(Keeneland / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
From the Keeneland Media Team:
Keeneland’s November Breeding Stock Sale ended today following 10 days of competitive trade for quality broodmares, broodmare and stallion prospects, weanlings and horses of racing age, including nine horses sold for $1 million or more, while recording strong participation from many prominent domestic and foreign horsemen who make up the sale company’s deep buying bench.
“Keeneland ends this fall with a sense of gratitude for the hard work of everyone who participated in the success of the September Yearling and November Breeding Stock Sales, the fall race meet and Breeders’ Cup,” said Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason, who will retire Dec. 31 after a decade of service to Keeneland. “Given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global horse industry, the fact that we were able to conduct our fall events on the dates originally scheduled is a major accomplishment that should be celebrated by all involved.”
The November Sale is a globally important source of quality bloodstock, and this year’s sale reflected welcomed stability in the marketplace.
“We owe the strength of the September and November Sales to the tremendous efforts of our consignors, buyers and their staffs, who, despite the challenges associated with the pandemic, brought quality horses to market and fully participated at every level,” Keeneland President-Elect and Interim Head of Sales Shannon Arvin said. “We have all moved mountains this fall, and during these tough times, we are pleased that so many buyers from around the world made arrangements to be here or be represented and that they took advantage of the various bidding platforms Keeneland made available to them.”
For the auction, held Nov. 9-18, Keeneland recorded gross sales of $151,019,300 for 2,198 horses, for an average of $68,708 and a median of $23,000.
The 2019 November Sale, which spanned 12 sessions, had 2,570 horses sell in the ring for $193,316,100, for an average of $75,220 and a median of $25,000.
Keeneland conducted the 2020 November Sale with extensive COVID-19 protocols similar to those in place for the September Sale for the health and safety of participants. In addition to providing online bidding, Keeneland expanded its phone bidding service to accommodate remote buyers while it offered bidding from the outdoor Show Barn just behind the Sales Pavilion to permit greater social distancing.
Online bidding, which Keeneland introduced at the September Sale, continued to gain popularity as 279 horses sold over the internet for $16,274,300. Of particular note is the fact that more horses sold each day via the internet during the second week of the auction than during the first week. Leading the online purchases was Grade 1 winner Ollie’s Candy, who raced two days before the start of the sale in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) at Keeneland and sold as a racing or broodmare prospect to K I Farm of Japan for $1.65 million.
“One of the silver linings of this unprecedented time has been the innovations we’ve successfully implemented with regard to internet bidding and enhanced phone bidding,” Arvin said. “People have found creative ways to participate in the sale and see the horses when they can’t be right here in the way in which we are accustomed.”
Despite the logistical and operational challenges presented by the pandemic, including travel restrictions that affected a number of regular international attendees, the November Sale produced solid results.
“The enthusiasm for quality horses and the participation of major domestic and foreign buyers, many of whom remained active well into the second week of the sale, is a testament to the resiliency of this industry,” Keeneland Director of Sales Operations Geoffrey Russell said. “There was a healthy mix of U.S. and international interests representing Europe, Japan, Korea, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, among others, as well as several new buyers emerging on the scene. Hats off to consignors, who were very good about marketing their horses, either directly or via Keeneland’s website, to remote buyers. We know this hasn’t been an easy environment to navigate, and we appreciate the efforts all have made to participate either in person or through use of the available technology.”
The premier Book 1 on Nov. 9 produced nine horses who brought $1 million and more, led by two offerings purchased by the auction’s leading buyer, Larry Best’s OXO Equine: Concrete Rose and Indian Miss.
Grade 1 winner Concrete Rose, a 4-year-old daughter of Twirling Candy, was consigned as a racing or broodmare prospect by Lane’s End, agent for Ashbrook Farm and BBN Racing. Indian Miss, an 11-year-old daughter of Indian Charlie who is the dam of champion Mitole, was consigned by Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, agent, in foal to Into Mischief. Three days before the sale began, her 2-year-old colt, Hot Rod Charlie, was second in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) Presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance at Keeneland.
Best bought 17 horses for $7,965,000. Eight of his purchases were weanlings, topped by a colt by Mastery for $450,000. He continued to purchase weanlings through the sale’s fifth session.
The November Sale’s second-leading buyer was Matt Dorman’s Determined Stud, a new operation in Maryland that acquired 14 horses for $4.53 million with Phil Schoenthal, agent. Other prominent domestic buyers included Louisiana’s Coteau Groves Farm/Cary Bloodstock, agent, who spent $3,272,000 for 13 horses as well as such successful Central Kentucky operations as Spendthrift Farm, Hunter Valley Farm, agent, and Claiborne Farm, agent.
The sale’s third-leading buyer was Yeguada Centurion of Spain’s Leopoldo Fernandez Pujals, who purchased 22 horses for $3,857,000 to mark his second year of sizable acquisitions at the November Sale. Shadai Farm, K I Farm, JS Company, Paca Paca Farm and Katsumi Yoshida of Japan ranked among the sale’s leading buyers, as did other global entities such as Narvick International, David Redvers Bloodstock, Arthur Hoyeau, agent, and Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier.
The worldwide appeal of the November Sale was evident when Narvick International paid $1.85 million for Cherokee Maiden, a 3-year-old daughter of Distorted Humor from the family of 2020 Japanese Triple Crown winner Contrail and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Essential Quality. Bedouin Bloodstock, agent, consigned her as a racing or broodmare prospect.
