Keeneland January Sale Starts Monday

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Keeneland kicks off the 2020 sales season with a five-day renewal of its January Horses of All Ages Sale in Lexington Monday, with bidding slated to begin at 10 a.m. Temperatures are expected to be unseasonably warm during sales week and Keeneland officials hope the action inside the pavilion matches the weather outside.

“There haven't been a significant number of external changes,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing and Sales Bob Elliston said of his expectations for the January sale. “The economy is still solid, purses continue to rise domestically, the demand for American-bred horses abroad is as high as it probably ever has been. So all those things going in, coupled with the very strong book that has been put together with more offerings than we had last year, I'm cautiously optimistic.”

The 824 horses consigned to the auction's two-day Book 1 section feature a number of high-profile supplemental additions to the catalog, including the dams of a pair of Eclipse Award finalists. Hunter Valley Farm will consign Meets Expectations (Valid Expectations) (hip 398L), dam of multiple Grade I winner World of Trouble (Kantharos) and in foal to Uncle Mo, late in Monday's session, while Glen Hill Farm will offer Inflamed (Unusual Heat) (hip 795E), the dam of GI Hollywood Derby winner Mo Forza (Uncle Mo) and in foal to Tapiture, during the sale's second session Tuesday.

“We are kicking off the first two days with the dams of two Eclipse finalists,” Elliston said. “How do you get much better than that? Those are clearly the standouts that have been added to our supplements, but we've also got the Grade I and II placed Enaya Alraab (Uncle Mo) and Pomeroys Pistol (Pomeroy). There are some pretty strong offerings.”

Pomeroys Pistol (hip 795K), the dam of newly turned 3-year-old and graded-stakes winner Thousand Words (Pioneerof the Nile), sells through Brookdale Sales and is in foal to Arrogate. The broodmare prospect Enaya Alraab (hip 795D), second in the 2018 GI Starlet S. and 2019 GII Las Virgenes S., is consigned by Paramount Sales. Both sell Tuesday.

Elliston said giving sellers the chance to take advantage of late-developing opportunities was a priority for Keeneland.

“We really have to be responsive to our customers,” he said. “A mare can be made in a weekend when one of her progeny jumps up and does tremendously well. And when those opportunities present themselves, we have got to make it possible for a seller to bring that horse to market. We've got some nice offerings in the horses of racing age sale, too, and those horses could have been performing two weeks ago. Folks were making decisions about entering horses two months ago, but we have to give them the opportunity to bring the horses to market. It's something that we are really working hard on.”

In all, 1,856 horses have been cataloged for the January sale, which will run through Friday. The catalog includes 804 yearlings, 797 broodmares and broodmare prospects, 28 racing or stallion prospects, one stallion, one stallion prospect and one lifetime breeding right to Court Vision, sire of GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Storm the Court.

The 2019 January sale was topped by champion Abel Tasman (Quality Road), who sold for $5 million to Coolmore's M.V. Magnier. The 2020 January sale will have a tough act to follow on the heels of that record-setting broodmare prospect, according to Elliston.

“We are up against some pretty significant comparisons from last year with the wonderful Abel Tasman selling in January, but I think the evolution of the January sale is rewarding for us,” Elliston said. “It is really a pretty solid sale in and of itself. It really has some nice stock as you turn the calendar.”

Last year's auction, which was held over four sessions and included a catalog of 1,574 head, saw 951 horses sell for $48,280,100. The average was $50,768 and the median was $20,000.

Of the larger catalog and extra session in 2020, Elliston said, “That was absolutely a response to the high demand that we had to sell horses in January.”

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