Keeneland September Yearling Sale begins Monday, September 11

Keeneland September Yearling Sale begins Monday, September 11
Photo: Keeneland

For the next two weeks, Keeneland’s 74th annual September Yearling Sale will be the focus of the Thoroughbred industry as major buyers from across the U.S. and around the world select racing prospects representing top breeders and consignors. This year’s sale, which begins Monday at 3 p.m. ET, comes with added excitement thanks to the debut of Keeneland’s September Sale Bonus Program and a revised format.
The September Sale Bonus Program comprises two components: the Book 1 Bonus and Seller Bonus. The Book 1 Bonus targets Grade or Group 1 stakes winners that sold as yearlings in the premier Book 1 portion of the September Sale. The Seller Bonus extends opportunities for rewards to all eligible graded or group stakes winners sold in any book of the September Sale.
More information about the Keeneland September Sale Bonus Program is available at
To increase the number of upper-market horses presented to prospective buyers during Week 1 of the sale, Keeneland revised the format of the auction by cataloging 167 elite yearlings for the exclusive one-day Book 1, followed by 1,036 top-quality yearlings over three days in Book 2. As a result, a total of 1,203 yearlings are cataloged during Week 1 before the sale takes a one-day hiatus versus 607 during the three-day Book 1 that made up Week 1 of the 2016 auction. 
The format of the 2017 September Sale is as follows:
·       Book 1 (Monday, Sept. 11) – Session begins at 3 p.m.
·       Book 2 (Tuesday-Thursday, Sept. 12-14) – Sessions begin at 11 a.m. daily.
·       Dark Day, Friday, Sept. 15 – No sale will be conducted. 
·       Books 3-6 (Saturday-Saturday, Sept. 16-23) – Sessions begin at 10 a.m.
The entire September Sale, which runs through Sept. 23, will be streamed live on
On a sunny, fall-like Sunday morning with temperatures in the low 60s, consignors of horses cataloged to Monday’s premier Book 1 opening session of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale commented on the high traffic their consignments have received since the horses started being shown Friday.
Chris Baccari, Baccari Bloodstock: “Our horses have been out 90 times each. They have been shown even more than I thought they would. Our goal is to bring superstars to this sale. We aggressively buy the best foals we possibly can. Our Book 1 horses have been specifically targeted for this part of the sale.”
Craig Bandoroff, Denali Stud: “We’ve never shown more; they (prospective buyers) are just wearing them (the horses) out. We’ve had horses hitting 150 shows (each), and this is Sunday so they’re probably going to hit 200. They’ve looked at this group as hard as I’ve ever seen them look at a group of horses. I’ve seen a real good mix of people – more Europeans than we’ve seen, more Japanese than we’ve seen. Maybe they’re all waking up to realize we have some good horses over here.”
Brutus Clay, CEO, Runnymede Farm: “I think it was a creative idea for the new structure (single session Book 1 in reformatted Week 1). It very well may solve that problem of who goes first. There’s a lot of people here and there’s good traffic. It’s just up to the individual horses. The market has been strong so far this year and hopefully it will continue. We’re excited.”
Conor Doyle, Bedouin Bloodstock: “We’ve had great traffic, lots of activity, plenty of international participation. There seems to be a good appetite (for horses) among people. We’re anticipating a big sale starting tomorrow.”
Tommy Eastham, who owns Legacy Bloodstock with his wife, Wyndee: “One thing unique to Keeneland is that you hear every accent in the world. Every accent and every continent is represented here. The Keeneland sales staff puts out great effort to get (buyers) here.
“This is a very positive time to be in the horse business. I think this is going to be a really good sale. There are a lot of people wanting to own good horses. It is cool to be a horseman right now. Some entertainment venues might have dropped in popularity but people are getting back to the beauty of horse racing.”
Brian Graves, director of public sales, Gainesway: “It has been busy. We have been doing ‘all shows’ in both this barn and (Book 2 horses) at the same time. There seems to be a good appetite for horses and probably busier than I have seen in recent years.”
