Keeneland’s Horses of All Ages Sale in January ended January 14 in Lexington, Kentucky, after four days of competitive trading that yielded solid results, led by the sale of Princesse Lele for $750,000 and the promising 3-year-old colt Belgrade for $700,000 . Gross sales of $46 million were the second highest sales since 2008.
The start of the January sale was delayed by one day due to a snowstorm late last week that created dangerous travel and shipping conditions in Kentucky. The auction, which began Tuesday, produced total sales of $46,341,100 for 1,013 horses in the ring, up 1.8 percent from last year when 963 horses grossed $45,522,100. Last year’s totals reflect two prominent distribution areas – Estate of Paul Pompa Jr. and Sam-Son Farm – which together generated sales of more than $13.5 million.
The cumulative average price of $45,746 plunged 3.23 percent below last year’s $47,271. The median price rose 33.33 percent from $15,000 to $20,000 to match the 2014 and 2019 record.
“The January sale continued the momentum of September and November yearling sales of breeding stock,” said Shannon Arvin, Keeneland president and CEO. “We appreciate the cooperation of our sellers and buyers when the weather forced us to adjust the sales schedule a bit to keep our horses and people safe and to ensure that senders had enough time to show horses. But the delayed start has not dampened the enthusiasm to invest in thoroughbreds and participate in this incredible industry.”
Keeneland Vice President of Sales Tony Lacy agreed.
“We are very happy with the sale,” said Lacy. “The continued competitive trade, high clearance rate and high median price have boosted some confidence among people who were nervous about the start of the selling season. They feel positive about the rest of 2022 and are investing as such. “very wide; you don’t see the peaks and troughs that indicate a narrow market. Demand is strong, with multiple bidders on horses at all levels, but not overheated. Prices, even the higher ones, are fair, credible and sustainable.”
Similar to the September and November trend, January’s sell-off rate was 80 percent, evidence of robust trading and a deep buy bank. Domestic purchasing power again proved exceptionally strong, bolstered by the active participation of foreign buyers from 16 countries, including Ireland, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and South Korea. The 15 most expensive horses were sold to 13 different buyers.
“The high clearing rate persisted in the mid and even the lower end of the market, which is really encouraging because this isn’t a barometer sale like September and November,” said Keeneland Director of Sales Operations Cormac Breathnach. “This is a new fiscal year and yet there is the same hunger to buy horses that hasn’t been there for years. That’s a very good sign.”
The $750,000 top seller, Princesse Lele, a Quality Road 2 year old filly out of Grade 1 winner and millionaire Carina Mia, sold to Three Chimneys Farm. Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, agent, sent the filly, who comes from the family of Grade/Group 1 winners Miss Linda (ARG) and Miss Match (ARG).
Carl and Yurie Pascarella paid $700,000 for the 3-year-old Hard Spun foal Belgrade, who opened his career in December with a 6-length maiden special weight win at Fair Grounds. Sent by Four Star Sales, Agent, Belgrade comes from the family of Grade 3 winners Medal Count and Garden District. He will be trained by Graham Motion.
Belgrade was one of a limited number of horses to be completed with the January sale. Additional entries give Keeneland the flexibility to cater to racing fillies and broodmares, as well as exciting race-age young horses, many of whom are quick to hand.
“The quality of the catalog was very strong when it first came together, but the opportunity to add a small number of supplements like Belgrade, which sold so successfully for Randy and Sandy Bradshaw, was very rewarding,” said Breathnach.
Four Star Sales Managing Partner Kerry Cauthen recognized the strength of the January Sale market.
“Comparable horses are selling well compared to previous years,” Cauthen said. “If you bring a horse to January, you generally intend to sell. The number of unsold horses on Thursday was unprecedentedly low (13.09 percent). That means people are buying, and that’s the name of the game.”
Two broodmares in foal were sold for $600,000 each.
Cypress Creek paid the amount for 10-year-old Susie’s Baby, a daughter of Giant’s Causeway, a daughter of Giant’s Causeway, a half sister of Irish highweight Caravaggio and in foal to Constitution. In 2021, her daughter Family Way won the Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon.
Peter Blum spent $600,000 on Co Cola, an 11-year-old daughter of Candy Ride (ARG) in foal to Flatter with a full sibling through 2021 Grade 1 winner Search Results. Commissioned by James B. Keogh (Grovendale), agent, Co Cola comes from the family of Canadian champion Kimchi.
“It’s a very healthy January market,” Keogh says. “It is a lively market. You look around you and see the number of people present. Most importantly, we sell and move horses to make money for their owners. That is always good.”
Narvick International paid $500,000 for Bella Vita, a 5-year-old stakes-winning daughter of Bayern who placed second in the Go for Wand (G3) on December 4 at Aqueduct, and $375,000 for the sale’s highest-priced yearling, a foal of Pistol Runner.
Commissioned by Eaton Sales, agent, Bella Vita comes from the family of Champion Vindication, Grade 2 winner Hemsworth and Grade 3 winners Strawberry Reason, Silver Comet, Scipion and Prime Attraction. The daughter of the Storm Cat mare Queenie Cat is expected to resume her racing career.
Hunter Valley Farm, agent, sent the Gun Runner foal, whose dam is the winning Empire Maker mare Take a Memo. He comes from the family of Grade 2 winners Memorette and Gervinho.
The yearling was sold in the opening session, which concluded with the auction of an unwarranted 2022 season to Gun Runner, donated by the stallion’s owners, Three Chimneys and Ron Winchell, to raise money to help and restore the stallion. tornado devastation last month in West Kentucky. Gun Runner, who is with Three Chimneys, led all first-line sires in 2021.
Bill Layni paid $130,000 for the season.
“This was such a generous gesture from Ron Winchell and Three Chimneys, and Keeneland was delighted to be able to facilitate Gun Runner season sales,” said Lacy.
The third day of the January sale was the $480,000 sale of Crowning Jewel, a half-sister of Kentucky Derby (G1) champion and winner Street Sense in foal to Street Boss, of Frank Stronach’s Adena Springs. The amount paid for Into Mischief’s 5-year-old daughter is the highest price recorded on Day 3 of the January sale since 2005.
“It’s hard to buy the good stuff, very competitive – a carryover from the November Sale,” said Dan Hall after signing the ticket for Crowning Jewel.
The main buyer of the January sale was Larry Best’s OXO Equine, who spent $1.49 million on six horses. Other leading buyers included Sand Hill Bloodstock, Narvick International, Three Chimneys, International Equities Holding, St. George Stables and Cary Bloodstock, agent for Coteau Grove Farm.
Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent, guided consignors by selling 122 horses for $5,696,800. With $470,000, the top prize for a Taylor Made horse was paid for Remedy, a 7-year-old mare by Creative Cause from the family of champion Beholder, lead sire Into Mischief and young stallion Mendelssohn. Three Chimneys and Whisper Hill Farm were the buyers.
On Friday, 243 horses were sold for $4,020,700, for an average of $16,546 and a median of $10,000.
Larry Johnson paid $225,000 for the session’s high-seller, Go Big Blue Nation, a 5-year-old winning, stake-placed daughter of Animal Kingdom from the Horse of the Year Point Given family. Dispatched by Columbiana Farm, agent, and cataloged as a race or broodmare prospect, she is off Chelsea Road, near Speightstown.
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