For Trainers, September Sale is All About the Potential

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It is no surprise that when shopping at auction for athletic young horses, trainers and their clients seek prospects to one day put them in the winner’s circle. Year after year, the Keeneland September Yearling Sale affords trainers the best opportunity to find potential in every book.

“Great Price for His Pedigree”

When shopping the 2018 September Sale, Blacker and his clients landed on a More Than Ready colt that appeared to be a horse ideal for grass racing, rather than the fashionable future stallion prospect that Book 1 buyers often battle over in the sales ring. Consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency on behalf of Fred W. Hertrich III, the colt named Hit the Road was bought privately for $160,000 as an RNA to sale at Keeneland. The purchase proved most fortuitous when Hit the Road won the Frank E. Kilroe Mile (G1).

Grade 1 winner HIT THE ROAD
hit the road

We have had a lot of success from that sale. Hit the Road being the best one. It’s a lot of work because there are a lot of horses, but if you do the homework and the legwork, it’s a good opportunity for the buyer.
Dan Blacker, Trainer

“This Sale is Everything”

Mark Casse, a member of the Racing Hall of Fame, is a September Sale regular whose best purchase was John C. Oxley’s three-time Grade 1 winner Classic Empire, a $475,000 acquisition from Warrendale Sales, agent for breeders Steven Nicholson and Brandi Nicholson. The Pioneerof the Nile colt earned an Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old male and retired with more than $2.5 million in earnings.

Three-time Grade 1 winner CLASSIC EMPIRE
classic empire

I tell everybody this is our draft. This is the NFL, the major league. What happens at this sale will determine your future for the next few years and beyond. The more success you get out of it the more you can buy.
Mark Casse, Trainer

Amoss Focuses on September

For Tom Amoss, the large number of horses to scrutinize in September means buyers have the opportunity to find exactly what they want. This situation paid off for the conditioner and owner Joel Politi when they purchased Seregenti Empress, an Alternation filly, for $70,000 from Brookdale Sales. She went on to win two Grade 1 stakes, including the Kentucky Oaks (G1). The filly bred by Tri Eques Bloodstock closed her career with a second-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) at Keeneland.

Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner SERENGETI EMPRESS
serengeti empress

It is centerpiece of what I’m doing with my training operation, not only at the sale but for the following year when those horses come to the track. Now it is the major emphasis of what we do at the Tom Amoss Racing Stable. September is the major sale the stable concentrates on.
Tom Amoss, Trainer

McPeek Finds Grade 1 Winners

Trainer Kenny McPeek has a lengthy list of September Sale successes, many purchased for modest amounts. They include two-time Horse of the Year Curlin (a $57,000 purchase), champion and classic winner Swiss Skydiver ($35,000), as well as Grade 1 winners Pure Fun ($22,000), Dream Empress ($60,000) and Tejano Run. A $20,000 purchase from Runnymede Farm, Tejano Run won Keeneland’s Breeders’ Futurity (G2) as a 2-year-old and the following year finished second in the Kentucky Derby (G1).

Preakness (G1) and multiple Grade 1 winner SWISS SKYDIVER
swiss skydiver

Curlin is the best horse I ever bought there. Swiss Skydiver. Pure Fun, Restless Rider. Frac Daddy. All these Grade 1 winners came out of Keeneland September. My first Kentucky Derby horse came out of Book 7. Tejano Run. That horse put me on the map.
Kenny McPeek, Trainer

Sale Timing Suits Baltas

Trainer Richard Baltas said the timing of the September Sale is well suited to the needs of his clients because the offerings are so mature by the fall. Among the September grads in Baltas’ barn is Idol, winner of this year’s Santa Anita H. (G1) for his longtime client Calvin Nguyen. The Curlin colt was consigned by Denali Stud, agent for breeder My Meadowview Farm, to the 2018 September Sale, where he was purchased by John S. Holmes for $375,000.

Grade 1 winner IDOL
Idol

They say it’s a yearling sale, but actually they are closer to a year-and-a-half old. They don’t go through what they go through at a 2-year-old sale. You can get them and put them in your own program. They have whatever you want—dirt, turf, short, long. I have had a lot of luck buying horses there. I buy a lot and my clients buy a lot.
Richard Baltas, Trainer