Tanya Gunther, Glennwood Farm: “We’ve been busy. We’ve had more than 70 shows per horse per day, which is a lot – means you’re not stopping. We were really, really hectic Friday and Saturday; now it’s more second, third, fourth looks. These are our best physicals and our best pedigrees. It’s nice to have horses of that quality and that caliber that you can bring to Book 1 at Keeneland. We’re happy to be here.”
Walker Hancock, president, Claiborne Farm: “We’re very busy. We’ve had over 600 shows the past two days for five horses, so that tells the tale. A lot of enthusiasm and excitement, so we’re expecting a big sale.”
Bridie Harrison: “It is very nice to be in Book 1 with three very nice horses. We started showing on Friday morning and have been extremely busy.”
Ann Archer Hinkle, owner/director of bloodstock services, Hinkle Farms: “We were really busy Friday and expecting yesterday to slow down a little bit, but yesterday was just as busy. Having the half-brother to (champion and Kentucky Derby-G1 winner) Nyquist and the only Orb in Book 1 has given our consignment some buzz. We’ve seen some big players coming to look at our consignment. It’s exciting to see some of the best owners and bloodstock agents and trainers coming out and looking at your horses because you hope they might like yours. You hope the best for your horses and want them to end up in the best possible hands.”
Hunter Houlihan, director of client development, Darby Dan Farm: “We started showing Friday and we have been very, very busy all three days. We are happy to see a whole lot of people from a whole lot of different places. All the different buyer groups are represented here, so we are pretty excited. We have great weather and Keeneland always takes great care of everybody.”
Mark Hubley, president, KatieRich Farms: “We have had a lot of interest. (Hip 20) has been shown more than 100 times since Friday afternoon. A Book 1 horse has to have everything—pedigree, physical, good throat, good X-rays, good everything and he fits the bill. All year we look forward to selling in the early Keeneland books – it is our bread and butter. We try to have fun and enjoy it.”
Pam Robinson, who owns Brandywine Farm with her husband, Jim: “We started showing Friday morning and have not slowed down. Jim and I have been selling horses for 42 years because it is our passion. We raise what we consider an athletic horse and when they win, we have repeat customers coming back to look at our consignments.”
John Sikura, president, Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency: “We’re proud of our horses. We’ve been showing them to lots of people from all over the world. That’s all you can expect to get the exposure. We’re confident that everybody is here. The sales year has been successful for pinhookers and others. There’s strength in the marketplace. A public auction is always some suspense and intrigue, and that’s what makes it fun.”
Keeneland’s comprehensive September Sale microsite is an invaluable resource for horsemen, media and Thoroughbred racing fans. The digital Book 1 catalog features yearling conformation photos, walking videos and interactive Keeneland Pedigrees with full updates and race replays for winners found within the pedigrees for horses cataloged to Monday’s Book 1 session, which begins at 3 p.m.
The expansive digital platform provides a unique range of tools and services to both sellers and buyers. These enhancements, particularly the yearling photos and videos, enable sellers to showcase Book 1, and their outstanding individuals, to a global audience. They also allow buyers from around the world to gather more information in advance of their travels to the September Sale. 
In addition to the digital Book 1 catalog, the site offers an interactive index that enables users to browse and filter all six September Sale catalogs. Also available are profiles of September Sale graduates that have won graded or group stakes in 2017, featuring footage of their sale at Keeneland as a yearling and race replays, and details about Keeneland’s new September Sale Bonus Program and Week 1 sale format and events. has a wealth of free and useful sales information for consignors, buyers and others, including a list of outs for the September Sale; searchable catalogs and results for Keeneland sales beginning with the 1999 July Selected Yearling Sale; and lists of stakes-winning Keeneland sales graduates that can be sorted by sale and are available by year back to 2010.
TVG2 will present full coverage of the first two days of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale on Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 11-12, highlighted by interviews with consignorers, buyers and Keeneland sales officials, as well as features on the Keeneland sales Experience. TVG1 will have periodic live hits on subsequent sale days.
