Keeneland Fall Yearling Sale
Eleven days ago I covered the first two days of the Fall Yearling Sale. Today we wrap up all thirteen sessions for 2016. The sale was a mixed bag. At the top end only nine horses sold for a million or more. On the other hand one sold for $3 million, the highest price paid since 2010. Books three thru five where the middle of the market rests saw strong sales with higher medians and averages. The last two days were weak with many of the buyers leaving before the end of the sale.
Expecting more offerings this year Keeneland added a thirteenth session which may have been a mistake. The overall gross fell 3% from last year to $272,890,500, while the average fell 4.7% and the median fell 20%. These, however, were nearly equal to last year until the last day dragged things down. The median (middle) price for a horse was $40,000 meaning that half of the horses sold were less than that. A few of those horses will surprise and win much more than their purchase price. The horsemen were encouraged by the 84 horses that sold for prices between $500,000 and $999,999. The unsold rate was 26.5% which was up 2% from last year, but better than other summer horse sales where the unsold rates were above 30%.
While nearly all the statistical measures were down and point to the gradual decline of the horse industry, Keeneland and many horsemen were encouraged by the strong middle market. As was said, good horses sell, and poor horses don’t. Those estimates of good and bad are based on pedigree and appearance, neither of which is a perfect measure.
Alicia Wincze Hughes, “Fall yearling sale bucks market trends,” Lexington Herald-Leader,
September 26. 2016, p. 3A. (The headline seems misleading since most of the indicators were down.)