Joining Ollie’s Candy, a 5-year-old daughter of Candy Ride (ARG), as another November Sale offering who raced in this year’s Breeders’ Cup was Lady Prancealot (IRE), who was fourth in the Maker’s Mark Filly and Mare Turf (G1) and sold to Shadai Farm for $1.6 million. Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent, consigned both Ollie’s Candy and Lady Prancealot as racing or broodmare prospects.
Other seven-figure horses were Canadian champion Holy Helena, in foal to Quality Road ($1.5 million to Spendthrift Farm), Houtzen (AUS), in foal to Curlin ($1.5 million to Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings) and the racing or broodmare prospect Gingham ($1 million to Claiborne Farm, agent).
“The market in both September and November was a lot deeper than we, and many others, thought it would be,” Keeneland Director of Sales Development Mark Maronde said. “But horsemen are optimistic. They see the end of this pandemic coming and they wanted to continue to participate. They still bought bloodstock because of blue sky ahead.”
Keeneland demonstrated flexibility in accepting supplemental entries to the November Sale catalog until the start of the auction. Supplements produced many of the auction’s highest-priced broodmares, weanlings and horses of racing age.
Topping the Book 1 supplements were Unicorn Girl, dam of Grade 1-winning juvenile Jackie’s Warrior, sold to Arthur Hoyeau, agent, for $850,000; Veronique, dam of undefeated Keeneland stakes winner and recent track record setter Nashville, purchased for $800,000 by James Delahooke, agent; and a weanling half-brother to Jackie’s Warrior by American Pharoah purchased by M.V. Magnier for $600,000.
Energizing later sessions was the vibrant market for horses of racing age, a number of which were supplemented to the sale.
At $525,000, the high seller during the ninth day was graded stakes performer Hidden Scroll, a winning 4-year-old Hard Spun colt, who sold to Fergus Galvin, agent for Marc Detampel. WinStar Racing, agent for Juddmonte Farms, consigned the colt. Edgemont Road, a stakes-placed son of Speightstown supplemented to the sale, sold to Eddie Kenneally, agent for William K. Werner, for $275,000.
The day before, two horses of racing age who were supplemental entries – Grade 2-placed Bob and Jackie and Churchill Downs winner Alex Joon – sold for $190,000 and $120,000, respectively.
“We’ve been working on the racehorse segment of our catalog for the last couple of years,” Russell said. “WinStar was the first to come to us and try to design a portion of the sale around racehorses, and it has grown exponentially since. Going forward, we’ll be looking to improve on it.”
Colts by the two most recent winners of the Triple Crown – Justify and American Pharoah – sold for $600,000 apiece to tie as the most expensive weanlings. Donati Lanni, agent, purchased the son of Justify, who was consigned by Hunter Valley Farm, agent. Magnier acquired the aforementioned son of 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, who is a half-brother to Jackie’s Warrior.
Represented by his first crop, Justify was the leading sire of weanlings by average with five colts averaging $427,000. They also included the top-priced weanlings of the second ($475,000) and third sessions ($435,000).
Weanlings from the first crops of other Grade 1 winners Bolt d’Oro, City of Light and Mendelssohn also were well received with total sales for each sire exceeding $1 million.
“Fewer foals were cataloged this year, and the bidding for them was more competitive,” Russell said. “The strength of the foal market surprised many consignors who didn’t enter their foals in the November Sale. Several major end users are now participating in the foal market, and that has pushed the pinhookers back a little. They probably haven’t fulfilled all their orders, so we hope to see them at the January Horses of All Ages Sale.”
The number of horses sold in post-sale transactions – 88 horses for $6,796,000 as of sale end Wednesday – is a reflection of the strong trade. One was Book 1 offering Con Te Partiro, the globetrotting Group 1 winner sold privately for $1.6 million to David Redvers Bloodstock. Consigned by Bedouin Bloodstock, agent, the 6-year-old daughter of Scat Daddy initially was reported as an RNA.
The leading covering sire by average was Quality Road, whose three in-foal mares averaged $911,667.
Taylor Made Sales Agency was the November Sale’s leading consignor for the fourth consecutive year and the 24th time since 1987. Taylor Made sold 208 horses for $18,957,600, including the aforementioned Ollie’s Candy and Lady Prancealot as well as Expo Gold, dam of the 2020 Preakness (G1)-winning filly, Swiss Skydiver, for $950,000. In foal to Catholic Boy, Expo Gold sold to Hunter Valley Farm, agent.
During Wednesday’s final session, 214 horses sold for $1,309,600, for an average of $6,120 and a median of $4,000. The high seller at $40,000 was Mutakaamil, a 4-year-old son of Tapit who sold to Jeff Engler, agent for Lea Farms. Bluewater Sales, agent, consigned the colt.
On Dec. 15, Keeneland will hold its next auction, the December Digital Sale for horses of racing age, broodmares, weanlings, yearlings and others. Keeneland will begin accepting entries to the sale on Monday, Nov. 23.
The December Sale will be conducted via the Keeneland Digital Sales Ring platform, which is supported by HorseCo.
Keeneland’s 2021 January Horses of All Ages Sale is scheduled for Jan. 11-14. The sale will include a draft of in-foal mares as part of the dispersal of Sam-Son Farm of Canada.