In Utero Foals: November vs. January

By Nicole Sauer

Keeneland's November sale is the largest grossing breeding stock sale in North America, and the perception seems to be that it includes higher quality stock than Keeneland January. The 80% difference in average sale price of in-foal mares between the two sales can be accounted for by November's typically younger and/or more proven broodmares, especially those in Book 1. However, the resulting foals (only those sold in utero) from all mares show that the difference in average performance is not as great as the sale price might imply.

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MarketWatch examined the track performance of all foals sold in utero at Keeneland November and Keeneland January over a five-year span (includes only horses reported foaled in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Japan). While the disparity in average sale price for these foals is large, there is only a 13% gap in earnings per starter: Keeneland November foals averaged $67,790 per starter, while Keeneland January foals averaged $59,721.

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Keeneland November produced better percentages in nearly all performance categories, but seven of those were separated by less than 1%. That sale has proven more successful at getting high-quality runners, producing 6.1% stakes winners and graded stakes horses, 1.5% better than Keeneland January's figure of 4.6%. However, the sales produced nearly identical percentages of grade I winners, with 0.5% grade I winners at Keeneland November and 0.4% at Keeneland January. While November again has the better percentage, on average the dams of those grade I winners sold at November cost nearly 200% more than those sold in January, indicating that better value may be found in January.

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Keeneland's November sale has a slight edge when it comes to high-quality runners, but these sales are nearly equal in their capability of producing runners from in utero foals. Some of the most successful horses sold in-utero at each sale are listed below.

Horse Sale Year Sale Price
Panty Raid KEENOV 2003 $17,000
Flat Out KEENOV 2005 $5,000
Super Saver KEENOV 2006 $160,000
Mucho Macho Man KEENOV 2007 $33,000
Octave KEEJAN 2004 $230,000
Gio Ponti KEEJAN 2005 $250,000
Rail Trip KEEJAN 2005 $70,000
Plum Pretty KEEJAN 2008 $170,000


Leave a Comment:

Ian Tapp

Very interesting. This really illustrates the premium that the market places on commercial/proven stock.

16 Jan 2014 5:47 PM

Another thought provoking piece of work...If one assumes that the in-uteros of similarly priced mares in BOTH sales earned/performed similarly, then this should be compared with the earnings/performance vs price of KY sales yearlings (for example). Should the latter evidence a far greater correspondence (i.e. sales price more closely correspond with earnings), all this then may simply tell us that conformation (and ability to pass the "vet") far outweighs pedigree (which is essentially all you "see" with in-uteros). But, even should this turn out to be the case, it shouldn't be generalized to all horses, everywhere, as there may be a "need" still for some base line of quality pedigree (generally on offer at KY sales).  

17 Jan 2014 11:13 AM

What was the actual sample size?

19 Jan 2014 1:51 PM


8,887 foals sold in utero were included in this study. The study covered a span of five years for each sale, foals sold in utero from 2003-07 for Keeneland November and 2004-08 for Keeneland January. Only foals reportedly born in the U.S., Canada, Europe, or Japan were included.

20 Jan 2014 8:02 AM

Where dose Etched fit in?

20 Jan 2014 10:20 AM


Etched was sold in utero when Unbridled Elaine brought $4.4 million in foal to Forestry at the Keeneland November sale in 2004.

20 Jan 2014 10:49 AM

Mucho Macho Man sold for 33k? I thought he sold for more...

03 Apr 2014 6:55 PM


Ponche de Leona was sold with Mucho Macho Man in utero in 2007 at Keeneland November for $33,000. She has been through the ring four times since, though, selling for $5,000 in 2009 (in foal to Gottcha Gold), $300,000 in 2011 (in foal to Chestertown Slew), and $775,000 in January 2014 (in foal to Distorted Humor). She did not meet her reserve in 2012 when she was offered in foal to Tapit at the Fasig-Tipton November sale.

04 Apr 2014 8:19 AM

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