Every time a racehorse by Scat Daddy wins in the U.S., Europe and beyond, the late stallion’s name becomes increasingly synonymous with international success. Scat Daddy’s influence was particularly evident this year at Royal Ascot, where four of his offspring – Caravaggio, Lady Aurelia, Sioux Nation and Con Te Partiro – were victorious. In the U.S., his recently successful runners include Dacita (CHI), who won the Beverly D. (G1) at Arlington.
Though Scat Daddy died unexpectedly in 2015, his seven crops of racing age to date include 87 stakes winners, and his progeny have earned more than $51 million. Scat Daddy currently leads the juvenile sire list and ranks seventh on the general sire list, both by earnings.
The September Sale has cataloged 83 yearlings from Scat Daddy’s final crop of foals, including:
·       Hip 48, consigned by Paramount Sales, agent, is a full sister to Caravaggio, whose seven wins in nine starts in England, Ireland and France include today’s Derrinstown Stud Flying Five (G2) at the Curragh. The filly is a half-sister to U.S. graded stakes winner My Jen.
·       Hip 65, a colt consigned by Eaton Sales, agent, is out of the stakes-winning Mr. Greeley mare Parisian Affair and is a half-brother to Crimson China, a winner in England and stakes winner in the U.S. He also is from the family of French highweight and Group 1 winner Elusive City.  
·       Hip 68, a colt consigned by Four Star Sales, agent, is a half-brother to English stakes-placed Christophermarlowe. He is from the family of Irish highweight Majestic Queen and King George (G2) and Prix du Gros-Chene (G2) winner Muthmir.
·       Hip 163, a half-brother to Irish winner Solar Halo, is consigned by Lane’s End, agent. His second dam is English Broodmare of the Year Angel in My Heart (FR), dam of Epsom Derby (G1) winner Kris Kin.
·       Hip 264, a filly consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent, is a full sister to Acapulco, winner of the 2015 Queen Mary (G2) at Royal Ascot.
·       Hip 979, a full brother to Dali, a winner at 2 this year in Ireland, is consigned by Eaton Sales, agent. He is from the family of multiple group and graded stakes winner Midnight Line and Group 3 winner Midnight Air.  
Late Sunday morning, Racing Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert arrived at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale to begin inspecting candidates to join his racing operation, which this year is packed with September Sale graduates that have succeeded at racing’s highest level. They include Grade 1 winners Abel Tasman, Arrogate, Collected, Cupid, Drefong and West Coast; Grade 2 winners American Anthem, Collected, Hoppertunity and Mastery; and Grade 3 winner Pretty N Cool.
“It’s like restocking the pond. This is where it all starts,” said Baffert, when asked to describe the importance of the September Sale.
Baffert struck gold with the first horse he purchased at the September Sale when he spent $30,000 for a son of Slewpy in 1988. Named Thirty Slews, he won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at odds of 18-1 four years later to become Baffert’s first Breeders’ Cup winner.
“The only reason that I bought him was because he was the only one that I liked that I could afford,” Baffert said. “If you’re patient and wait, you’ll get your horse.”

Three years ago, Baffert and his team that inspect yearlings at the September Sale took a liking to two gray or roan colts consigned by Clearsky Farms, agent – an Unbridled’s Song colt, who would become champion Arrogate, and a colt by Tapit who was named Mohaymen.

“We loved both of them, but Mohaymen was way too expensive for us,” Baffert said, referring to the $2.2 million co-sale topper who became a multiple Grade 2 winner. He added with a smile, “Arrogate, he’s OK. He’s all right.”
Arrogate first made the jaws of the racing world drop when he careened down the Saratoga stretch in the 2016 Travers (G1), setting a track record and indicating the world-class talent that would prove difficult for other horses to match in his upcoming races.
