The adage that numbers tell the story aptly applies to the Keeneland September Yearling Sale. With 4,037 foals of 2020 cataloged – 2,134 colts and 1,903 fillies – the auction again leads the way as the world’s largest sale of Thoroughbred yearlings.
The quantity on offer and the number of quality horses brought to market by leading breeders are what attracts buyers from all over the world to the September Sale.
215 Stakes Wins in 2021
The quality of yearlings sold at the September Sale has been on display at racetracks throughout the world this year, with 215 stakes won by sale alumni, including 102 graded stakes through Aug. 18. Among the most recent of the 25 Grade/Group 1 winners of 2021 is $1 million Whitney victor Knicks Go, Mr. D. (formerly Arlington Million) winner Two Emmys, Fourstardave winner Got Stormy and Clement L. Hirsch winner Shedaresthedevil.
1,007 Yearlings By Top 20 Active Sires
Spendthrift Farm’s leading sire Into Mischief, whose progeny broke a single-season earnings record in 2020, is represented by 91 yearlings in the September Sale, second only to the 92 entered that are by Ashford Stud’s Uncle Mo, who ranks 13th on the leading sire list. The number of yearlings cataloged by the respective 2-5 leading sires are Ghostzapper (46), Speightstown (49), Tapit (41) and Curlin (56).
90 Yearlings Entered From Justify’s First Crop
Justify made racing history by becoming only the second undefeated winner of the Triple Crown, and his ability to pass along some of that brilliance to his offspring was affirmed when the Ashford stallion was leading sire of weanlings sold at public auction in 2020. Colts and fillies from that first North American crop of the son of Scat Daddy averaged $381,250 at public auction last year, and 90 yearlings from that crop are cataloged in the September Sale.
273 Yearlings from Leading Freshman Sires
Nine of this year’s 10 leading freshman sires in North America by earnings are represented by 273 yearlings entered in the September Sale. Not surprisingly, Three Chimneys Farm’s Gun Runner and Ashford’s Practical Joke, who rank first and second, respectively, on the freshman sire list, each have 62 yearlings cataloged. Gun Runner’s first crop has (pardon the expression) come out firing, with the six-time Grade 1 winner and Horse of the Year represented by two Grade 2 stakes winners over the Aug. 6-8 weekend at the prestigious Saratoga and Del Mar race meets.
54 Yearlings Produced by Grade 1 Winners
This year’s September Sale is steeped in quality, with 54 Grade 1-winning fillies or mares producing yearlings in the catalog. Among the most accomplished distaffers with colts or fillies on offer are champions Dayatthespa (a two-time Grade 1 winner at Keeneland), Take Charge Brandi, Unique Bella and Dacita (in her native Chile), millionaire Kentucky Oaks (G1) winners Believe You Can and Cathryn Sophia, and Juddmonte Spinster (G1) winners Hard Not to Like and I’m a Chatterbox.
114 Half- or Full Siblings to Grade 1 Winners
The September Sale catalog is further enhanced by 114 yearlings that are full or half-siblings to Grade 1 winners. Among the well-related individuals entered in the sale are full or half-siblings to 17 champions – two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome, Big Brown, Drefong, Gamine, Hansen, I’ll Have Another, Maximum Security, Lady Eli, Midnight Bisou, Proud Spell, Runhappy, Rushing Fall, Shanghai Bobby and Trinniberg – as well as Belmont (G1) winner Creator.