Gross receipts for the 15-day auction, held November 3-17, totaled $185,552,300, down 45.6 percent from last year’s record $340,877,200. Average price of $61,462 declined 39 percent from $100,821 reported in 2007. The median of $20,000 decreased 42.9 percent from last year’s $35,000. A total of 3,019 horses sold compared to 3,381 a year ago.
“The sharp declines we’ve seen in this sale are not only the result of an industry adjustment; they are additionally owed to external market forces the likes of which we’ve never seen before,” he said. “Globally, there is a lack of liquidity, a lack of consumer confidence, and a strong U.S. dollar. Those are dynamics we cannot control. They are affecting the conduct of business at every level and in every corner of the world, and the Thoroughbred industry is not immune. The consequences will be significant for everyone in the Thoroughbred industry, including Keeneland.”
Russell noted, however, that when viewed in the context of the extraordinary economic climate, the sale was solid with good trade throughout.
“There are several positives to take away,” he said. “The market continued to receive support, though at a different level. Quality individuals sold well and were difficult to buy. And there was strong participation from a diverse group of domestic and international buyers.
“Keeneland has worked very hard to develop a global network of horsemen, which we continue to expand,” he added. “We’ve established long-term, sustainable relationships with these buyers, and they were a major influence from the first day of this sale until the very last. Without their support, the declines would have been much worse.”
Nineteen horses sold for $1 million or more, led by the sale-topping Hystericalady, purchased for $3 million by John Ferguson, on behalf of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum. She was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent.
Taylor Made topped the consignor list for the seventh consecutive November Sale, selling 322 horses for $31,894,400.
In addition to Hystericalady, Ferguson also paid $2.5 million for Away, in foal to Unbridled’s Song, consigned by Three Chimneys Sales, agent; and $2.3 million for Personal Ensign Stakes (G1) winner Shadow Cast, in foal to Bernardini and consigned by Lane’s End, agent.
Ferguson, as representative for Sheikh Mohammed, was the sale’s leading buyer, purchasing seven horses for $9,010,000.
Among the other sale toppers was Demoiselle Stakes (G2) winner Mushka, sold to Elizabeth Moran’s Brushwood Stable for $2.4 million. The three-year-old Empire Maker filly was consigned by Eaton Sales, agent for Zayat Stables LLC.
Chesapeake Partners purchased the highest-priced weanling of the sale, paying $1.475 for a filly by Bernardini. Consigned by Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, agent, the filly is from the family of Belmont Stakes (G1) winners Rags to Riches and Jazil.
“We want to thank our consignors and buyers for their year-round support, and wish them a safe and happy holiday season,” Russell said.
During Monday’s final session, Keeneland sold 150 horses for $663,900, down 1.4 percent from a year ago when 114 horses brought $673,500. The day’s average of $4,426 decreased 25.1 percent from $5,908 in 2007, while the median was down 45.9 percent to $2,000 from $3,700 last year.
A weanling colt by Bernstein sold for $55,000 to F. J. M. Stables to top Monday’s session. Consigned by Brandywine Farm LLC (Jim and Pam Robinson), agent, the colt is out of the unraced Stravinsky mare Life Happened.