The Consignors' Take on September Sale

The Consignors’ Take on September Sale

Keeneland September attracts a diverse group of consignors who sell their yearlings annually, ranging from large breeding farms with sales divisions to mom-and-pop operations with a handful of employees.

They share a common interest in the value of the September Sale to their breeding and sales programs, as well as how they prepare for the annual auction.

See how some of the September consignors approach The World’s Yearling Sale each year.

Brian Graves
Brian Graves
Gainesway

Gainesway Leads the Way

Gainesway, Antony Beck’s iconic nursery whose stallion roster includes perennial leading sire Tapit, was second leading consignor during the 2021 September Sale with 131 yearlings sold for $30,120,000. Brian Graves speaks on the team's approach to the September Sale: 

What is the significance of the September Sale to Gainesway?

The September Sale is the largest-grossing yearling sale of the year with a deep international buying bench and it is hugely significant to our program. The timing of the sale is great for the yearlings and allows them plenty of time to develop.

When do you begin planning for the September Sale?

We never really quit planning for the September Sale. It’s an evolving process that we continue to refine.

How do you decide which book in which to enter each horse?

It’s not that difficult to select a book for the September Sale; it is just a matter of looking and relooking many times over the course of the yearling’s development. Continuing to track the progress of the yearlings is a very important part of selecting the right book.

What have been some of your recent September Sale successes?

Last year we were very fortunate to sell three yearlings for more than $1 million in Book 1, which helped us become the leading consignor by gross and average in Book 1 for the first time.

The September Sale is the largest-grossing yearling sale of the year with a deep international buying bench and it is hugely significant to our program. The timing of the sale is great for the yearlings and allows them plenty of time to develop.
Brian Graves
Rosilyn Polan
Rosilyn Polan
Rosilyn Polan

Big Results for Small Farm

Rosilyn Polan’s Sunday Morning Farm doesn’t have nearly the numbers when it comes to acreage, horses or employees as most September Sale consignors, but she showed during the 2021 sale that a sale-topper can come from anywhere when a colt from the first crop of City of Light was sold for $1.7 million. Sunday Morning Farm consists of about 130 acres, with a horse population of 14 mares and their annual offspring, taken care of by Polan and two employees.

What was your reaction to having the September Sale topper?

Emotionally, having the sale topper has been wonderful. I’m so proud of my horses and love the fact other people really, really loved one of them. And I have always had a lot of confidence in this colt. He was the first foal born on my farm last year and from that minute, I knew he was special.

How did you decide on the Lane’s End stallion City of Light for your Tapit mare Anchorage that led to the top-priced yearling?

I go for looks. When a stallion walks out he has to take my breath away. I went to Lane’s End when they were going to have stallions shown, but City of Light wasn’t there because he was going to race in the Pegasus (World Cup Invitation-G1, which he won). A man next to me had taken a photo of him at the racetrack and when I saw that I said, ’Yeah, I can take that’… he was a must-have.

How do you decide in which book to enter each horse? The City of Light colt was sold in Book 2.

I have to decide not so much where I think they belong but where I think the buying public will think they belong. I don’t want to overvalue my horses so I don’t want to put them in (a book) where it is too stout.

When do you begin planning for the September Sale?

I’m always thinking about the sale. With the horses, it’s from the time they are born. I spend a lot of time with my foals so I have a lot of thinking time.

I’m always thinking about the sale. With the horses, it’s from the time they are born. I spend a lot of time with my foals so I have a lot of thinking time.
Rosilyn Polan
Archie St George
Archie St George, St George Sales
St George Sales

Success for St George Team

Founded in 2016, Archie and Michelle St George’s St George Sales is a full-service entity whose consignments are consistently among the leaders at the September Sale, with 40 yearlings sold for gross receipts of $5,835,000 in 2021. Archie St George reflects on his September Sale process:

When do you begin planning for the September Sale?

It’s a yearlong process, from training them to early sales prep in mid-June. It’s a process that starts early and builds up as the year goes on.

How do you decide in which book to enter each horse?

The goal is to have horses that are good enough physically and with pedigree to sell in Book 1. Books 2 and 3 are very good books. Book placement is key.

What have been some of your recent September Sale successes?

Last year, we grossed close to $6 million. It was a very good sale across the board, from Book 1 through Book 5. We sold an Uncle Mo colt in Book 1 for $435,000 and two others for $400,000 each. In Book 2, we sold a Practical Joke colt for $750,000. It was a hot market to sell in.

The goal is to have horses that are good enough physically and with pedigree to sell in Book 1. Books 2 and 3 are very good books. Book placement is key.
Archie St George
Fergus Galvin & Adrian Regan
Adrian Regan
Hunter Valley Farm

September Success for Hunter Valley

Established by Irish natives Fergus Galvin, Tony Hegarty, Adrian Regan and John Wade, Hunter Valley Farm has established itself a stalwart at the September Sale, with 81 yearlings sold for a total $8,072,000 in 2021. Adrian Regan tells us the team's approach to the September Sale:

What is the significance of the September Sale to Hunter Valley?

The majority of our yearlings go to the September Sale each year. The international buyers that come annually is a very big draw to us in our thinking for the year.

When do you begin planning for the September Sale?

After the Belmont (in early June) we start prepping the horses and arranging our staff.

How do you decide in which book to enter each horse?

We try not to over place a horse. We try to place our horses in the top 25% to 30% of the particular book. We try to gauge our yearlings conservatively, price wise.

What have been some of your recent September Sale successes?

Book 1 was particularly good to us last year. We had a Justify colt that sold for $775,000 and a Curlin colt for $750,000.

The majority of our yearlings go to the September Sale each year. The international buyers that come annually is a very big draw to us in our thinking for the year.
Adrian Regan