KEENELAND concluded its premier November Breeding Stock Sale with results that reflected positive market trends.

A strong catalogue had 13 lots sell for seven figures, led by champion Midnight Bisou for $5.5 million and a fractional interest in Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Flightline for $4.6 million, as well as the highest-priced weanling for the ninth time in the past 10 years sold in the USA.

Trade during the 10-day auction fuelled gross receipts of $210,027,700, an increase of 3% from last year’s $203,585,500. This year, 2,245 horses sold through the ring compared to 2,470 in 2021. The average price of $93,554 was up 14% over last year’s $82,423, while the median of $35,000 was just below last year’s record $37,000.

Twelve horses plus the Flightline interest brought seven-figure bids compared to seven in 2021. Seven of those eclipsed the $2 million mark against two last year.

“We’ve really made an effort to build up the front end of the sale to make sure we have quality forward and that buyers have the horses they expect to see in the positions they are here for,” Keeneland vice president of sales, Tony Lacy, said. “Everyone has responded favourably to that move. Without making major changes at any point, we want to make sure the tweaks we do make work. Overall, I think we’re on the right track.”

“It was an amazing market this year,” said James Keogh of Grovendale Sales, which was among the top 10 consignors, selling 56 horses for $6,330,000, including the broodmares Ragged Rose for $750,000 and Querelle for $700,000. He added: “Kudos to the staff at Keeneland. They do a tremendous job; they are the standard- bearers for the horse industry. You look at the number of people from all over the world that are here. It’s an incredibly deep market.”

Solid mix

Buyers represented a solid mix of domestic and foreign interests, with participants from 29 countries. Ten distinct buyers accounted for the 15 highest-priced horses. Japanese buyers continue to have a major presence at the top of the market. Midnight Bisou sold to Katsumi Yoshida for $5.5 million to become the highest-priced horse at the November Sale since 2017.

Yoshida was the sale’s leading buyer with three purchases for $9.7 million. He also acquired two fillies off the track when he spent $2.7 million for multiple French Group 1 winner Dreamloper, and $1.5 million for Grade 2 winner Jouster.

The November Sale received an extra boost when a 2.5% interest in Flightline sold for $4.6 million to Brookdale Farm’s Freddy Seitz, on behalf of an undisclosed client, in a special auction immediately prior to the Book 1 session. “We’re trying to push boundaries all the time, and this was a situation where the stars aligned,” Lacy said. Jane Lyon’s Summer Wind Equine, breeder and co-owner of Flightline, was the third-leading buyer when she paid $4,625,000 for four fillies and mares possibly to send to the stallion.

Nest’s dam

M.V. Magnier went to $2.6 million to acquire Marion Ravenwood, dam of 2022 multiple Grade 1 winner Nest, in foal to Curlin, and paid $1.5 million for the top-priced weanling, a daughter of Medaglia D’Oro out of Serena’s Cat, by Storm Cat. The filly is the most expensive weanling at the November Sale since 2015.

“In Book 1, we grossed 45% more for weanlings than we did last year,” Cormac Breathnach said. The leading sire of weanlings was multiple Grade 1 winner McKinzie, who was represented by 23 members of his first crop that sold for $3,162,000. “The overall market was strong; when you came across the right one, it brought plenty of money,” said Archie St George of St George Sales.

Peter O’Callaghan of Woods Edge Farm agreed. “It is very strong and competitive at all ends. Books 4 and 5 were very strong. The weanlings have sold extremely well.”

Lane’s End led consignors with sales of $23,460,400 for 129 lots. “We at Keeneland give a special thanks to our consignors and buyers for their support throughout the year, and we send our best wishes for a successful breeding season,” Tony Lacy concluded.