Strong Trade, Stable Market Define Keeneland November Sale

Keeneland Sales Ring
Demand for quality broodmares and strong participation from both foreign and domestic buyers, particularly at the top levels of the market, generated solid business trade throughout Keeneland’s November Breeding Stock Sale, which concluded Friday.

Gross sales for the 11-day auction, held November 6-16, totaled $143,025,600 for the sale of 2,414 horses, for an average of $59,248 and a median price of $22,000. Last year, 2,554 horses brought $208,511,200, for an average of $81,641 and a median of $24,000.

Cumulative totals from 2011 were fueled by two premier dispersals – the estate of Edward P. Evans’ Spring Hill Farm, the highest-grossing Thoroughbred dispersal sold at public auction in North America, and the dispersal of Saud bin Khaled’s Palides Investments N.V., Inc., which was highlighted by the sale of champion Royal Delta for $8.5 million. When combined, the two dispersals accounted for 16 seven-figure sales and gross receipts of $72,759,000 last year.

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When gross sales from the two dispersals are excluded from 2011 totals, increases are realized in the comparisons. In 2012, 2,414 horses grossed $143,025,600, up 5.36 percent from last year when 2,354 horses brought $135,752,200.  Average price of $59,248 rose 2.74 percent from 2011’s $57,669, while the median increased 10 percent from $20,000 to $22,000.

“This was a very good sale, and encouraging in that the market laid down a stable foundation for the industry,” said Keeneland Vice President of Sales Walt Robertson. “Last year’s sale was enhanced by the vintage dispersals. This year we saw a truer market. And while there was general support throughout, we definitely saw a concentration on quality with regard to all types – broodmares, weanlings and horses of racing age. There is no doubt the money is out there for a good horse.”

Sales officials noted that, similar to this year’s September Yearling Sale, both foreign and domestic buyers were active at the top end of the market, and nearly evenly divided in their representation among the sale’s leading buyers.

“It was great to see American buyers continue to participate so strongly at the highest levels,” said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s Director of Sales. “Their enthusiasm for making such long-term investments is a positive indicator for the horse industry. Production costs, particularly stud fees, continue to trend downward, creating greater opportunities for breeders to make a profit during the next several years. Another optimistic sign is the growing investment by breeders in Central Kentucky farmland; they want to be where they see the market is most stable.”

Seven horses sold in November for more than $1 million, led by the $4.5 million paid by Brazilian-based Goncalo Torrealba, of Stud TNT, for multiple Grade 1 stakes winner Pure Clan, by Pure Prize, offered in foal to leading sire Bernardini.

Nicolas de Watrigant’s Mandore International Agency made four million-dollar-plus purchases on behalf of undisclosed clients to rank as the sale’s leading buyer. Mandore spent $10,235,000 for five horses, including $4.2 million for the graded stakes-winning Sadler’s Wells mare Changing Skies (IRE), in foal to Street Cry (IRE); $2.8 million for multiple Grade 1 winner Harmonious; $1.6 million for stakes winner Shotgun Gulch, in foal to Bernardini; and $1.25 million for Canadian champion Negligee, in foal to Distorted Humor.

Pure Clan and Changing Skies were consigned by John Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency. 

Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm went to $4.2 million to acquire 2011 Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Plum Pretty, who was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent.   

Taylor Made led all consignors for the 17th time at the November Sale, selling 207 horses for $20,071,700. 

A colt by War Front out of the Seeking the Gold mare Questress brought the sale’s top price for a weanling, selling to John McCormack Bloodstock for $800,000. Consigned by Eaton Sales, agent, the colt is a half-brother to multiple Grade 1 stakes winner and sire Pomeroy and to Gold Vault, dam of the Grade 1 stakes-winning filly Contested.

Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Stables paid $700,000 for Samantha Nicole, a yearling full sister to Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra. The filly was consigned by Gainesway, as agent for the Dolphus C. Morrison Dispersal, which sold 20 horses for $2,208,500. The dispersal consignment was headlined by the $775,000 paid by West Point Thoroughbreds for the impressive maiden winner Flashy Gray.

On Friday, 192 horses sold for $1,269,000, an increase of 57.88 percent over last year’s $803,800 for 157 horses. Average rose 29.08 percent from $5,120 to $6,609, while the median dipped 4.29 percent from $3,500 to $3,350.

Royal Irish Lass, dam of the stakes-winning juvenile filly Tara From the Cape, brought Friday’s top price of $210,000 from Jim and Pam Robinson’s Brandywine Farm. Consigned by Brandywine Farm, as agent for Rob Whiteley’s Liberation Farm, Royal Irish Lass is a nine-year-old mare by Saint Ballado out of graded stakes winner Irish Linnet, by Seattle Song.

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at You can also follow Tom on Facebook and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.