LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – Over $219 million was wagered at Keeneland Race Course over its 15-day Spring Meet. $7.7 million was awarded in purse money for 19 stakes races.
These are new Keeneland records, showing that money is flowing through Lexington’s iconic horse racing track as much as it ever has.
“It’s been really, really good, there’s a lot of energy the purses are strong especially in Kentucky so it validates having a horse in training,” Keeneland Vice President of Sales Tony Lacy said.
Before the races can be run, the horses out there have to find their owners. That’s the other half of Keeneland’s operation: the horse sales.
“How I would describe it to some people, it’s the Wall Street of the equine industry,” Lacy said. “It’s the largest horse sale company of the world, it’s one of the best racetracks in the world, having them on the same campus.”
The April Horses of Racing Age Sale is the final bow on the final day of the Spring Meet. With 58 horses sold totaling $5,300,000, an average of $92,000 per purchase. The top prize was Acting Out, a five-year-old filly sold for $600,000.
Finn Green owns deWaal Thoroughbreds, LLC, a horse consulting and management company based in Lexington, and attended the horse sale at the iconic Keeneland Sales Pavilion.
“The North American thoroughbred to me has been the greatest animal in the 20th, 19th, and 18th century,” Green said. “I’m a 4th generation horseman, it’s the greatest game in the world.”
He purchased Primacy, a five-year-old filly for $250,000. He was the purchasing agent for his client, Kingsport Farm, and said his client’s main intention for Primacy is to breed her with a stallion.
“We didn’t want to race her, we wanted to breed the filly, we love what we got and while it’s a lot of money we stretched a little more because she’s one of the finer offerings at the sale,” Greene said.
This April sale brings a different pace from the September and November Yearlings, when young horses are sold to start their racing careers. These colts and fillies have more experience under their saddles.
“The September sale would be the draft and this is the transfer portal,” Lacy said. “It’s where horses are changing hands while they’re already active, those horses have what we call conditions that they can go and run in races before they have to start running in stakes races so they’re progressing up the ladder professionally and so for owners that want to enter the game or enhance their portfolio, enhance their stable, they’re able to come in here inspect the horses and look at each horse as a known quantity.”
The magic of this sport is exemplified on this day at Keeneland through the sales made in the pavilion and the horse races conducted just hours earlier. No matter the amount, you never know when you’ll find a horse that ends up being a champion. These sales are held to eventually get more horses out on the track competing for fans and keeping the sport thriving.
“It translates into the results we’re seeing here,” Lacy said. “I don’t see it changing anytime soon, the sport is really healthy the sales are healthy racing is healthy and we’ve got to learn from what we’re doing here.”
After another successful spring meet and spring sale are officially in the books, the Keeneland organizers are ready to kick back and enjoy the festivities at Churchill Downs for the sport’s most iconic weekend with the Kentucky Derby.
“Yeah we just move 70 miles down the road and enjoy watching somebody else have the pressure for a change,” Lacy said.