By Jessica Martini
LEXINGTON, KY – There may have been no bidding at Keeneland Thursday, but it was anything but dark at the sales grounds as consignors were kept busy showing horses to perspective buyers on a sweltering day in the Blue Grass. The 13-day September sale opened with a blockbuster, three-session Book 1 and expectations are for that demand to carry into the two-session Book 2, which gets underway Friday at 10 a.m.
“The next two sessions have 365 horses a piece of really quality animals and there is a whole lot of money sitting on the sidelines still, who couldn’t get in here on Book 1,” said Keeneland’s vice president of sales and racing Bob Elliston. “I think we are going to see some fireworks still on Friday and Saturday.”
Hunter Simms of Warrendale Sales is looking forward to getting Book 2 started.
“We are very pleased with our Book 2 horses, we have a lot of sire power, we have some great physicals and great pedigrees,” Simms said. “We are selling for some great breeders. Coming out of Book 1, we are looking forward to Books 2, 3, and on through the sale. Everyone likes selling in Books 2, 3, and 4 and people like buying. It’s very competitive. That’s what you want. You’ll see some expensive horses in the next four or five days. ”
The idea that a competitive Book 1 market would set the table for the remainder of the auction was a common refrain at the sales grounds Thursday.
“I think Book 2 could be very strong,” said Paramount Sales’ Gabriel Duignan. “I think a lot of people got pushed back, traffic seems very encouraging and we’ve gotten good comments on the horses we have here, which helps.”
Asked if he was being kept busy outside Paramount’s Barn 44, Duignan said with a laugh, “They’re keeping me a little too busy.” He added, “It’s been crazy busy-all of the players we’ve had in the past and it looks like some new ones. Everybody seems like they want horses and they are very busy.”
Things were equally busy at the Select Sales Barn 36.
“Book 1 was great and we have been slammed here for Book 2 the last couple of days,” said Select Sales’ Andrew Cary. “I think the sale is going to continue being really strong all the way through. We’ve been having people wait and have to come back and see horses. From a consignors perspective, you never want to keep people waiting, but it’s good the demand is there and people are excited to see horses. That’s all you can ask for as a seller.”
Matt Lyons is overseeing the first consignment of Everett Dobson’s Candy Meadows Sales. Lyons said the demand for Book 2 horses started earlier than expected.
“We started showing Wednesday afternoon-we were going to wait until [Thursday] because we were selling out of Barn 24, but people were knocking on the doors to look, so we came down and started showing yesterday afternoon. Action has been busy ever since.”
In its debut consignment, Candy Meadows offered two horses in Book 1 and will have an additional two in Book 2.
“We’ve had a lot of good comments on how good the horses look and how well they are showing,” Lyons, who served as vice president and general manager of Woodford Thoroughbreds for 10 years before joining Candy Meadows in January, said.
“We are 100% so far, maybe we should retire,” he added with a laugh. “We are two-for-two-maybe we should retire at the top, but we’ll keep going.”
Of Candy Meadows’ Book 2 horses, Lyons said, “We have two nice colts, we think, a Twirling Candy who is going down well so far, and a More Than Ready colt from Daredevil’s family, so the same kind of cross.”
The Keeneland September sale continues through Sept. 22 with sessions beginning daily at 10 a.m.