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September Yearling Sale Begins at Keeneland

Another opportunity to gauge the strength of Kentucky’s Equine industry takes place over the next two weeks at Keeneland.   The Keeneland Yearling Sale is regarded by many leaders in the thoroughbred industry as a ‘barometer’ on their business  Keeneland spokeswoman Julie Balog says one year olds from Kentucky, Indiana, New York, and Pennyslvania are auctioned off this week and next.“Not only from a racing standpoint is it important to see if we are emerging from the economic downturn that we had been experiencing the last few years, but also because the central Kentucky breeders are such as important part of the economy and of the industry,” Balog said.Balog says there’s been some ‘tweaking’ of the sale’s format.   For example, Balog says there are fewer low-quality horses.“They probably weren’t quite strong enough to be a sire.  Probably not quite strong enough to be a broodmare so therefore it was economically feasible to continue breeding those particular horses," she said. " So where we’ve lost the foal crop really tends to be more at the bottom end of the market.  Not so much at the top end of the market and certainly not the middle, the middle is very, very strong."Balog says there are 3,600 yearlings cataloged for the September sale.  She says this year’s crop is down some from previous years.  And, she says, a smaller portion of that crop will sell at bargain prices.  Additionally, Balog says there are fewer elite horses. She says the economic benefit of the September sale is felt among local breeders, and in nearby motels, restaurants, and rental car agencies.