Keeneland Fall Breeding Stock Sale hints at future of racing
BLOG NO 116 NOVEMBER BREEDING STOCK SALE
November 22, 2016
Keeneland conducted its annual breeding stock sale over a thirteen day period. Strong sales at the top end of the market could not offset declines in gross sales, average price and median price. The number of horses sold was up by 78. Unrivalled Belle, in foal to top ranked sire Tapit, sold for $3.8 million, the highest price paid for a horse in Kentucky this year.
Nineteen horses sold for one million or more. Gross sales for 2,653 horses was a little over $215 million. Last year 2575 sold for $219 million. This meant the average price was $81,121 or 4.6% lower than last year. The real problem was that the bottom dropped out of Book IV, leading to the median price dropping to $25,000 which was down 16 2/3%. You too could own a racehorse for under $20,000.
The problems with the bottom half of the sale indicated there were not enough buyers, especially the bargain hunters. Many breeders did not cover their costs for stud fees, foaling costs, and feed. The sale was indicative of the shrinking demand for racehorses as tracks scale back the number of race days. It also meant that a Korean company bought 63 horses for a cumulative $1.5 million and was the largest buyer. The average price the Koreans paid was $23,810 which means the bottom of the sale would have suffered even more without them.
This is just another indication that horse racing is dying, except at the top.
Janet Patton, “November sale at Keeneland dips despite strong top end,” Lexington Herald-Leader,
November 22, 2016, p. 6A.