Keeneland is the world’s largest Thoroughbred auction house, and we take pride in our history of selling more champions and stakes winners than any other sales company.
During the past decade, Keeneland graduates have accounted for nearly half of all winners of the Triple Crown classic races. Keeneland has sold 19 Kentucky Derby (G1) winners — including 2012 winner I'll Have Another, 2011 winner Animal Kingdom, Big Brown, Fusaichi Pegasus, Winning Colors and Alysheba — and 20 Preakness (G1) winners, highlighted by 2012 victor I'll Have Another, 2011 champion Shackleford and Lookin At Lucky. Seventeen Belmont (G1) winners have gone through the Keeneland auction ring, led by five of the past six champions — Ruler On Ice (2011), Drosselmeyer (2010), Da’ Tara (2008), Rags to Riches (2007) and her half-brother, Jazil (2006).
Since its inaugural running in 1984, Keeneland sale graduates have dominated the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, counting among them Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winners and Horses of the Year Havre de Grace (2011), Zenyatta (2009), Curlin (2007), A.P. Indy (1992), Black Tie Affair (1991), Sunday Silence (1989) and Alysheba (1988). Six Keeneland sales alumni captured Breeders’ Cup events in 2011 — Drosselmeyer (Classic), My Miss Aurelia (Juvenile Fillies-G1), Court Vision (Mile-G1), Stephanie’s Kitten (Juvenile Fillies Turf-G2), Regally Ready (Turf Sprint-G2), and Secret Circle (Juvenile Sprint), joining such racing luminaries as Uncle Mo, Unrivaled Belle, Shared Account, Dangerous Midge, English Channel, Ashado, Midnight Lute, Speightstown, Forever Together, Stardom Bound, Azeri and Johannesburg.
Yearlings purchased at Keeneland have excelled on the world stage as well, winning major stakes in Europe, South America, Russia and Asia. In 2011, Dream Ahead accounted for three Group 1 stakes – the Darley July Cup, Qatar Prix de la Foret and Betfred Sprint Cup; Elusive Kate won the Prix Marcel Boussac Criterium (G1); and California Memory took the Citibank Hong Kong Cup (G1) and Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup (G1).
Though our founders expressed the idea of a sales facility in the 1930s, it wasn't until 1943 that horses were first sold on the grounds.
Prior to World War II, many Kentucky breeders shipped their yearlings to Saratoga, New York, each summer to be sold at auction. But in 1943, a wartime restriction on rail transport forced breeders to keep their yearlings at home. So began Keeneland's first yearling sale, held under a tent in the track paddock. From that inaugural sale came Hoop, Jr., winner of the 1945 Kentucky Derby.
Today, we conduct four sales annually. Our two signature sales are the September Yearling Sale and the November Breeding Stock Sale. We also hold a January Horses of All Ages Sale and an April Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale. The July Selected Yearling Sale was discontinued in 2003.