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Keeneland Sales

Keeneland Sales

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The Keeneland Sales is an American Thoroughbred
Thoroughbred
The Thoroughbred is a horse breed best known for its use in horse racing. Although the word thoroughbred is sometimes used to refer to any breed of purebred horse, it technically refers only to the Thoroughbred breed...

 auction house
Auction
An auction is a process of buying and selling goods or services by offering them up for bid, taking bids, and then selling the item to the highest bidder...

  in Lexington, Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky
Lexington is the second-largest city in Kentucky and the 63rd largest in the US. Known as the "Thoroughbred City" and the "Horse Capital of the World", it is located in the heart of Kentucky's Bluegrass region...

 founded in 1935 as a nonprofit racing/auction entity on 147 acres (0.59 km2) of farmland west of Lexington, which had been owned by Jack O. Keene. A division of Keeneland Association, Inc.
Keeneland
Keeneland is a Thoroughbred horse racing facility and sales complex in Lexington, Kentucky, USA. Operated by the Keeneland Association, Inc., it is also known for its reference library on the sport, which contains more than 10,000 volumes, an extensive videocassette collection, and a substantial...

, it holds four (previously five) annual horse auctions that attract buyers worldwide:
  • January - Horses of All Ages
This sale, as its name implies, features horses of all ages. Breeding "seasons"—the rights to breed one mare to a specified stallion in a given year—are also sold at this auction.
  • April - Two-Year-Olds in Training
This sale was added in 1993 in response to demand by owners wishing to buy horses in training.
  • September - Yearling
This sale, the world's largest sale of yearlings, has been conducted at various times in the fall since 1944, and was permanently moved to September in 1960. Keeneland accepts all horses nominated to sale, making it the largest market for Thoroughbred yearlings in the world. Format changes instituted in 2010 will introduce a three tier format for the sale that will differentiate animals by pedigree and conformation. "Select" sessions conducted at the beginning of the sale will be formalized, recognizing a practice present for some time. Following the Select sessions an extended 'Book 2' (offering a choicer grade of prospects) period of selling will precede the open yearling sessions that make up the latter half of the sale. In recent years, the September sale has produced a Kentucky Derby winner, an Epsom Derby
Epsom Derby
The Derby Stakes, popularly known as The Derby, internationally as the Epsom Derby, and under its present sponsor as the Investec Derby, is a Group 1 flat horse race in Great Britain open to three-year-old thoroughbred colts and fillies...

 winner, and an American Horse of the Year.
  • November - Breeding Stock
This sale features all horses capable of breeding, except for yearlings. Stallion "shares"—ownership interests in specific stallions—and seasons are also sold at this auction. Over the years, this has become the world's largest sale of thoroughbreds.


From 1943 to 2002, Keeneland conducted the July Selected Yearling sale. It was considered the most prestigious thoroughbred sales in the world. Numerous champions, including 11 Kentucky Derby winners, were sold here. The yearlings sold were selected by pedigree, and had to pass a physical conformation test before being allowed into the sales ring. The July sale has been canceled annually since 2003, and may be considered to be on "hiatus". When announcing changes to the format of the September Sale in March 2010, Keeneland president and CEO Nick Nicholson said consigner preference made a return of the July sale unlikely.http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/55722/keeneland-adopts-new-format-for-fall-sale