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 more than half of all winners of the Triple Crown classic races. Keeneland has sold 20 Kentucky Derby (G1) winners, 22 Preakness (G1) winners and 19 Belmont (G1) winners, sweeping the Triple Crown in 2016 with Nyquist (Derby), Exaggerator (Preakness) and Creator (Belmont).
Since the inaugural Breeders’ Cup in 1984, Keeneland sale graduates have dominated the World Championships. Through 2015, 95 sales graduates have won 103 Breeders’ Cup races. Among them are 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).
In 2016, these Keeneland sales alumni captured Breeders’ Cup events: Arrogate (Classic-G1), Beholder (Distaff-G1), Classic Empire (Juvenile-G1), Champagne Room (Juvenile Fillies-G1), Drefong (Sprint-G1), Finest City (Filly and Mare Sprint-G1), Tamarkuz (Dirt Mile-G1), New Money Honey (Juvenile Fillies Turf-G1).
Yearlings purchased at Keeneland have excelled on the world stage as well, winning major stakes in Europe, the Middle East, South America, Russia, Asia and beyond. In 2015, September Sale purchases that achieved global success included Air Force Blue, who received the Cartier Award as Europe’s champion 2-year-old colt in 2015; Order of St George (IRE), recognized by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities’ 2015 World’s Best Racehorse Rankings as the 3-year-old highweight in the category of extended distances; and Undrafted, winner of the Diamond Jubilee (G1) at Royal Ascot.
Our founders expressed the idea of a sales facility in the mid-1930s, and the first auction was held in 1938.
Keeneland began holding annual sales in 1943. Prior to World War II, many Kentucky breeders shipped their yearlings to Saratoga, N.Y., each summer to be sold at auction. But the wartime restriction on rail transport forced breeders to keep their yearlings at home. So began Keeneland’s first yearling sale, held Aug. 9, 1943, under a tent in the track’s Paddock. From that inaugural sale came Hoop, Jr., winner of the 1945 Kentucky Derby.
Today, we conduct three 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.