November 30, 2023

Numbers up as Keeneland January concludes

Hip No. 1573, MR CLASSICAL, will join trainer Brendan Walsh at Fair Grounds to resume racing after being purchased for $80,000 by Fergus Galvin, agent for Marc Detampel, at the 2018 Keeneland January Sale (c) Keeneland Photos

Keeneland’s 2018 January Horses of All Ages Sale came to a close Thursday with across-the-board gains despite one less day of selling.

At the conclusion of selling on Thursday, the 2018 four-day stand resulted in 909 horses realizing a total of $34,996,000, a $38,499 average and a $12,000 median. The 2017 Keeneland January sale took place over five days, with the final numbers showing 961 horses bringing a gross of $28,785,500, an average of $29,954 and a median of $10,500.

“The strong results of the January Sale continue to reflect a great enthusiasm to own racehorses,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing and Sales Bob Elliston said. “Buyers are bullish on the economy and the horse industry. They are bringing capital into the market in the form of long-term investment in broodmares and broodmare prospects.

“Short yearlings were at a premium, and a good balance of pinhookers and end-users battled to take them home. Pinhookers in particular had to step up to buy yearlings, suggesting strength because they anticipate rewards at the September Sale.

“As we believed it would, the optimistic trend we saw in September and November carried forward to January,” Elliston continued. “The surging stock market and the new tax treatments of investments should continue to positively impact the horse industry through this new year.

“Our goal is to see commerce being done, which is reflected in a high clearance rate. Quality not quantity is the industry guidepost now, and we work in partnership with consignors and buyers to get it right.”

The January Sale’s success was driven by a diverse selection of buyers from across the United States as well as international participation from Australia, Ireland, England, Japan, Korea, Russia, South America and Turkey.

“The international aspect of the January Sale was stronger than we normally see,” Keeneland Director of Sales Operations Geoffrey Russell said. “The depth and breadth of foreign participation are unique to Keeneland. Our sales team travels year-round to educate horsemen about our auctions and nurture relationships with established buyers in markets around the world. Foreign buyers value American bloodlines.”

There were a pair of million dollar sellers during the auction, a colt by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and Grade 2 heroine MRS MCDOUGAL, and both occurred on the second day of Keeneland January.

The colt came from the Paramount Sales, agent, consignment as Hip No. 533 and brought $1 million from Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier to become the third highest-priced yearling in the sale’s history.

Mrs McDougal was the final horse through the ring on Tuesday and topped the overall sale when going to Steven W. Young, agent, for $1.6 million as a racing or broodmare prospect. The six-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro sported Hip 781A from the Eaton Sales, agent, consignment.

“It was a very good sale, a really good market,” Reiley McDonald of Eaton Sales said. “The good horses all sold well and our good horses sold extremely well. It makes sense to me to bring horses to the January Sale.”

Thursday’s final day of the sale saw MR CLASSICAL and TABULATION each bring $80,000 to top the session.

Mill Ridge Sales, agent, consigned Mr Classical as Hip 1573, and the racing or stallion prospect went to Fergus Galvin, agent for Marc Detampel. The Bernardini four-year-old is out of the Empire Maker mare Solo Piano, who is herself a daughter of 2001 Kentucky Oaks (G1) and Alabama Stakes (G1) queen Flute.

Mr Classical, who has a Group 3-placed half-brother named Purser, will resume his racing career with trainer Brendan Walsh at Fair Grounds.

Tabulation sported Hip 1456 when entering the sale’s ring from the Gainesway, agent, consignment. The Giant’s Causeway eight-year-old, in foal to Mineshaft on a March 26 cover, was purchased by Donato Lanni, agent for Baoma Corp. The chestnut mare is a half-sister to 2011 Kentucky Derby runner-up Nehro, Grade 3 hero Saint Marden, Grade 2-placed stakes vixen Sweet Lips.

Thursday’s final session saw 258 horses sell for $3,251,300, an increase of 30.6 percent over last year’s corresponding day when 209 horses were purchased for $2,489,600. The $12,602 average rose 5.8 percent when compared the $11,912 average 12 months ago, and the median jumped 20 percent, from $5,000 to $6,000.

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