The Keeneland January Horses of All Ages Sale, which featured the dams of 2019 Eclipse Award finalists, graded stakes-caliber fillies and yearlings by exciting young sires, concluded Friday with healthy results that reflect a competitive market for quality individuals.
Gross sales for the five-day auction, held Jan. 13-17, totaled $42,480,500 compared to $48,280,100 from the four-day sale last year when champion Abel Tasman sold for a record $5 million. Cumulative average was $38,409 and the median was $14,000. In 2019, cumulative average was $50,768 and the median was $20,000. This year, 1,106 horses sold versus 951 in 2019.
“We are very pleased with the solid trade experienced throughout the January Sale,” Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. “If you take out the sale of Abel Tasman last year, the results are remarkably similar to 2019. The consistent thread that runs through all these sales continues to be demand for quality horses.”
Three of the sale’s four highest-priced horses – Enaya Alrabb ($640,000), Inflamed ($525,000) and Pomeroys Pistol ($475,000) – were among the 29 supplements to the January Sale catalog offered during Book 1 on Monday and Tuesday.
“There was elevated demand for the supplements and they were very well received by buyers,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing and Sales Bob Elliston said. “Supplemental entries provide flexibility for us and for sellers, and we really took their recruiting to a new level with this sale. Some of these offerings, particularly race fillies and broodmare prospects, can come to hand quickly. They can have significant success on the track in the fall and then head right to the breeding shed.”
James Schenck, on behalf of a new partnership, signed the tickets for the sale’s two highest-priced horses: Enaya Alrabb and Confidently, who brought $560,000.
Consigned as a broodmare prospect by Paramount Sales, agent, Enaya Alrabb is a 4-year-old Grade 1-placed daughter of Uncle Mo and from the family of Racing Hall of Famer Rachel Alexandra. Confidently, offered as a broodmare prospect, is a 4-year-old daughter of War Front and a half-sister to champion and leading sire Uncle Mo.
Schenck also purchased the Tapit mare Hot Blooded Girl, in foal to Curlin, for $280,000 to rank as the sale’s leading buyer, spending $1.48 million for three horses.
Confidently was consigned by Glen Hill Farm, a leading racing and breeding operation begun in the mid-1960s by Leonard and Bernice Lavin and now managed by the Lavins’ grandson, Craig Bernick. Glen Hill successfully returned to the Keeneland consignor ranks after years of selling horses here with other consignors.
Glen Hill’s consignment also included the Unusual Heat broodmare Inflamed, whose first foal, Mo Forza, is a finalist for the 2019 Eclipse Award as champion turf male. In foal to Tapiture, Inflamed sold to Shadai Farm of Japan for $525,000, the third-highest price of the sale.
Glen Hill sold five horses for $1,227,500 and led all consignors by average with $245,500.
Brookdale Sales, agent for Hardacre Farm, consigned multiple graded stakes winner Pomeroys Pistol, dam of undefeated 2019 Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) winner Thousand Words, who sold to Mike Ryan, agent, for $475,000.
The sale’s leading buyers represented a mix of domestic and international interests. Schenck was followed by Andre Lynch, agent, who spent $905,000 for five yearlings and the 6-year-old racing or broodmare prospect Painting Corners, and de Meric Stables, agent, which bought six yearlings for $832,000. Rounding out the top five were Shadai Farm ($625,000 for two mares) and Larry Best’s OXO Equine ($620,000 for two yearlings).
Buyers representing Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, France, Italy, Switzerland, Japan, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Turkey, Libya, Russia, Peru and Chile, among others, participated in the sale.
The January Sale has evolved into a popular marketplace for “short” or newly turned yearlings that appeal to both pinhookers, who will resell their purchases at this season’s yearling sales, and end users, who will race their purchases.
“The yearling market is phenomenal,” Keeneland Director of Sales Operations Geoffrey Russell said. “Some consignors now target the January Sale with quality yearlings, which means end users have a better opportunity to purchase nice yearlings. At the same time, pinhookers who didn’t fill their orders at the November (Breeding Stock) Sale are here shopping, thus creating a strong market.”
The January Sale’s top-priced yearling came on the third day of the auction when Springhouse Farm paid $400,000 for the colt by Uncle Mo out of stakes winner Red Sashay, by Big Brown.
“The market definitely was good for the more select short yearlings,” said Springhouse’s Gabriel Duignan, who also sold sale topper Enaya Alrabb as a partner in Paramount Sales. “It’s just a carry-on from November, but the emphasis has very much gone on quality. This year, there probably have been more end users among the (yearling) buyers at the top end. It’s tough on us pinhookers.”
The Uncle Mo colt was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent, the January Sale’s leading consignor for the 18th time since 2001. This year, Taylor Made sold 149 horses for $6,009,400.
The sale’s second most expensive yearling is a filly from the first crop of Grade 1 winner Mastery sold to Andre Lynch, agent, for $365,000. Consigned by Royal Oak Farm, agent, the filly is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Nereid and Grade 1-placed Sea Queen.
Constitution, the second-leading first-crop sire of 2019, was the leading sire of yearlings with 10 horses grossing $1,447,000. Second among yearling sires was first-crop stallion and Grade 1 winner Practical Joke, himself a January Sale graduate who was resold at Keeneland’s September Yearling Sale. A total of 13 yearlings by Practical Joke sold for $1,215,000.
Mastery was the third-leading sire of yearlings with sales of $880,000 for six horses, followed by Horse of the Year Gun Runner, another stallion represented by his first crop of yearlings. Five horses by Gun Runner sold for $832,000.
Uncle Mo was the January Sale’s leading sire overall with 14 horses selling for $2,058,200. He was represented by sale-topping Enaya Alrabb, the highest-priced yearling and half-sister Confidently, who commanded the sale’s second highest price.
On Friday, K.C. Garrett Farm paid the session-topping price of $150,000 for Cullum Road, a 5-year-old, Grade 3-placed gelding by Quality Road. Consigned by Bluewater Sales, agent, Cullum Road is out of the stakes-winning Indian Charlie mare R Charlie’s Angel.
A total of 151 horses sold during the final session for $1,316,600, for an average of $8,719 and a median of $4,200.
Keeneland is accepting entries for its next sale, the April Two-Year-Olds in Training and Horses of Racing Age Sale on Tuesday, April 7. Preview Day is April 6.
The deadline to nominate a 2-year-old is Feb. 3. Horses of racing age must be nominated by March 2.