Keeneland names Cormac Breathnach as new director of sales

Keeneland names Cormac Breathnach as new director of sales
Photo: Keeneland/Amy Lanigan

Keeneland today named prominent bloodstock consultant Cormac Breathnach, Ph.D., as its new director of sales operations.

Breathnach brings a distinctive set of skills and more than 20 years of horse industry experience to Keeneland, combining bloodstock and pedigree knowledge, practical sales expertise and a doctorate in veterinary science from the Gluck Equine Research Center at the University of Kentucky.

“We are excited to have Cormac join the Keeneland sales team as the Director of Sales Operations,” Keeneland Vice President of Sales Tony Lacy said. “I have long admired his professionalism, knowledge and integrity, which is second to none, and have had the pleasure of watching him develop in the industry and gain the respect of a broad range of professionals. His skill set, personality and strong work ethic will help evolve Keeneland sales for the future.

"In addition, his background in research and animal welfare is a valuable asset as we continue to strive to set higher standards for the industry.”

Breathnach succeeds Geoffrey Russell, who announced his retirement in April following 25 years with Keeneland. Russell will remain in a consulting role with Keeneland through 2021.

“Geoffrey very generously has been helping us through the transition process to make it as seamless as possible,” Lacy said. “I can never thank him enough for his commitment to Keeneland even in his first stages of retirement. I know Cormac will integrate into this role smoothly with Geoffrey’s guidance.”

Since 2017, Breathnach has served as Director of Stallion Nominations at Airdrie Stud, which stands such young stallions as Cairo Prince, Collected and Complexity. For nearly eight years prior to his position at Airdrie, he was Stallion Seasons and Matings Consultant at Adena Springs, where he represented Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winners and leading sires Ghostzapper and Awesome Again. Breathnach also founded Galway Bloodstock, a consultancy that has provided a range of services including auction representation, racehorse management and matings analysis.

A native of Galway, Ireland, Breathnach studied biotechnology at National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG). Following a summer research internship at Alltech in Lexington, he returned to Central Kentucky to earn a Ph.D. in Veterinary Science from the Gluck Equine Research Center in 2001. He completed two post-doctoral studies, first at the veterinary school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 2001-2003 before returning to the Gluck Center from 2004-2007. There he was the inaugural recipient of the Paul Mellon Postdoctoral Scholarship. 

“It is a great honor to be named Director of Sales Operations at Keeneland,” Breathnach said. “Keeneland is a world-renowned cornerstone of the Thoroughbred industry, and to participate in its progressive mission under (Keeneland President and CEO) Shannon Arvin, Tony Lacy and the talented team already in place is a privilege.

“I have spent the last 12 years working with breeders, consignors and buyers on behalf of two of the preeminent stud farms in the Bluegrass, and I am excited to carry those relationships through to this new role with Keeneland,” Breathnach said. “I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given along the way, particularly to Bret Jones and his family for four successful years at Airdrie Stud.”

“Cormac has been such a tremendous contributor to Airdrie Stud, and I know I speak for our entire team when I say how much we will miss him,” Airdrie Stud Vice President Bret Jones said. “Keeneland and our breeding and racing community at large are gaining an advocate of the absolute highest ability and character. He is one of the truly wonderful people in our industry. I am very happy for Cormac to ascend to this important position and will always be grateful for the great friendship we’ve developed these last four years.”

Breathnach is on the board of both the Gluck Foundation, where he is the first graduate of the Gluck Equine Research Center to serve in that capacity, and the Secretariat Center. He is a past board member of the Iroquois Hunt Club.

Breathnach and his wife, Catherine, along with their daughter, Anna (9), reside in Lexington. 

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