For trainer Bob Baffert, he proceeded to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) and was honored with the Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male before conquering the inaugural Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) and the Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates Airline (G1). With earnings exceeding $17 million, Arrogate is the richest North American-based Thoroughbred in history.
Owner Juddmonte Farms purchased Arrogate from breeder and consignor Clearsky Farms for $560,000 at Keeneland’s 2014 September Yearling Sale.
“He was on the short list from (bloodstock agent) Donato Lanni,” Juddmonte’s Garrett O’Rourke said. “At the sale, he was the big, strong, handsome horse he is today. That is what a classic horse should look like.”
Arrogate is likely to make his next start in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Del Mar on Nov. 4.
Gabriel Duignan had good reason to take a two-minute break from greeting customers and showing horses at Barn 2 at Keeneland Sunday morning. He wanted to focus on the TV showing a race from the Curragh, the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five (G2).
The co-owner with Pat Costello of Paramount Sales had more than a casual interest because the consignment has a yearling filly from the final crop of Scat Daddy who is a full sister to Derrinstown Stud entrant Caravaggio, winner of last year’s Keeneland Phoenix (G1) at the same racecourse.
A perfectly timed ride in the Irish race produced a victory for Caravaggio and a perfectly timed update for Paramount’s Hip No. 48.
“It is huge because not only did he win, but he won spectacularly,” Duignan said while he seamlessly returned to business. “That shows he is a super horse to make up that much ground and on ground that he probably was not enjoying.”
Caravaggio upped his record to seven wins in nine starts and improved his bankroll to nearly $1 million. The 3-year-old colt is owned by Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith and is trained by Aidan O’Brien.
The nearly black yearling filly in the Paramount consignment and Caravaggio are out of the stakes-winning Holy Bull mare Mekko Hokte, who also produced Grade 2 winner My Jen.
“She is a beautiful filly who looks just like him,” Duignan said.
Three races later at the Curragh, September Sale graduate Order of St George (IRE) won the Comer Group International Irish St Leger (G1). The son of Galileo (IRE), who sold for $550,000 at the 2013 September Sale, also won the race in 2015.
To increase awareness of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA), which works to ensure the future of Thoroughbreds following their racing careers, and recognize the contributions of sales consignors, Keeneland and the TAA are presenting something each of the 141 consignments with horses in the September Yearling Sale are sure to use: high-quality rub rags with the logos of both organizations.
Keeneland is a proud partner of the TAA, a 501 (c)(3) based in Lexington that accredits, inspects and awards grants to approved aftercare organizations to retire, retrain and rehome Thoroughbreds using industry-wide funding.
“We are so delighted to have this opportunity to reach out to the consignors, who have played a big part in the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and its success thus far,” TAA Operations Consultant Stacie Clark said. “We’re all horse people, and we looked around and thought what would be something consignors could use in the barn and be branded. You always see people at the sales using a rub rag to do some last-minute dusting off and carrying them around, so we thought, ‘What better way to have branding out there than rub rags?’ ”
Visitors to the Keeneland Sales Pavilion during the September Yearling Sale will be able to view the 175 high-quality pieces of art that are cataloged to the fifth annual Sporting Art Auction, to be held in the Sales Pavilion on Sunday, Nov. 19. The auction begins at 2 p.m. ET.  
Keeneland Association and Cross Gate Gallery of Lexington collaborate to hold the Sporting Art Auction, which features fine sporting art, American paintings, and sculpture from celebrated artists. Highlights include:
·       Heading Home, a signed 30” x 40” oil on canvas by Andre Pater
·       A Morning’s Work, Newmarket Heath, a signed 15¼ x 28¼ oil on canvas by Sir Alfred Munnings
·       Jocks Room Colors, a stunning 40” x 30” oil on canvas by LeRoy Neiman
The auction also will feature works by such acclaimed artists as Henry Stull and John Frederick Herring Jr., and contemporaries Larry Wheeler, Peter Howell, Richard Stone Reeves and Quang Ho.
