The Keeneland September yearling sale's select sessions will be memorable because two of the last three foals sired by the great stallion Storm Cat are scheduled to be offered.
Read what buyers and consignors had to say before the auction started in Lexington.
Here is a list of horses that consignors and buyers believe could bring expensive prices during the Sept. 12 opening session of the Keeneland September yearling sale in Lexington.
Falling prices at boutique sales in France and Saratoga suggest the prices for fancy horses in Keeneland's select sessions will be more vulnerable this year.
Keeneland has cataloged 4,857 horses for its September yearling sale. The number, which declined for the second year in a row, is down 6.4% from 2009's total of 5,189 and represents a 12.6% decline from the 2008 record 5,555.
An Unbridled's Song colt brought $185,000 to top the ninth session of the struggling Keeneland September yearling sale. While the number of horses sold Sept. 23 in Lexington rose 5.6% from a year ago, the gross revenue declined 26.2%. The average price dropped 30.1%, and the median price plunged 40%. The buy-back rate fell from 24.6% in 2008 to 19.3% this year.
The Overbrook Farm dispersal, which began at the Keeneland September yearling sale, will not mark the end of the Young family's involvement in the Thoroughbred business. Chris Young, the 34-year-old grandson of Overbrook founder W.T. Young, is making plans for his own venture that probably will emphasize racing.
David Hayden has a message for his fellow commercial breeders: "Change or die." The ability to be flexible during hard times, he said last week at the Keeneland September yearling sale in Lexington, is the key to survival. And Hayden, who plans to keep raising horses for many years to come, has looked at everything from production costs to where he will market his yearlings in an effort to remain profitable and avoid drowning in a sea of red ink.
From the very beginning of the Keeneland September yearling sale in Lexington, it was apparent that there would be a major correction in the market for young horses as key business figures suffered significant setbacks. Here are comments from auction participants during the first week of the sale.
When Goulash's Unbridled's Song colt brought $925,000 to top the opening session of the Keeneland September yearling auction Sept. 14, the prognosis for the Mari's Book mare looked grim. She is battling laminitis, and there were concerns that she would need to be euthanized just days after her son had been sold.
Stallion managers slashed stud fees last year after this country's recession deteriorated into a financial crisis and spread around the world. With prices for Thoroughbreds continuing to decline after falling significantly in 2008, commercial breeders are calling for even more stud fee reductions for 2010.
One day prior to the Sept. 14 start of the Keeneland September yearling sale in Lexington, there was a lot of uncertainty about how the market would perform at a time when the economy was continuing to struggle. There also were some questions about what was going on around the sale grounds. Here they are, and here are their answers.
Here is a list of horses that consignors and buyers think could be standouts Sept. 14 during the first session of the Keeneland September yearling sale in Lexington.
The weekend before the Sept. 14 start of the Keeneland September yearling sale in Lexington, the auction's participants were worrying about the market and trying to guess how much it would be down from 2008. But some consignors were pleasantly surprised by how many people were looking at their horses. Here is what some of them had to say.
Azeri, who was bought back for $4.4 million at this year's Keeneland January horses of all ages sale, has been entered in the upcoming Keeneland November breeding stock sale, according to John Sikura of Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency and Hill 'n' Dale Farms. Owned by the Allen E. Paulson Living Trust, the 2002 Horse of the Year is in foal to Distorted Humor after producing a Ghostzapper filly this year.
Consignors at the Keeneland September yearling sale were bracing themselves for one of the most daunting auction challenges of 2009: Finding new homes for thousands of young horses at a time when the weak economy is causing buyer demand for Thoroughbreds to shrink. Buyers, meanwhile, were excited about the prospect of bargains.
For Gerry Dilger of Dromoland Farm in Central Kentucky, the timing could not have been better. A little more than a week prior to the start of the Keeneland September yearling auction, two juvenile graduates of his breeding and selling program -Hot Dixie Chick and Dublin- scored victories in grade I races at Saratoga.
The number of horses cataloged to the 2009 Keeneland September yearling sale fell 6.6%, from an all-time high of 5,555 for the auction last year to 5,189. According to Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland's director of the sales, the weakening of the Thoroughbred market in general -- because of problems within the horse industry and economic difficulties around the world -- was an important factor in the decline.
The Breeders Sales Company of Louisiana has expanded its yearling sale to two days because of increased support from consignors. The sale will begin on its originally scheduled date of Sept. 28 and will continue through Sept. 29 at the Ike Hamilton Center in West Monroe, La.
The huge Keeneland September auction provided the yearling selling season's biggest and stiffest test of the commercial appeal of new stallions' progeny. Because many young sires had a large number of offspring offered, their success depended less on a few carefully-selected top individuals and more on their ability to pass along good conformation consistently to their offspring.
The Keeneland September yearling sale closed out its 15-session run in Lexington with downturns in every key business figure and gross revenue that fell short of last year's total by a whopping $57,019,500. But even though the setbacks were significant, many participants in the auction were pleased by its performance at a time when the nation is reeling from a financial meltdown and there are growing economic woes abroad.
A U.S.-bred Sahm colt, which had been bought for $15,000 at Keeneland in January by Beech Tree Farm, rose in price to 80,000 euros (approximately $116,651) Sept. 23 to top the opening session of Tattersalls Ireland's September yearling sale.
Tattersalls Ireland stages the country's first yearling auction of 2008 Sept. 23 and 24. There are 504 lots cataloged for the September sale, which will be held at the company's Fairyhouse headquarters in County Meath.
