LEXINGTON, Ky.--A total of 28 yearlings have sold for $1 million or more during the first three days of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale which included Book 1 and the first day of Book 2.
“We have to be very pleased with the way the day turned out,” Keeneland Vice President of Sales Tony Lacy said on Wednesay. “Being on par with last year’s record sale figures – gross, average and median. Early in the day it was a little slower but it picked up and charged on very strongly right to the end.
“The market was very healthy,” Lacy said. “Buyers are finding it very competitive; there are a lot of quality horses out there. It’s challenging on both sides of the coin in a good way. The strength of the domestic buying bench was very evident. International buyers were active at a lower price level, but I think they will be very active for a while. It bodes well for tomorrow.”
“The strength at the top is very obvious,” Keeneland Director of Sales Operations Cormac Breathnach said. “There were 39 horses today that brought $500,000 or more compared to 29 horses last year, so that’s a significant increase. And you can see, we’re half a million ahead of our gross after three days this year compared to our record sale last year. RNAs are just a touch higher than what we would want and we’re cognizant of that, but the activity is all there. Median and average are just a couple percent higher than they were last year, so it’s an extremely good sale.”
DEMAND for quality horses continued to be strong into the third session of Keeneland’s September Yearling Sale on Wednesday as the auction transitioned into the Book 2 catalog.
Robust trade generated positive results, including the sale of five seven-figure horses – led by a colt by McKinzie who is a half-brother to 2023 G1 Kentucky Derby winner Mage and was purchased by Mayberry Farm for $1.2 million.
Total sales through the first three days of the auction are $180,949,000 for 430 horses, on a par with the corresponding period last year when 439 yearlings sold for $180,355,000.
Cumulative average price of $420,812 rose 2.43 percent from last year’s $410,831, while the median ticked up 1.54 percent from $325,000 to $330,000.
Keeneland’s 80th September Yearling Sale began Monday with robust trade that produced healthy results and the sale of eight horses for $1 million or more headlined by an Into Mischief filly sold for $2.3 million to Shadwell Racing and an Uncle Mo colt for $2 million, purchased by Donato Lanni, agent for Zedan Racing.
Vibrant trade during Tuesday’s second session of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale fueled increases in gross and average price, which were boosted by the sale of 15 horses for $1 million or more.
The partnership of Sonson, Woodford, West Point, LEB, agent, spent $3 million, the highest price paid at the auction since 2019, for a colt by Into Mischief who is a half-brother to G1 winner and sire Outwork and from the family of recent Saratoga juvenile winner Fierceness.
He was consigned by Lane’s End, agent.
Keeneland sold eight million-dollar horses Monday.
The 15 horses who reached that mark Tuesday– increasing the total number to 23 – are the most for the second session of the September Sale since 2007.
The momentum carried throughout the entire session as the first horse through the ring sold for $1.3 million and the second-to-last horse brought $1.25 million.
“There was a lot of energy in the Sales Pavilion today; it was so fun to see so many people here,” Keeneland President and CEO Shannon Arvin said on Monday. “Many of them were buyers and were participating, and you also had a lot of people that were just interested in seeing the sales process. We work really hard to make sure the community understands the importance of the sales and the Thoroughbred industry.”
“The results today were very comparable to last year’s first session, and last year was a sensational sale,” Keeneland Vice President of Sales Tony Lacy said. “Over the last couple of days people have been energized by the quality of horses cataloged. They said it’s the best group of horses they’ve seen in the first two sessions probably in 10 to 15 years, which is really encouraging. I think it’s a testament to the breeders and the quality of horses they are breeding.”
The diversity of buyers participating in today’s session was borne out by the fact that the top 10 highest-priced horses were purchased by 10 different interests.
“It’s really encouraging when you have a stat like that,” Lacy said. “It’s unhealthy when you get one or two entities controlling the market. It’s important when people come here that they feel like they have a chance of buying something. They are spending quite a bit of real money in order to get some of the best bloodstock in the world.”
On Wednesday, the first day of Book 2, 209 yearlings sold for $64,024,000, down slightly from last year’s $66,695,000 when 219 horses sold.
The average of $306,335 increased 0.59 percent from $304,543 in 2022, and the median of $255,000 was nearly identical to last year’s $250,000.