New York-Bred Weanling Market at Keeneland November Rounding Back into Strong Form

Tracking the fortunes of New York-bred weanlings at Keeneland’s November Breeding Stock Sale over a period of years gives helpful context for interpreting the results of the recently concluded 2022 renewal of the November Sale, which was held Nov. 7-16. There has been considerable variation in participation and outcomes for New York weanlings at this auction over the last decade, but the results for 2022 and 2021 indicate that the marketplace for New York-bred weanlings at Keeneland is rounding back into strong form.

Over the past decade, the New York-bred weanling market at Keeneland has experienced some dramatic swings. The number of weanlings sold has ranged from a low of 23 (2015) to an all-time high of 88 (2018). Gross sales have tracked these participation numbers. In 2015, the weanling cohort generated just $968,000 in total sales. Just three years later, the figure reached a high-water mark of $5,766,200.

An overview of the major indicators for this period reveals that New York-bred weanlings enjoyed an unprecedented “boom” at Keeneland November in 2017 and 2018, and a fairly dramatic correction in 2019 and 2020 (see chart below).

In 2017, New York-bred weanlings posted their highest average ($91,390) and median ($65,000) in this window, while breaking through into double digits for the number of six-figure sales, with 17. The top seller of 2017 brought $320,000, which also took the group into new territory.

In 2018, the number of New York-bred weanlings selling at Keeneland actually more than doubled (from 42 in 2017 to 88 in 2018). The group generated the top total sales of the window ($5,766,200) and the greatest number of six-figure horses to date (20).

Following the banner years of 2017 and 2018, the marketplace for New York-bred weanlings at Keeneland November underwent a fairly dramatic correction. Moreover, the declines of 2019 and 2020 cannot not be laid entirely at the doorstep of Covid 19, since the most dramatic change came before 2020, the year of lockdowns.

From 2018 to 2019, the participation of New York-bred weanlings at the sale plummeted from 88 to 28 (down 68.2%), and total sales dropped from $5,766,200 to $1,623,300 (down 71.8%). The declines in average and median were less dramatic, but palpable. The average price for New York-bred weanlings fell from $65,525 to $57,975 (down 11.5%), and the median declined from $39,000 to $30,000 (down 23.1%). In 2019, just seven weanlings brought six figures; in 2020, only two.

Following the market boom in 2017-2018 and contraction in 2019-2020, it would be legitimate to feel perplexed about the future trajectory of the New York-bred weanling market at Keeneland November. As it turns out, New York-bred weanlings have just put together two strong performances back-to-back in 2021 and 2022. Just as important, the major indicators, which are largely comparable between the two years, have apparently settled in at a level that is distinctly elevated from the period that predated the boom and correction.

In 2022, New York-bred weanling sales totaled $2,646,000, up 17.3% from $2,255,700 in total sales in the rebound year of 2021. Both figures are sharply up from the $1,623,300 and $1,607,700 totals in the “bust” years of 2019 and 2020.

The 2022 average of $69,632 was marginally lower than the $70,491 average achieved in 2021, but again, both figures are dramatically improved from the $57,975 and $47,285 averages in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

The median price for 2021 and 2022 held steady at $47,500, once again marking a strong recovery from the $30,000 and $32,000 medians in 2019 and 2020, respectively. The number of top-end weanlings that brought $100,000 and up has also recovered nicely, and in 2022 rebounded to double digits (12).

In sum, it appears that the top two years in this 10-year window (2017 and 2018) are outliers, but were pointing in the direction of a stronger future overall. The years of the correction for New York-bred weanlings at Keeneland (2019-2020) are also outliers, but as the market has settled in 2021 and 2022, the overall upward trajectory appears to have decisively overcome the forces of correction.


New York-bred weanlings at Keeneland November 2013-2022

 # SoldTotal SalesAverageMedian$100,000 & upTopper
202238$2,646,000$69,632$47,50012$250,000 (Hip 953)
202132$2,255,700$70,491$47,5009$300,000 (Hip 263
202034$1,607,700$47,285$32,0002$360,000 (Hip 670)
201928$1,623,300$57,975$30,0007$200,000 (Hip 330)
201888$5,766,200$65,525$39,00020$350,000 (Hip 228)
201742$3,838,400$91,390$65,00017$320,000 (Hip 454)
201626$1,750,200$67,315$43,5006$275,000 (Hip 1634)
201523$968,000$42,087$35,0002$175,000 (Hip 1137)
201431$1,707,000$55,065$40,0005$200,000 (Hip 292)
201344$2,257,900$51,316$38,5007$185,000 (Hip 283)

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