A Horse Sale Without Horses, at London’s Kensington Palace

High-level Thoroughbred sales are also social events: the auctions in Lexington and Saratoga, held in the evenings, might easily be confused for cocktail parties, as buyers, sellers, and onlookers network at crowded bars. The events are open to the public and are as much a spectator sport as a business opportunity, with those there to observe not uncommonly outnumbering those there to bid.

On Monday night in London, an invitation-only crowd attended a first-of-its-kind Thoroughbred auction held at The Orangery in Kensington Palace. Largely comprising horses in training, the Goffs London Sale in association with QIPCO offered 30 two-year-olds that have yet to race; 23 horses that have begun their racing careers and are entered at this week’s Royal Ascot meeting;  a lifetime breeding right to Invincible Spirit, a stallion who earned €379,275 racing in Europe and who currently stands at the Irish National Stud for €70,000 per breeding; and the evening’s highlight, Crystal Gaze, a mare in foal to Frankel, advertised by Goffs as “the world’s greatest racehorse,” with a three-month-old foal, also by Frankel. The foal is the first by Frankel to be offered at public auction.

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