Early September brings a lull in Thoroughbred racing action – summer racing ends, fall meets are just getting started, and the final round of Breeders’ Cup preps is still around the corner. The void is filled by the Keeneland September yearling sale, where the Thoroughbred industry spends two weeks looking for racing’s future stars.
In addition to a world-class racetrack, Keeneland is also a Thoroughbred auction house that attracts buyers from around the globe to its three annual sales. The September sale features yearlings, or 1-year-old Thoroughbreds, and buyers hope to discover the next generation of Grade 1 winners as millions of dollars and thousands of horses change hands over a span of a few days.
Read on for a closer look at the Keeneland September sale by the numbers.
5 - In 2016, September yearlings were purchased by buyers from five continents: North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
6 - The number of 2016 Eclipse Award champions that passed through the auction ring at the Keeneland September sale. Since 1990, Keeneland September sale grads have earned 68 Eclipse Awards in all.
8 - Last year, eight of the 13 Breeders’ Cup races were won by a September sale grad.
9 - The number of yearlings sold at the 2016 sale that brought at least $1 million.
12 days - The length of this year’s sale. It begins on Sept. 11 and runs through Sept. 23, with a break in selling on Sept. 14.
33 - The number of Grade or Group 1 wins by Keeneland September grads to date this year.
60 - The number of Triple Crown race wins by horses sold at a Keeneland yearling sale, including this year’s Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming and Preakness winner Cloud Computing.
74 - This year is the 74th annual Keeneland yearling sale. The first yearling was sold at Keeneland in 1944.
77 - Total number of yearlings cataloged by either Tapit (44) or War Front (33), two of the sale’s leading sires in recent years.
93 - The number of yearlings that fetched $500,000 or more in 2016.
143 - Graded stakes wins by September sale alumni to date in 2017. A total of 108 different horses have won graded stakes.
1997 - The last year a consignor other than Lane’s End or Taylor Made Sales Agency led September sale consignors. Eaton Sales ranked first that year with total receipts of $15,223,500.
2006 - Four of the top nine highest-priced colts and three of the eight most expensive fillies ever sold at Keeneland September occurred at the 2006 sale, prior to the economic downturn.
4,139 - The total number of yearlings consigned to this year’s sale.
$97,740 - Average price of a yearling at the 2016 sale.
$160,302.80 - Cost of a yearling consigned to the 2016 sale by Gainesway, on average.
$639,839 - Average cost of a yearling by Tapit at the 2016 sale, higher than any other sire with more than three offspring sold. Tapit has the leading average two of the last three years.
$3,000,000 - The price M.V. Magnier of Coolmore paid for Mendelssohn, the most expensive yearling sold at the 2016 sale. He broke his maiden in his second start last month in Ireland.
$10,750,000 - Total dollars spent by Shadwell Estate Co., the Thoroughbred operation of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum, at the 2016 sale to obtain 15 yearlings.
$11,700,000 - Record price at the September sale, when Meydan City sold in 2006.
$32,899,300 - Total cost of the 282 horses sold by Taylor Made Sales Agency at the 2016 sale, leading all consignors.
$272,890,500 - Total cost of the 2,792 yearlings sold at the 2016 sale.