Breeding Stock: Has Supply and Demand Stabilized?

By Nicole Sauer

With the sterling rebound of the yearling market, as exhibited by gains across the board in yearling sales statistics this year, one would naturally expect the breeding stock sales to rebound similarly. However, the broodmare and weanling markets have been considerably slower to regain their footing than has the yearling market.

As shown in our last blog post, the yearling market has been steadily gaining momentum since its drop in 2009. But averages for broodmares (including broodmare prospects) and weanlings at Keeneland November continued to decline through 2010 before improving in 2011, when there were two large dispersals of high-quality stock—Edward P. Evans and Palides Investments—that accounted for 35% of the total gross and increased the broodmare average by 26%.

Click for larger graph.

Even more compelling, from 2006-12 there was a -42% decline in broodmare average at Keeneland November, the exact difference in mares bred over the same time period. Weanlings experienced a similar reduction, as their average fell -34% from 2006-12, while the foal crop was down -38%.

Click for larger graph.

These figures seem to indicate that the supply and demand balance has steadied. In fact, in 2012 the ratio of mares bred to Keeneland November broodmare average equaled the ratio seen in 2006. In other words, as demand has slowly begun to increase while supply has continued to decrease (the number of mares bred in 2013 was 34,174, down -3.4% from 2012), there is no longer an apparent surplus of broodmares or weanlings. This scenario may cause a significant increase in value for the stock being offered at the 2013 Keeneland November sale.


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I have a differing view, i.e. that supply/demand economics plays almost no role in the thoroughbred marketplace. Also (and perhaps, separately), the fact that there was a similar, simultaneous decline in foal crop and broodmare sale avg. speaks to the relative lack of enthusiasm, etc. (due to financial "atmosphere", etc.) during those times.

05 Nov 2013 8:39 PM


I think supply and demand plays a role in every economic market, to a greater or lesser degree. With thoroughbreds, as it is a luxury market, demand is going to be largely dependent on the overall financial atmosphere, as you said. The enthusiasm with which buyers approach the market is the demand. How willing are buyers to pay top dollar for breeding stock? The less willing they are, the lower the demand for that stock.

06 Nov 2013 8:52 AM


I catch your point, but I was, and I thought we were, relating demand to the direct consequence of supply, i.e. the lower the supply, the greater the demand for what's available. It is here, and only here, where I believe this metric is not (to any great significance) at play in the thoroughbred marketplace.

06 Nov 2013 9:57 AM


I see your point and I agree. The thoroughbred market does not seem to follow the normal inverse relationship of supply and demand. The past three years have resembled the standard economic principle, as supply is still decreasing and demand increasing, but it is hard to definitively say if the increased demand more strongly reflects decreased supply or better overall market health.

06 Nov 2013 1:28 PM

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