Lights Out Trade at 2021 Keeneland November

Lights Out Trade at 2021 Keeneland November

As the worldwide equine industry returned to near normalcy following the pandemic disruptions in late 2021, fervent demand from an international buyer base for quality broodmares, broodmare prospects, top-shelf weanlings and racehorses pushed the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale to exceptional heights.

It has been refreshing to see some people who’ve not been here–not just for several years but sometimes a decade or more. Keeneland is a global marketplace and one of the key sources of equine stock in the world.
Tony Lacy, Keeneland Vice President of Sales

2021 November Sale: At a Glance

Gross Sales $208.2 million

Clearance Rate 82%

Record Median $37,000 | Up 60%

Average $82,423 | Up 19%

Highest Gross Since 2016

Topped by the $3.1 million racing or broodmare prospect Paris Lights, the 2021 November Sale grossed more than $208.2  million for the 2,470 horses sold, representing a 34.81 percent increase from the Covid-impacted sale the previous year and was highest since 2016.

Paris Lights 1

There is exceptional depth and strength to the market. Quality is selling at a premium, and demand is across the board without being overheated. This sale is not an anomaly; sales are strong around the world.
Tony Lacy

Record Median, High Clearance Rate


While demand for seven-figure mares and broodmare prospects underscored the strength at the top during the 2021 November Sale, the all-time sale record median and an RNA rate of 18 percent reflected the depth of the market from the high-powered Book 1 to the sale finale. 

The median is a good guide of the health of the market generally and the middle market in particular. A higher median and a lower RNA rate show that there is depth of the buying bench, energy through the sale into later books as well.
Cormac Breathnach, Keeneland Director of Sales Operations

Sale Topper a Late Entry

Keeneland has intensified its efforts to attract supplemental entries to the November Sale, particularly successful race fillies or mares marketed as racing or broodmare prospects. One such late entry was Grade 1 winner Paris Lights, acquired by Spendthrift Farm for the sale-topping $3.1 million price tag from the ELiTE consignment, agent for the WinStar Stablemates Racing partnership.

Paris Lights
The market is very strong. It was pretty good across the board and very competitive …We were hoping to get her for less. She comes from as good a family as we have in the stud book. We are (always) trying to add select mares to our broodmare band.
Ned Toffey

She exceeded what we thought we’d get for her... She was really quality. We felt we had a chance to be one of the best mares in Book 1 with her, and we’re just really thrilled with that.
Brian Graves, Gainesway

Japanese Breeder Picks Up Pricey Tapit Mare

Another high price in 2021 was the $2.3 million paid by Masahiro Miki of Japan for the Grade 3-winning Tapit mare Pink Sands, carrying a foal by leading sire Into Mischief. The mare produced from Grade 1 winner Her Smile was consigned by Gainesway, agent.

Pink Sands
Frankel weanling

Stiff Competition for Weanlings

Fueled by intense interest from end-users seeking to acquire young bloodstock to put into their racing programs early and pinhookers in search of individuals that can be resold at a profit, there was brisk trade for weanlings at the 2021 Keeneland November Sale. Topping the sector at $800,000 was a Frankel filly purchased by Phil Schoenthal, agent for Matt Dorman’s D. Hatman Throughbreds. The top-priced weanling sold in North America in 2021, the filly was consigned by Four Star Sales.

Horses of Racing Age Popular

Horses of racing age have always been among the most popular offerings of the November Sale, and in 2021 those horses were presented in their own concentrated segment of the sale which carried momentum to the very end. Strava, an Into Mischief colt who entered the sale ring fresh off a successful career debut at Keeneland, was purchased by former University of Louisville basketball coach Denny Crum for $825,000.

I’ve decided at my age there is no reason to save any money,” Crum said. “So I wanted a good horse, and I think we got one.
Denny Crum