Scenes from the Keeneland September Yearling Sale
(Photos : Keeneland)

10 - 21 September 2012

The biggest sale of racehorses in the world is drawing to a close, and the numbers are encouraging. The Keeneland September Yearling Sale, which opened on September 10th and runs uninterrupted until the 21st September, has thus far seen almost 2400 horses through the ring, of which more than 1800 have found new homes, for an average of $111,672 (against $107,106 in 2011,) (3.7% up), and a median of $70,000 (against $60,000) (up 16.6%). If you watch CNN of an evening, and if you listen to the political doomsayers, you’d have difficulty believing these numbers; it’s a statement about the fans of our sport, and the optimism that feeds their enthusiasm, that despite it all, anything can be almost 17% up.

Remarkably, because it’s not usually this way in racing, the lower echelons of the sale have been especially strong, with yesterday’s session posting a gain of 21.5% in average, and 20% by median. That means the bottom of the market has found a broad and solid base, and that has to be good news not only for producers, but for everyone associated with the game.

“By the time the sale is over, the gross is not going to go up, because it’s a smaller sale. But the feel of the sale is much better than last year,” Jeffrey Russell, CEO of Keeneland said. “When you essentially take three of the top buyers from last year out - Ferguson, Besilu and Adena, you would have thought it would have a huge effect, but it hasn’t. So in that regard, this market is stronger. New people have fallen into those positions, and that’s good. The word for this whole sale is ‘competitive’.”