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Keeneland Sale off to Fast Start

The New Year started on a happy note at Keeneland as the January horses of all ages sale finished its opening session in Lexington with huge increases of 62.2% in gross and 53.5% in average price from 2010. A strong buying push by Japan’s Yoshida family Jan. 10 and three young grade I-winning female runners—Ave, Wickedly Perfect, and Negligee—contributed to the bullish beginning for this country’s first major Thoroughbred auction of 2011.

“It’s good to start the year off with a bang,” said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s director of sales. But he warned horsemen not to celebrate yet, explaining that Keeneland officials wouldn’t know if a market rebound at the upper end was in progress until the end of Jan. 11’s second session.

“You have to look at all of Book One (of the sale catalog) and add the (results of the) first two sessions together,” Russell said. “Last year, session two had all the high-priced horses, so we’ll see where we are tomorrow.”

Keeneland reported that 187 horses were sold for a gross of $10,687,600, good for an average of $57,153. The median, $20,000, was the same as last year. In 2010, the 177 horses that were sold during the first session grossed $6,589,100 and averaged $37,227. (The Blood-Horse’s figures for last year’s opening session don’t include a stallion share that was sold for $3,500.)

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