‘Phenomenal’ is a word used to describe this month’s yearling sale at Keeneland. Gross sales over its 12 days were up more than 27% over last year. Director of Sales Geoffrey Russell says their new format worked well. It saw a broad cross section of yearlings sold at a variety of prices. Plus, buyers had more time to inspect the merchandise. Russell says they had their best number since before the recession.
“After 2008, there were a lot of people thinking of getting out of the horse business. They had lack of credit. They had problems with their banks. Now, all of sudden, they’ve weathered that storm and hopefully see a brighter horizon,” said Russell.
A relatively mild summer also eased the stress felt by young horses.
“Another factor mentioned by several buyers was the fact that we had such a good summer, a mild summer, it wasn’t overly hot and didn’t stress these horses out, so they were able to grow, live out in the pasture longer, and develop better,” added Russell.
Russell says breeders from Kentucky and other parts of the country brought a ‘superior group of athletes’ to the auction ring.