Lexington, Ky. – Vigorous trade, often marked by spirited bidding among the industry’s major foreign and domestic buyers, fueled strong results and led to the sale of 11 seven-figure yearlings during the premier Book 1 segment, held Sept. 14-16, of Keeneland’s September Yearling Sale.
The September Sale, which runs through Sept. 26, is globally recognized as the world’s most important Thoroughbred auction and the chief barometer of the state of the horse industry.
Keeneland adjusted the format for Book 1 this year, shortening opening week from four days to three, and cataloging more horses each day.
Through three sessions of the 12-day sale, 443 yearlings were sold for $134,361,000, for an average of $303,298 and a median price of $250,000.
In 2014, when Book 1 spanned four sessions, Keeneland sold 473 horses for $142,153,000, for an average of $300,535 and a median of 240,000.
Further evidence of market strength is the fact that in Book 1 24 yearlings sold for $750,000 or more compared to 20 last year; 62 sold for $500,000 or more compared to 60 in 2014.
“The sale so far looks very much the same as the sale last year; very solid and very steady all the way through,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “It’s important to get a strong start and have that positive momentum carry forward into the upcoming middle market and second week of the sale. There’s been a real energy on the grounds since Day 1 of the sale; lots of activity in the barns. People feel optimistic about the industry and that’s generating brisk business.
“Once again, our consignors have done a wonderful job of bringing top-quality individuals to market here at Keeneland and buyers have rewarded them.”
Eleven yearlings commanded seven-figure compared to 13 last year. Those 11 yearlings were bought by 10 different buyers. The world’s major owners and longtime Keeneland clients actively participated, several as both consignors and buyers.
Domestic buyers flexed their spending muscle at the top end of the market, among them Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm, Roy and Gretchen Jackson’s Lael Stable, Goncalo Torrealba of Three Chimneys Farm, Justin Zayat, B. Wayne Hughes’s Spendthrift Farm, Antony Beck’s Gainesway, Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Farm and J.J. Crupi’s New Castle.
Prominent foreign interests led the cumulative rankings. John Ferguson, bloodstock adviser to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, purchased 22 yearlings for $7,965,000 to top all buyers. Second was Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Shadwell Estate Company Ltd., which spent $4,475,000 on eight yearlings. M. V. Magnier, representing Coolmore, bought six yearlings for $3,525,000. Japanese interests also played a prominent role: Teruya Yoshida’s Shadai Farm acquired four yearlings for $2,050,000 and Teruo Ono purchased four horses for $1,950,000.
“The depth of the buying bench participating in this sale is a key indicator of a healthy, vibrant market,” Keeneland Director of Sales Geoffrey Russell said. “The money is spread among many buyers which creates competition for these horses.”
Colts by leading North American sire Tapit fetched the two highest prices of opening week: one from the family of 1988 Kentucky Derby (G1) Winning Colors went to Mandy Pope for $2.1 million, while a second out of multiple Grade 1 winner Pure Clan sold for $1.65 million to Lael Stable.
Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent, sold 61 yearlings for $18,795,000 to be the leading consignor opening week.
Following a break on Thursday, selling resumes on Friday, Sept. 18 and continues through Saturday, Sept. 26. Sessions begin at 10 a.m. ET daily. The entire sale is streamed live at www.keeneland.com.