Participants in the Keeneland September yearling sale talk about falling prices for horses and the effects of America's growing financial crisis.
Taylor Made Sales Agency will host its annual RNA sale and party at its Nicholasville, Ky., facility Sept. 17 from 5:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. (EDT). Horses that were bought back during the early sessions of the Keeneland September yearling sale will be offered during the event.
A $1.1-million Medaglia d'Oro filly that topped the fourth session of the Keeneland September yearling sale was resold privately by Keeneland officials to celebrity chef Bobby Flay Sept. 13 after the original purchaser and his client were unable to provide sufficient proof of credit, according to Keeneland vice president Harvie Wilkinson.
Buyers and consignors discuss the market at the Keeneland September yearling sale during first four days, but especilly during the third and fourth sessions.
Jim Craig, the goalie for the United States' 1980 "Miracle on Ice" hockey team at the Winter Olympics, stopped by the Keeneland September yearling sale Sept. 11.
No horses inspired buyers to pay dazzling seven-figure amounts during the third day of the Keeeneland September yearling sale in Lexington. But some of the results for the auction's first open session were encouraging after significant downturns during the two select sessions that kicked off the sale.
Dubai pumped more money into the select sessions of the Keeneland September yearling sale than it did a year ago even though Sheikh Mohammed's bloodstock manager, John Ferguson spent less. And buying entities associated with Dubai also bought more horses.
When the second session of the Keeneland September yearling sale ended Sept. 9, Olin Gentry and trainer Bob Baffert of Legends Racing rushed to the barn area to look at more horses and get ready for the next day's selling. It's been a busy auction, so far, for the new racing venture, whose formation was announced just prior to the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) in June when a presentation was made to potential investors in New York.
John Ferguson, the bloodstock manager Sheikh Mohammed, took a break from his busy schedule to talk to the media Sept. 9 during the second session of the Keeneland September yearling sale. He answered questions and responded to observations about Sheikh Mohammed's buying strategy during the auction and indicated that some people might be overanalyzing what he is doing.
Sheikh Mohammed's bloodstock manager, John Ferguson, had some advice for shoppers during the Keeneland September yearling sale's opening day, which suffered downturns of 16.8% in gross revenue and 7.7% in average price from 2007. "If somebody is thinking of buying a racehorse," he said, "this is a good time to do it because I think there will be value to be had throughout the course of the year. The market is probably a little sticky."
Some people call the Keeneland September yearling sale a marathon because of its length: 15 sessions this year. Others think it's more like Walmart because of the large number of horses cataloged, which has risen to a record of 5,555. To Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland's director of sales, it's more like a Broadway show.
A member of one of the Thoroughbred industry's best known families has her first consignment at the Keeneland September yearling auction. Martine Head, who is selling under the banner of Longitude Farm, is a daughter of Alec Head, the patriarch of a French breeding and racing dynasty.
When the Keeneland September yearling sale opens in Lexington, things are going to get very interesting very quickly. Remember Playful Act (by Sadler's Wells), who brought a world record price for a broodmare of $10.5 million last November? Her first foal, a daughter of Giant's Causeway, is Hip No. 12 during auction's first session Sept 8.
For fans of Big Brown, the second session of the Keeneland September yearling sale in Lexington is the one you'll probably enjoy the most. Scheduled sell then is a half-sister to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Preakness (gr. I) winner. She's Hip No. 484, and she's one of the horses that could bring a lot of money Sept. 9.
It's crunch time for North America's Thoroughbred yearling market, which faces its biggest test when the Keeneland September sale gets under way. There are more horses cataloged than ever before, 5,555, and they will be offered over 15 sessions beginning Sept. 8 in Lexington.
Keeneland will play host to the international Thoroughbred community for the next two weeks as it conducts its 65th annual September yearling sale. The catalog is the largest in the auction's history, with 5,555 horses listed.
Ben P. Walden Jr. and his wife, Elaine, prominent members of the Kentucky Thoroughbred industry, have sold their 310-acre farm near Lexington. The property, called Gracefield, was purchased by Robert and Lisa Lourie of Setauket, New York, for an undisclosed amount.
The Tattersalls Ireland September yearling sale will be Sept. 23 and 24.
The gross revenue and median price for the Keeneland September yearling sale both were the auction's second-second highest ever, and the number of horses sold established a world Thoroughbred auction record.
Buyers and consignors have mostly good things to say about the Keeneland September yearling sale, which ends Tuesday in Lexington.
A daughter of Harlan's Holiday brought $105,000 as the top purchase during the 12th day of Keeneland's September yearling sale as the Sept. 22 session saw an increase in gross, average, and median.
The gross revenue and average price increased during the seventh session of the Keeneland September yearling sale Monday, when a Cherokee Run colt sold for $325,000.
A handsome son of Johannesburg brought $1 million as the top purchase during the Sept. 15 session of Keeneland's September yearling sale for a racing partnership that includes owners Jim Scatuorchio and Michael Tabor, as the session's gross, average, and median all posted modest gains.
Brian Graves, director of public sales for Gainesway, said the market was good through the Keeneland September yearling sale's first four days, and he looks for it to be strong and more consistent over the weekend and early next week.
No less than 18 individual horses that have won a grade- or group-I race in 2007 went through the Keeneland September sale.
Saleh Al Homeizi and Imad Al Sagar, who race Vodafone Epsom Derby (Eng-I) Authorized, hope to find more successful runners at the Keeneland September yearling auction.
The Keeneland September yearling sale should sort out the mixed messages of the Thoroughbred market.
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