9 Marks of Top-Priced Yearlings at the Keeneland Sale

Yesterday, I played around with the final data from the Keeneland September yearling sale that concluded Tuesday afternoon.  BloodHorse.com has a nice, succinct statistical review of the sale available free to all readers:  download the 2008 KEESEP Thoroughbred Sales Data Digest results edition.

If you look through the numbers, you'll discover some neat trends.  I decided to create the "perfect" yearling based on the results.  Here's what I came up with:Thoroughbred Sales Data Digest - Keeneland September yearling sale results 2008 free download

  1. Not surprisingly, the foal will be sold in Book 1, which leads all books by high price, highest low price, average, median, and mode.
  2. The foal is by A.P. Indy (SRO), who had both the top colt ($1.5 million) and the top filly ($3.1 million) at the sale.  Other choices would be Distorted Humor (SRO), Kingmambo (SRO), Storm Cat (SRO), or Unbridled's Song (SRO).  These five stallions were all in the Top 5 in both average and median.
  3. The yearling is out of a mare by Caerleon (pedigree) or Manila (pedigree).  These damsires were the only two represented in the Top 5 Broodmare Sires by both average and median. A.P. Indy, Dehere (SRO), and Storm Cat also ranked high in both average and median, while being represented by more hips sold.
  4. Forget the grey/roan foals, and skip past the bays -- you're looking for a dark bay or brown yearling (leader by average), and you're willing to accept chestnut (tied with dark bay/brown for leading median price).
  5. The yearling should be consigned by a small-volume sales agent -- one that consigns about 10 or 15 yearlings.  These consignors led the average sales figures -- in fact, 15 of the top 20 consignors by average (min. 3 sold) offered fewer than 20 hips.  (In reality, of course, the biggest consignors are less likely to compete for this statistic just because they consign horses at all levels, whereas some of the smaller/niche consignors offer only top-end stock.)
  6. The foal will have 11 older brothers and sisters.  This stat surprised me -- I would normally guess that buyers would look for foals out of younger mares.  At this year's sale, yearlings that were their dams' twelfth foal had the fourth-highest average and the co-highest median prices (excluding birth orders that produced 15 or fewer foals).
  7. Give that foal a name!  Named yearlings beat their unnamed counterparts by an amazing 47% average and 40% median price.
  8. The foal is a Virginia-bred. Among all states/provinces with at least 10 hips sold, Virginia led by both average and median prices.
  9. You're buying a colt.  Colts enjoy a long history of lower-percentage RNAs and higher prices than their filly counterparts at the Keeneland September sale.

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