This year’s 12-day Keeneland November Sale, which was held November 2-13, immediately following Keeneland’s successful inaugural hosting of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships on October 30-31, posted increases in gross and average, but a decline in median, signaling a strong but selective marketplace. New York-breds fit squarely into this picture of solid results in the context of selectivity.
Of 115 New York-breds offered, 86 sold resulting in a 25.22 percent buyback rate, identical to the general population of the sale, where the cumulative buyback percentage rose this year to 25.2 percent from the 21.8 percent in 2014.
The New York-bred average of $50,716, as is typically the case for this sale, did not match the cumulative average of the sale, which was $85,033, the highest since 2007 and up 3.74 percent from last year’s $81,966. The New York-bred median matched the sale median at $30,000.
Predictably, the top New York-bred sellers changed hands early in the sale, with One Time Only and Harbor Mist, a pair of accomplished race mares in foal to commercial sires, bringing $410,000 each in Books 1 and 2 respectively. The top New York-bred weanling, a filly by Tale of the Cat, who sold in the fourth session of trading, realized $175,000. (Read more.)
John G. Sikura of Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm, who led the consignor rankings by gross, reflected on the results of the sale in an industry wide-context. “The underpinnings and stabilizing force of the business is the breeding industry, because we supply the product that people buy to be racehorses,” Sikura said. “That’s too simplistic, but without that supply of horses you don’t have the business. The foundation of the business starts with the breeders, and they express confidence in the marketplace by buying new stock and they find out if that confidence was well placed depending on the future yearling sales.
Sikura continued, “The criteria are the same in Books 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6; the only difference is price level,” he said. “With the obvious flaws or negatives – like very late cover dates or spotty produce records or middle-aged mares that haven’t produced yet – you’re severely punished. The barren mares no longer in foal are tough to sell because people want to get an immediate return.”
Keeneland Director of Sales Geoffrey Russell added, “I think the fact is that buyers are very critical and have a very tight criteria. If the mare meets the criteria, they’re happy to take good money for them and if it doesn’t, they’re not interested. The criteria are getting tighter and tighter every year.”
Gross sales of $218,959,400 for this year’s November Sale increased 6.34 percent over 2014, surpassing last year’s 11-day auction total of $205,899,500 on the ninth day of selling. This is the highest gross since the November Sale record of $340,877,200 set in 2007.