Booming Thoroughbred Sales: Good News For Retired Racehorses?


That was the word the Keeneland Association used to describe the results of its Thoroughbred yearling sales last month.

The 12-day sale started with a bang, with four horses selling for at least $1 million on the first day; by the time it was over, the sale price for 18 yearlings had reached seven figures, with gross sales totaling $280,491,300, up more than 27% from last year. Both figures are the highest since the onset of the financial crisis in 2008.

While breeders and consignors exulted over the high prices their horses brought, animal welfare advocates can view such exuberance with caution, concerned that outsized prices for unproven racehorses will lead to more breeding and, ultimately, more horses that will need homes away from the racetrack.

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