The Thoroughbred Draft
I once had a friend ask me why I like attending Keeneland's September yearling sale. The answer is simple, really. If you think about it, the marathon two-week event is thoroughbred racing's equivalent to the NFL draft.Almost 5,000 horses were entered in this year's sale, and the likely sale topper, an A.P. Indy colt out of Zenyatta's Grade 1-winning half-sister Balance, sold for $4.2 million Sept. 12. By the end of the sale, horses will be going for the minimum amount of $1,000, and others will not even receive a bid. While spending $4.2 million on an unraced 1-year-old horse is mind boggling to some, it really is no different than the millions spent to secure a No. 1 draft pick. For instance, in 1998 Fusao Sekiguchi paid $4 million for a handsome Mr. Prospector colt at the Keeneland July sale (which was discontinued in 2003). Two years later, Fusaichi Pegasus became the first favorite to win the Kentucky Derby since Spectacular Bid in 1979. He was later syndicated for $60 million and took up stallion duties at Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky.
In 2005, Jerry and Ann Moss purchased a strapping Street Cry filly for $60,000 at the Keeneland September sale. These days, she is better known as undefeated champion Zenyatta and has earned $6,254,580.