For those of you who thought the sale of Mine That Bird to Conan O'Brien was the big news in thoroughbred racing, it was just a skit. The "real" Mine That Bird, winner of last year's Kentucky Derby and pictured above, has been on vacation in New Mexico since the Breeder's Cup Classic. In fact his trainer Chip Woolley reports that he does not intend to return the winning horse to racing until later in the season and possibly only running four races in preparation for the Breeder's Cup Classic to be held a Churchill Downs. Just as a note, there is discussion that no one would pay $4.8 million for him as he is gelding and can not be used for breeding which compromises his value compared to other Derby winners.
There were however the first legitimate thoroughbred sales of 2010 taking place recently at Keeneland in Kentucky. The January Horses of All Ages Sale was held at the facility from January 11-15th. For those who have never seen a thoroughbred auction in progress, below there is a short video clip to give you a feel of how it all works at Keeneland.
Like all luxury markets horse sales have been adversely effected by the economy and those in the thoroughbred sales business have been concerned about how their business will change. The sale took in $23,895,100 in five days which is down over 27% from last year's six day sale. There were fewer horses sold and in general everybody noticed the market's effect of the sales. That being said, there were some bright spots, most notably Bon Jovi Girl a multiple stakes winner went for $950,000. The highest price paid for a yearling was brought in by Medaglia d'Oro a colt going for $280,000.