The auction is free and open to the public. In keeping with the Keeneland Association’s mission, Keeneland’s portion of the auction proceeds will benefit its non-profit initiatives, including the Keeneland Library Foundation.
Catalogs are available from Sporting Art Auction representatives in the Sales Pavilion’s Limestone Café or on the auction’s website at Inquiries are welcome via the website, by email to or by calling Cross Gate Gallery at 859 233-3856.
Keeneland is pleased to present a range of food, activities and amenities on the sales grounds for clients, guests and the public during the September Yearling Sale:
On selected sale days, Keeneland will offer Behind-the-Scenes Sales Tours for fans. The first of these two-hour tours, which take guests in the barns and Sales Pavilion, will be held Monday, Sept. 11. Behind-the-Scenes Sales Tours also will be offered Sept. 15, 16, 17, 20, 22 and 23.
Today until 6 p.m. and tomorrow from 11 a.m.-6 p.m., The Keeneland Shop will present a Trunk Show to showcase such premier vendors as Peter Millar, Ronner, Darren K. Moore, Res Ipsa and Henry Dry Goods.
Guests will enjoy complimentary snacks and cocktails along with special offers. The event takes place just outside The Keeneland Shop near the Walking Ring. The Keeneland Shop also has partnered with the popular Beaufort Bonnet on a limited-edition Keeneland collection for children available in the store.
Keeneland Executive Chef Marc Therrien and his Keeneland Hospitality culinary team have created an array of new menu items for guests to enjoy on the Keeneland sales grounds. On Monday, Sept. 11, an action station inside the Limestone Café in the Sales Pavilion will feature rare tuna sliders and Maine lobster rolls, while stations near the patios will offer bourbon “sticky” chicken and garden herb seared lamb chops. New menu offerings throughout the September Sale range from chicken etouffee to battered fish burritos, togarashi (a Japanese chili pepper) fries, jambalaya, French dip, smash burgers, BBQ, pizza and salads of all sorts.
The Keeneland Library, located not far from the Sales Pavilion near the Keene Barn & Entertainment Center, welcomes visitors to enjoy an exhibition of photographs of Man o’ War from its collection that are part of the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the legendary Thoroughbred’s birth. The exhibition, “Man o’ War: Images from the Keeneland Library Collections,” features 16 shots of the horse during his racing career and years at stud by Charles Christian Cook, Joseph Alvie Estes, Robert Lee McClure and Bert Clark Thayer. The Library is open to the public Mondays through Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The exhibition of Man o’ War photos runs through the September Sale.
The September Sale marks the return of Keeneland Fall Ale, a collaboration of Keeneland and Country Boy Brewing. The popular small-batch brew, a lightly hopped American pale ale introduced three years ago, will be available at local restaurants and bars, Country Boy’s two locations and at Keeneland.
Throughout the September Sale, clients again will be able to take advantage of a number of amenities on the sales grounds, including:
·       A Concierge Service based at the information desk inside the main lobby of the Sales Pavilion with representatives also available in the nearby Business Center.
·       Complimentary golf cart shuttles throughout the stable area to assist clients with moving through the barns and to and from the Sales Pavilion. Shuttles will run continuously each sale day from 8 a.m. until the end of the sale and on preview days from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.
·       Complimentary coffee each day in the Limestone Café in the Sales Pavilion and at Tincan Coffee by Barns 22-23 from 7-10 a.m.
·       Dining at the Limestone Café each day from 7:30 a.m. for breakfast until the conclusion of the session. A number of new menu items will be available there and on the sales grounds.

On Wednesday, Sept. 13, Keeneland and VisitLEX’s Beyond Grits team to present the fourth annual Jefferson Street Soiree to highlight the September Sale and one of downtown Lexington’s culinary and cocktail hot spots. From 6-10 p.m., 11 area restaurants and bars will offer food and beverage tastings, accompanied by live entertainment from Tee Dee Young Band and The Kentucky Hoss Cats. The festival district on Jefferson Street stretches from Maryland Avenue to West Short Street.

Source: Keeneland Association

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