If you ask me, the month of November in central Kentucky is an early Christmas. It starts out November 7 when Fasig-Tipton has its premier mixed sale. It's perhaps the one U.S. sale guaranteed to attract top breeders worldwide each year, and it appears to have a few additional bits to look forward to in 2010. The sales company has recruited top mares from the Antipodes and from South America--covered on southern hemisphere time--to go through the ring. Just as exciting, 38% of the mares offered will be group/graded winners (an amazing 9.8% are grade/group I winners!). A total of 180 hips will be offered, with an emphasis on young broodmare prospects (77 hips). The sale is rounded out with 55 broodmares and 48 weanlings. (Catalog is not yet released -- I'll post the link when it's live.)
Keeneland's breeding stock sale starts out a day later, November 8, and concludes on the 20th, with 4,695 horses offered in the 13 sessions. Of them, 2,729 are broodmares (or prospects), 1,756 are weanlings, 198 are racing prospects, and 11 are stallions. In addition to getting a first look at the offspring of several first-crop sires, we'll witness the first sale of a mare in foal to the incomparable Sea The Stars (IRE), and we'll have a rare opportunity to pick up Phipps Stable bloodlines--I'm thinking of some hot female families here--as that farm reduces its stock. Clovelly Farm and TNT Stud dispersals add to the quality stock on offer. (View the Keeneland November catalog.)
And of course we'll see myriad other mixed sales held regionally from late October through early December. (Take a look at the Thoroughbred sales calendar to see a complete list, including auctions in Louisiana, Florida, Arizona, Oklahoma, Ontario, and Maryland.)
Between now and the sales, I'd like to profile a couple of mares each week. We'll look at their positives, their negatives, and their anticipated sale price. Please contribute to the discussion by suggesting hips you believe are worth further consideration. Make a case for your pick: is she a hard-knocking mare that would be sure things for a breed-to-race operation? Is she a proven producer whose pedigree you think can be improved by mating to a particular stallion? Does she trace back to your favorite family, or is her catalog page riddled with the names of top runners near-up in her family? Is she placed too early or too late in the sale (and therefore might not bring as much as she's worth?).
I got early access to the Keeneland catalog and I spent some of the weekend combing through it. I've got a list right now of 28 mares I'm going to look at for myself or clients I consult for. I expect that list to grow. I also identified a dozen mares that I'd like to discuss here on The Five-Cross Files--they're not mares I'll be bidding on, but I would like to hear your feedback on them. Stay tuned!