Keeneland Unveils Format Changes For September, November; April Sale Returns

by | 07.05.2018 | 12:35pm
Thoroughbred buyers eyeing yearlings at the Keeneland September Sale

Keeneland today announced three significant sales-related developments: a change to the Week 1 format of its 2018 September Yearling Sale, the creation of a boutique one-day Book 1 session to kick off the 2018 November Breeding Stock Sale and the return of its April Sale in 2019.

These adjustments were made with input from participating consignors and buyers and reflect market trends, Keeneland officials said.

“Keeneland engages in an ongoing dialog with our clients to collect their feedback and adapt our sales formats to meet the 'market of the moment,' ” Keeneland Vice President of Racing and Sales Bob Elliston said. “The market is fluid from year to year, and our primary goal is to create a sales environment that will produce the best results for our sellers and buyers.”

2018 September Yearling Sale

Keeneland's September Yearling Sale, the world's premier Thoroughbred auction and the primary barometer of the state of the global horse industry, is scheduled for Sept. 10-23. The 2018 auction comprises 13 sessions, one more than last year.

The format for the 2018 September Sale will be as follows:

Week 1 (Book 1) – Monday-Thursday, Sept. 10-13. Approximately 1,000 yearlings will be cataloged alphabetically by dam. Sessions begin at 11 a.m. ET daily.

Friday, Sept. 14 – The traditional “dark day” when no sale will be conducted.

Weekend (Book 2) – Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 15-16. Sessions begin at 10 a.m.

Week 2 (Books 3-6) – Monday–Sunday, Sept. 17-23. Sessions begin at 10 a.m.

The September Sale produces more winners of racing's biggest events and more participants at the sport's highest level than any other auction. From the Triple Crown to Royal Ascot to Dubai's Racing Festival and the Breeders' Cup World Championships, buyers are attracted to the September Sale for its consistency in producing world-class athletes.

To date this year, 78 September Sale graduates have won 105 graded or group stakes. Keeneland is honored to have sold undefeated 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify, a graduate of the 2016 September Sale. Other recent headline-makers include Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Monomoy Girl; champions Good MagicCaledonia RoadRoy HWest Coast,Abel TasmanLady Eli and Unique Bella; Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) and UAE Derby (G2) winner Mendelssohn; Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) winner Hawkbill; multiple Group 1 winner Order of St George (IRE); Betfred Dante (G2) winner Roaring Lion and Queen's Plate winner Wonder Gadot.

The September Sale catalog represents the cream of the North American Thoroughbred yearling crop and attracts the industry's major buyers from across the U.S. and around the world. Clientele from nearly every U.S. state and more than 50 countries include the world's major owners, many of the nation's leading trainers and a number of prominent juvenile sale consignors.

In support of Keeneland's mission to reinvest in its customers and strengthen the industry, Keeneland last year introduced the September Sale Bonus Program that offers cash rewards to sellers (owners at the time of sale) of horses sold at the September Sale that win Grade or Group 1, 2 or 3 stakes as a 2- or 3-year-old. Rewards are allocated as follows: $10,000 for a Grade/Group 1 stakes win; $7,500 for a Grade/Group 2 win; and $5,000 for a Grade/Group 3 victory, up to a maximum of $10,000 per horse over the two-year period.

On July 1, So Perfect became the first September Sale graduate to earn a reward when she won the Grangecon Stud (Balanchine) (G3) at The Curragh in Ireland. Keeneland will award Machmer Hall, owner of So Perfect when she sold at the 2017 September Sale, a $5,000 bonus for the win.

Last year's September Sale opened with a one-day elite Book 1 followed by a three-day Book 2. A Book 1 Bonus was tied to this specialty Book 1 session to provide rewards to the seller and current owner of those Book 1 graduates. Given the change for 2018, the Book 1 Bonus will not be applicable for this year, though Keeneland will pay bonuses earned by 2017 Book 1 graduates during their eligibility.

“Keeneland remains committed to investing in all facets of the Thoroughbred industry, and we will continue to explore opportunities to enhance the sales experience for our clients,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said.

2018 November Breeding Stock Sale
Keeneland will kick off its 2018 November Sale with an exclusive Book 1 session to be held Monday, Nov. 5. The entire November Sale schedule will be announced later.

“The Breeders' Cup World Championships are at Churchill Downs the weekend before the November Sale begins, so what better way to continue the excitement than to host a select Book 1 on opening day,” Thomason said.

The November Sale, which features broodmares and broodmare prospects, weanlings, horses of racing age, stallions and stallion prospects, is globally acknowledged as the most important sale of its kind, attracting the world's top horsemen. Last year, 14 different buyers representing interests in the U.S., South America, Ireland, England and Japan accounted for the 19 horses sold for $1 million or more, led by champion Stellar Wind, who brought a final bid of $6 million.

2019 April Sale
Keeneland will reinstate the April Sale in 2019 as a one-day auction of 2-year-olds in training and horses of racing age. The sale will be accompanied by a one-day preview show. Dates for the preview day and sale will be announced later.

“Keeneland's April Sale produced a number of champions and classic winners, including 2017 champions Lady Eli and Roy H in its final edition in 2014,” Elliston said. “Horsemen are very supportive of the sale returning this spring, and we are excited to expand the auction from previous years by offering a limited number of horses of racing age.”

Keeneland conducted its April Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale from 1993-2014. The sale has been on hiatus since 2015.

The April Sale had a proven record of success, counting six classic winners among its graduates: Belmont (G1) winner Palace Malice; Preakness (G1) winner and championLookin At Lucky; Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness winner and champion Big Brown; Kentucky Derby and Belmont winner and champion Thunder Gulch; and Kentucky Oaks (G1) winners Keeper Hill and Gal in a Ruckus. Champion Beautiful Pleasure also is an April sale graduate.

Keeneland is globally recognized as the world's leading Thoroughbred auction house. With the return of the April Sale, Keeneland once again will conduct four annual horse sales. No changes are scheduled for the 2019 January Horses of All Ages Sale, to be held Jan. 7-11.

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