LEXINGTON, Ky. — Keeneland’s September Yearling Sale, the leading source of champions and stakes winners around the world, ended its record run on Saturday with gross sales of $405,495,700, the highest in Keeneland auction history, and September Sale records for average ($142,429) and median ($70,000) prices.
Keeneland sold a total of 2,847 yearlings through the ring during the 12-day auction, held Sept. 12-24, for $405,495,700 to best the previous record of $399,791,800 set during the 2006 September Sale. This year’s gross represents a 14.93 percent increase over $352,815,500 for 2,671 horses sold through the ring at last year’s 11-day sale.
Cumulative average and median prices surpassed September Sale records established in 2021. Average price of $142,429 rose 7.83 percent over last year’s $132,091, while the median was up 7.69 percent from $65,000 to $70,000.
Additionally, 114 horses that did not meet their reserve price in the ring were sold privately for a total of $12,725,500 to push total gross sales to $418,221,200 as of Sept. 24.
In addition to the record results, the unprecedented depth of the September Sale market and the diversity of its buying bench is reflected in the numbers:
- 88 different buyers each spent $1 million or more during the two-week sale.
- 30 yearlings sold for $1 million or more, the most since the 2007 September Sale and double the 15 sold in 2021.
- The $2.5 million sale-topping Quality Road colt was the most expensive yearling in North America and the second most expensive yearling in the world sold at public auction this year.
- The top 10 highest-priced horses sold to eight different buyers.
- The top 15 highest-priced horses represented 13 different consignors.
- 162 horses sold for $500,000 or more during the sale compared to 138 in 2021, representing consignors large and small.
- Demand for horses produced a record clearance rate of 82 percent.
Aidan O’Meara of Stonehaven Steadings, which sold 19 horses for $8,283,000 (including private sales), headlined by the sale-topping $2.5 million Quality Road colt purchased by Talla Racing, Woodford Racing and West Point, L.E.B., echoed comments about market strength.
For the second consecutive year, the September Sale presented Books 1 and 2 on the first four days of the auction with more than 1,000 horses among the finest individuals based on pedigree and conformation in the catalog. The goal was to present the largest number of exceptional horses possible before major domestic and foreign buyers during Week 1.
Day 1 grossed $57,095,000, up 48.99 percent from last year’s first-day gross of $38,322,000.
The auction opened with immediate fireworks as Hip 1, a colt by Medaglia d’Oro, sold to the partnership of Talla and West Point for $850,000, the highest amount paid for Hip 1 in the September Sale since at least 1999. Seven hips later, the auction had its first seven-figure horse, a filly by Quality Road sold to Claiborne Farm, agent, for $1.2 million.
Gross sales of $113,660,000 for the two-day Book 1 represented a 25.42 percent increase over 2021’s $90,622,000. Another sign of Book 1 strength came in the number of horses selling for $500,000 or more: 96 this year versus 43 last year. The two-day Book 1 clearance rate jumped from 65 percent in 2021 to 78 percent this year.
The bullish market continued through Week 2 of the sale, which included major Week 1 buyers such as Vinnie Viola’s St. Elias Stable shopping into the final days; Viola bought session-topping yearlings on Days 10 and 11. Further strengthening Week 2 was the active participation of waves of international buyers representing such countries as Argentina, Azerbaijan, Chile, China, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Korea, Mexico, Panama and Saudi Arabia.
In Books 4-6, the clearance rate never fell below 82 percent. During the ninth session on Wednesday, Sept. 21, a Keeneland record 329 horses sold through the ring in a single session.
Keeneland’s year-round outreach to horsemen across the U.S. and around the world produced a broad and deep buying bench with many principals and interests representing 24 countries participating this year.
Major domestic buyers, including a number of partnerships that have become prevalent in the industry, and many international entities were actively scouting racing prospects. Among the leading buyers were Repole Stable and St. Elias Stables; Donato Lanni, agent for SF/Starlight/Madaket; Donald and Donna Adam’s Courtlandt Farm; Mike Ryan; Maverick Racing and Siena Farm; Richard Knight Bloodstoock; BSW/Crow Colts Group/Spendthrift/Gandharvi; Albaugh Family Stables; Larry Best; Jim and Dana Bernhard’s Lynnhaven Racing; Winchell Thoroughbreds/Three Chimneys and Talla Racing/Woodford Racing/West Point.
Japan’s Hideyuki Mori bought the half-brother to Triple Crown winner Justify for $1.2 million and the full brother to Kentucky Derby (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Authentic for $800,000.
A familiar name among Book 1 buyers was Shadwell, the global operation now under the leadership of Sheikha Hissa Hamdan Al Maktoum.
Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent, led all consignors at the September Sale for the eight consecutive year and the 24th year overall since 1988. Taylor Made sold 273 yearlings for $38,969,000, including three seven-figure colts by Constitution ($1.8 million), Quality Road ($1.15 million) and Into Mischief ($1 million).
Gainesway was second in total sales, followed by Paramount Sales, Lane’s End Farm, Denali Stud, Eaton Sales, Woods Edge Farm, Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency and Machmer Hall Thoroughbreds.
Several consignors recorded their first million-dollar horses during the auction: Highgate Sales, the new operation of Jill Gordon and Jacob West, sold a $ 1.3 million Constitution colt during Session 2; Alex and Sarah Rankin’s Upson Downs Farm sold a $1.35 million Into Mischief filly in Session 2 and sales for the aforementioned McLean family’s Crestwood Farm were in Session 3.
For the third consecutive year, the sale’s leading sire was Into Mischief, whose 58 yearlings – including eight horses purchased for $1 million and more – sold for $30,495,000 (includes private sales to date).
Offspring of Quality Road topped the first and fourth sessions, and for the second year in a row he was the leading sires by average price (with three or more yearlings sold) with 37 horses averaging $533,514 (including private sales to date). Quality Road’s yearlings included seven million-dollar horses led by the aforementioned sale topper.
During Saturday’s final session, 184 yearlings sold for $2,518,000, for an average of $13,685 and a median of $8,000.
The high seller was a filly by English Channel sold to Tracy Farmer for $115,000. Consigned by Buckland Sales (Zach Madden), she is a full sister to stakes winner and Grade 2-placed Ritzy A. P. Her dam is In Dy Ritz, by A.P. Indy.
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