Bullish Market continues at Keeneland

Desire for premium Thoroughbred racing prospects from the world’s leading horsemen continued to fuel heady trade during Tuesday’s second session of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, which realized strong gains and the sale of 13 seven-figure horses led by a colt by Constitution for $1.8 million.

On Tuesday, Keeneland sold 106 yearlings through the ring for $56,565,000, for an average of $533,632 and a median of $462,500. The gross was 8.15 percent higher than the $52,300,000 from the second session last year, while the average increased 14.28 percent from $466,964 and the median was 15.63 percent above last year’s $400,000.

Cumulatively, 220 horses sold through the ring have grossed $113,660,000, for an average of $516,636 and a median of $450,000. The total is 25.42 percent above $90,622,000 from the same period last year, while the average is 18.58 percent above last year’s $435,683 and the median is 28.57 percent higher than $350,000 from 2021.

A total of 22 yearlings have sold for $1 million or more during Book 1 this year compared to 11 in 2021.

“Today was a lot of fun,” Keeneland President and CEO Shannon Arvin said. “With 22 horses bringing a million dollars or more, we’re back to the pre-pandemic sale levels of 2018 and 2019, when the sales were really strong. It’s exciting to be back.

“We appreciate the sellers, breeders and buyers who worked with us on the sale format,” Arvin continued. “They believed in us as we tried to put together the best Book 1 we possibly could. We heard from a lot of buyers who said their short lists were long because there were so many nice horses. That was great to hear. And the results speak for themselves.”

“The demand for quality horses is beyond expectations,” Keeneland Vice President of Sales Tony Lacy said. “Coming out of Day 1, the momentum was euphoric. Coming into Day 2, we were wondering ‘can we maintain this?’ In racing terms, we hit the wire hard. We finished those last few hours today with a euphoric feeling. It was great to see diversity in the buyers of the 13 horses that brought a million or more. From large to small breeders, everyone was getting a piece of the action. A lot of people are extremely happy.”

Tuesday marked the second day of the two-day Book 1.

“None of this (the Book 1 format) was done in a vacuum,” Lacy said. “We listened to a lot of feedback from buyers. We heard there was a lack of consistency. There was a nervousness of where is the best spot in the market. It was evident over the last couple of years that if you put the right horses in front of the right people the market takes care of itself. There were a lot of horses we encouraged to move forward that were part of the million-dollar-plus sales that possibly would have ended up in Book 2 normally. When you plug in good physicals and good pedigrees with the right people who afford their time to come to the sale, the results can pay dividends. We really appreciate everybody putting their support in us.

“I think the momentum is only building for the rest of the sale,” Lacy continued. “We’re moving into another section of the market, and I anticipate it will be every bit as strong. Obviously the average and median might adjust, but there are a lot of good horses coming down the pike. I expect it to be very solid again.”

On Tuesday, Dana Bernhard purchased the $1.8 million colt by Constitution, who is out of Grade 1 winner Last Full Measure, by Empire Maker, and is a three-quarter brother to Grade 1 winner Valiance. The colt was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent.

“He’s one of the best colts we’ve seen in this crop,” Taylor Made CEO Mark Taylor said. “He’s beautifully bred. The blood is there. He looks like a Derby horse: a lot of presence, a big walk, a lot of substance. Very strong. We’re just fortunate to have him. Congratulations to China Horse Club; they bred a beautiful horse. I think Constitution is on his way to the top. (The yearling) is a great representation of the stallion. He brought a bunch of money, which he deserved to.”

Taylor Made was the session’s leading consignor, selling nine horses for $5.41 million.


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