Keeneland November Sale Starts Monday

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Keeneland sales grounds | Keeneland photo

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LEXINGTON, KY – The action moves from the racetrack to the sales ring at Keeneland Monday with the first session of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale. The 10-day auction kicks off with a single select Book 1 section that begins at noon and continues through Nov. 18 with subsequent sessions beginning at 10 a.m.

“I think the sale will be good,” Marshall Taylor of Taylor Made Sales Agency said on an unseasonably warm November morning at the Keeneland sales grounds Sunday. “We have a lot of good horses and there are a lot of good horses on the sales grounds this year. I am hoping the momentum from the September sale and the yearling sales will carry over into November and things will keep getting better.”

Keeneland played host to the two-day Breeders' Cup championships for the second time over the weekend and Taylor agreed the championship meet provided extra excitement heading into the sale.

“You can almost get that magical feeling where all of these stars are coming right across the road from the racehorse barns into the sales barn,” Taylor said. “It brings a whole vibe to it that you don't get when the Breeders' Cup is out of state.”

While the September yearling sales were conducted largely without on-site participation of foreign buyers due to the global pandemic, international shoppers were out in force at the sales grounds Sunday.

“I have seen a lot of foreign buyers,” Taylor said. “I've seen a lot of Europeans and a lot of Japanese. In September, I didn't feel like there were as many Japanese buyers as there are here at the November sale. So it seems like there are a lot of foreign buyers here, which is great.”

In addition to the international buyers on the grounds, foreign interests are expected to continue to make their presence felt with on-line and phone bidding.

“I am very pleased with the traffic here so far,” James Keogh said in front of his Grovendale consignment Sunday morning. “There is a strong domestic influence right now, but we've been receiving overseas calls and people asking questions and for photos, especially from Japan. I expect they will very likely be bidding on-line.”

The Breeders' Cup championships provided several updates to horses in the Keeneland catalogue and Keogh is hoping to take advantage of Into Mischief's two wins at Keeneland Saturday.

“We are feeling very fortunate because we have a very nice mare in foal to Into Mischief (hip 10) with a real family behind her. So that was very exciting.”

Other Breeders' Cup updates in Book 1 include a half-sister to GI Breeders' Cup F/M Turf runner-up Rushing Fall (More Than Ready) in foal to Catholic Boy (hip 99); a full-sister to GI Breeders' Cup Sprint runner-up C Z Rocket (City Zip), in foal to Distorted Humor (hip 244E); as well as the dam of GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile runner-up Hot Rod Charlie (Oxbow), in foal to Into Mischief (hip 32). A weanling half-sister to GII Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint runner-up Cowan (Kantharos) will be offered as hip 146 and Veronique (Mizzen Mast), the dam of track-record setting Nashville (Speightstown) will be offered as hip 244D.

During the recently concluded yearling sales season, demand remained for the perceived quality offerings, but interest fell off markedly from there. Expectations are for that trend to continue at the November sale.

“If they were on your horse, you got good money, maybe even a little more than you thought you'd get,” said Hidden Brook's  Sergio de Sousa. “I don't see anyone saying it was a healthy market. When the median was $15,000, that doesn't pay your board bill for the most part.”

Expectations are for that polarization to continue into the November sale.

“You've got to be optimistic about it, especially for Book 1, but you also have to be realistic about the market,” said de Sousa. “The market has shown this year to be down between 20% and 30%. So you have to be aware of that. But as a breeder, we are dreamers and you always hope for the best in this business. So it will be interesting to see what happens. It was a fantastic two days with the Breeders' Cup and a lot of excitement. People are starting to come and look at the mares and foals more now, so we have to see what the traffic is going to be.”

De Sousa thinks there will be bargains to be found by astute buyers.

“There will be a lot of mares sold who are bubble mares,” de Sousa said. “I think this time next year there will be a lot of mares who will have 3- or 4-year-olds running now who sold for not a lot of money at this sale and they will be producing nice horses. I think that creates opportunities. I think if you have cash, it is a buyer's market.”

Last year's November sale was topped by the $3.2-million Take Charge Brandi (Giant's Causeway). The mare was one of 14 to sell for seven figures. Larry Best's OXO Equine paid top price for a weanling, going to $775,000 for a daughter of Curlin.

In all, 2,671 head sold for $200,135,200 at the 2019 sale. The average was $74,929 and the median was $25,000.

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