Prices Down At Major Nine-Day Racing Thoroughbred Sale

For the Love of Horses


The 80th Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale in Lexington, Kentucky, concluded November. 16, with the sale taking a 12.7 percent downtick in gross from the previous year of $216,338,400.

The nine-day sale saw 2,219 horses sold for a final gross of $188,836,000.

Keeneland reports 258 of the 297 horses on offer during session nine sold for gross receipts of $2,702,200, down 15.6 percent over 2022.

An average price of $10,474 shows a 12.6 percent decline, while the median held steady at $7,000. Some 39 horses, 13.1 percent, failed to attain their reserve price

Last year’s sale had 10 sessions, with the final three comprising Book 5. This year, there were two sessions for Book 5.

During last year’s corresponding session, 267 horses of the 308 through the ring were traded for a $3,201,200 gross.

An average of $11,990 and a $7,000 median were made. There were 41 individuals, 15.4 percent, failed to sell.

Antony Beck’s Gainesway led the final session with gross receipts of $306,900, at an average of $13,950 for 22 horses sold.

Buena Madera purchased two head for a gross of $100,000 to be the leader on the final day.

Over the nine days, 2,219 horses sold of the 2,728 to go under the hammer for gross receipts of $188,836,000.

An average price of $85,100 and a median of $32,000 were made with 509 horses, 18.7 percent, did not sell.

to: “I think pound for pound we have to be pleased the way it shaped up,” Keeneland vice president of sales Tony Lacy said.

“The beginning of the sale showed some selectivity in the market. At the higher end, there was some protectionism used by sellers. There were strong reserves that were fair, but also, people weren’t willing to let horses go at a less-than-reasonable value.

“We have seen quality protected in the market throughout the year because there are other opportunities.”

Last year’s 10-session sale concluded with 2,327 horses traded of the 2,869 to go through the ring for a $216,338,400 gross.

Averages of $92,969 and $35,000 median were recorded. The 542 horses that remained unsold represent an 23.3 percent.

It’s hard to say whether the downtick of this year’s sale is a direct result of the current market’s status or the catalog’s quality.

“What we observed a few sessions into this sale was sellers recognized the market in front of them and were pragmatic in their approach, and as a result, we have had an excellent clearance rate,” Cormac Breathnach, director of sales operations, commented.

“It’s been a solid market, and there have been a lot of horses traded. We are pleased with the participation and support from buyers and sellers alike, and more horses have traded with a lower no sale rate than last year.”

The sale saw 12 horses bring $1 million or more, topped by Puca, the dam of this year’s Kentucky Derby winner Mage . She was offered by Case Clay Thoroughbred Management carrying a full sibling to the grade 1 winner. Gavin O’Connor, agent for John Stewart, purchased the mare privately for $2.9 million on November 8, after she didn’t sell in the ring during the first session.

There were 13 $1 million or more horses sold during the 2023 sale.

“The clearance rate was good, and the middle market was extremely healthy,” Lacy said.

“The sellers were pleased for the most part, and buyers found it tough to find the quality stock at the prices they were looking for. The market has a lot of stability overall, even with the slight correction. Considering what we are dealing with in interest rates and the strong dollar, we had a lot of international participants.”

Perennial leading consignor Taylor Made Sales Agency sold a total of 270 horses for receipts of $23,689,900, at an average of $87,740.

West Bloodstock, agent for Repole Stable, made nine purchases throughout the sale for $5,220,000 to be the sales leading buyer.

AAA Thoroughbreds, the weanling-to-yearling pinhooking arm of Hartley/DeRenzo Thoroughbreds, skidded into second after spending $4,870,000 on 19 weanlings from Books 1-3.

Horse of the Year Flightline, who will stand his second year at Lane’s End for $150,000 next year, had seven mares in foal to the son of Tapit, grossing $6.625 million, at an average of $946,429, to be the leading covering sire for the sale.

This year, Keeneland focused on selling more quality foals, played out by design, with weanlings accounting for $13.3 million, or 7.1 percent of the gross.

Lacy added: “The foal market was robust. It shows breeding quality has its return whether as a yearling or weanling.”

The top weanling offering, a colt by Gun Runner sold for $750,000 to Shadwell Racing on the first day. Taylor Made Sales Agency consigned the colt out of the Galileo mare Urban Hill.

“We have had a couple of record September Sales the last few years, which is incredible, but we noticed early on in the first few sessions the strength in the weanling market, which is a reflection of the confidence in the yearling market next year,” Breathnach said.

Lacy added: “We have interest from the Middle East and other parts of the world, which see this sale as an option now for sourcing horses for their racing programs.”


Perennial leading Keeneland sale consignor Taylor Made Sales Agency sold a total of 270 horses for receipts of $23,689,900, at an average of $87,740.


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