Keeneland September Yearling Sale Begins

Keeneland September Yearling Sale Begins

Today kicks off the Keeneland September Yearling Sale – one of the most prestigious sales events in the Thoroughbred industry! Over 4,000 Thoroughbred yearlings are cataloged for the sale, which runs from Sept. 12 – 24. 

The Keeneland September Yearling Sale is an annual event that brings some of the biggest names in Thoroughbred breeding and racing from all around the world to Central Kentucky. Sales are the culmination of many years of work, from choosing a sire and dam, to breeding, raising and preparing the horse from the foaling barn to the sales ring. 

The sale is broken down into six ‘books’, or catalogs, which are separated by sale date and perceived value. Book 1 horses are typically those that are seen as premium sales prospects, and each subsequent book includes horses more suited for lower budgets. 

A number of factors go into appraising horses, including their pedigree, conformation, athletic ability and more, and the Keeneland sales team travels to farms to see these horses in the months leading up to the auction to assess their possible value. Each horse is then assigned a hip number which corresponds to the approximate date of their sale as well. 

Employees have worked to prepare these horses for the big stage by grooming, exercising and handling them daily for the past few months to ensure their manners and physique are at their best. Horses will arrive at Keeneland a few days prior to their scheduled day in the sales ring to be shown to potential buyers. Buyers will then analyze a horse’s pedigree and physical appearance before bidding. 

When it comes time for a yearling to head to the auction ring, the yearling, their handler, and an additional groom (or more than one!) will head to the ‘back ring’. The back ring gives buyers one last chance to view a horse as they are showcased prior to heading to the auction ring. Horses will be in the ring for just a few minutes at maximum, as they are bid on and hopefully sold. Once a horse is sold, it will head to its new home and prepare for the process of learning to be a racehorse!

A bit overwhelmed with all of the sales terminology? Check out Keeneland’s September Yearling Sale Dictionary, or even better – take a Behind the Sales tour at Keeneland to see the action firsthand! 

The sale can be watched live here, starting at 1 p.m. ET on 9/12. The catalog can be viewed online here

A number of Horse Country members are involved in the sale as consignors, breeders, stallion owners and even sales host! We’re wishing the best to all participants, especially our members and the host of the sale, Keeneland.