2021 September Sale Surge

2021 September Sale Surge

As Thoroughbred racing, breeding, and sales emerged from the worldwide pandemic, a broad swath of the international horse industry descended on Keeneland for the 2021 edition of the September Yearling Sale.

Although attendance by some buyers was still restricted due to the pandemic—an inconvenience offset by Keeneland’s user-friendly online bidding platform—a large, diverse group of domestic and international agents and principals aggressively pursued the more than 4,000 yearlings cataloged, resulting in records in three key categories.

Gross Receipts Soar

Beginning with stiff competition in Book 1, the momentum continued throughout the 11 days of the sale, resulting in aggregate receipts of $362,516,500, sixth-highest in sale history and third-highest in the last 14 years. There were 1,230 individual buyers from 22 countries.

This sale exceeded expectations in nearly every measure. The diversity of buyers and spread of equity among them are broad and deep.
Vice President of Sales Tony Lacy
The market is probably the strongest we’ve seen here in the last 15-20 years, just in the depth of the buying bench and quality of the prices.
Aidan O’Meara, Stonehaven Steadings

Other Positive Metrics

In addition to the impressive gross, the 2021 September Sale produced a record $65,000 median price and $133,045 average, also a record. One of the strongest signs of the auction’s health was the RNA rate of 19%, another record.

The clearance rate is outstanding. That’s rare in any market. There are a lot of happy sellers and happy breeders out there and that’s a great sign for the industry.
Director of Sales Operations Cormac Breathnach

Book 1 Sets the Tone

Featuring yearlings possessing stellar breeding with exceptional physical presence, buyers seeking individuals that would have high residual values upon completion of their racing careers drove a bullish Book 1 market that set the tone for the remainder of the sale. With 11 seven-figure yearlings, the two-day opener yielded gross receipts of $90.6 million.

I really like selling in Book 1. It’s been very good to us.
Archie St George, St George Sales
Book 1 is the best of the best when it comes to North American bloodstock. When the best pedigrees are paired with the best physicals, the untapped potential is limitless and that’s what makes Book 1 significant.
Jacob West, West Thoroughbreds

Partnerships Push Market

Pooling their financial resources, partnerships consisting of prominent stables vied against each other for the most-desired yearlings, with the outcome exceeding expectations of many consignors. The Repole Stable/St. Elias partnership, represented by Jacob West, was the 2021 September Sale leading buyer with 43 yearlings purchased for $16,045,000. Partnerships consisting of West Point Thoroughbreds, Woodford Racing and Talla Racing took home the three highest-priced horses.

Different money is pooling together in different groups and they are all bidding against each other. It’s a new sort of competition. Long may it continue and I hope they all have success.
Peter O’Callaghan, Woods Edge Farm

Sale Topper Highlights Week 1

The first week of the September sale kicked off the momentum that carried throughout with the four seven-figure yearlings that included a City of Light colt purchased by West Point Thoroughbreds, Woodford Racing, and Talla Racing from Rosilyn Polan’s Sunday Morning Farm.

I can’t even imagine how much money that is. He's such a special colt, but you always know that people like them for a price, and there are very few buyers that say I have to have him no matter what.
Rosilyn Pollan

‘It’s Been a Great Sale’

The quality of the yearlings presented to the deep buying bench continued until the end of the 2021 September Sale, as the market remained solid throughout. Records were set twice for the number of horses sold through the ring during a single session, 319 in session seven followed by 325 in session nine.

The sale has been extremely strong. This is what makes or breaks the year. You’re sure to be looked at by everyone when you come here, and that’s all you can ask for as a seller.
Jak Knelman, Farfellow Farms
I believe people have waited for this sale. It satisfies everybody, it seems—value players, people who want the very best.
Headley Bell, Mill Ridge Sales