Heavyweights on site for Keeneland September yearling sale

Keeneland’s auction grounds have been a hive of activity leading into the start of the world’s biggest yearling sale on Sunday evening.

The Keeneland September yearling sale will run from September 11 to 24 with a day off on September 16. The first two sessions on Sunday and Monday evening are for select yearlings.

Representatives of Coolmore Stud, Sheikh Mohammed and Sheikh Hamdan were inspecting horses on Friday.  Other shoppers such as Japanese horseman Nobutaka Tada, Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher and British bloodstock agent Tom Goff were also visible prior to the auction.

So far in 2011, yearling sales have been stronger than they were in 2010.  Sheikh Mohammed’s enthusiastic buying helped boost business at Fasig-Tipton’s Saratoga select sessions last month.

Keeneland has catalogued 4,319 horses for the September auction which is down 11% from 2010.  “We’ve reduced this sale by about 550 horses,” Keeneland director Tom Thornbur said.  “Breeders have sold off their mares that were non-productive and what they couldn’t sell off, they haven’t bred.”

Another development, which should make the auction better for breeders, is the reduction in stud fees that followed the American recession’s expansion into a global financial emergency late in 2008.

Last year, the September sale posted increases of 3.3% in gross revenue, 6.7% in average price, and 13.6% in median price.  The upswings ended three consecutive years of decline following record levels in 2006.

Among the highlights in the select session;

Street Sense half-sister to 2011 Alabama Stakes winner Royal Delta (55)
Medaglia d’Oro half-brother to Malibu Prayer (68)
Street Cry half-brother to War Chant (72)
Henrythenavigator half-brother to Smarty Jones (74)

Arch half-brother to Lear’s Princess (103)
Street Cry half-brother to Invasor (106)
Street Cry three-quarters-brother to Zenyatta (147)
Tapit half-brother to Mine That Bird (194)