in the recovery stage,” Russell said. “But the farther away we get from 2008 and 2009, the better it is. People are buying horses with discretionary income instead of borrowed money, so we have a truer, healthier market now and the value of the horses is more consistent."
Selling will begin at 10 a.m. (EDT) each day at Keeneland.