Mojo Silks

Mojo Banner
Mojo Race
Questions? Call Us: (214) 957-4090

Join the Fun!

Organizational Info


Mojo Facebook
Mojo Twitter

Page Header Sales Process

Keeneland Logo

Photo by KeenelandKeeneland is a racecourse and sales company dedicated to providing the highest quality Thoroughbred services in the world, which in turn offers the best potential for a return on investment. Keeneland strives to meet its customers’ needs by offering sales at any level of participation—new buyers are welcomed and given opportunities to learn about the fun and excitement of Thoroughbred ownership.

Brief History

Keeneland is located on 907 acres in the heart of rolling Kentucky Bluegrass country, and it was established to be a “model race track” to serve the sport in the fine traditions of Thoroughbred racing from around the world. The philosophy and principals that have characterized Keeneland throughout its history remain unchanged. The pristine, park-like grounds were designed in the late 1930's by the landscape architecture firm of Innocenti and Webel to meet the needs of horsemen, and celebrate both horses and Keeneland's guests alike.

Prior to World War II, many Kentucky horse breeders sent their yearlings to Saratoga in New York to be sold at auction. Because of wartime restrictions on rail transportation, the decision was made to sell them in Lexington. The first yearling sale at Keeneland was conducted Aug. 9, 1943. A future Kentucky Derby winner, Hoop Jr., came from that inaugural sale, and a summer yearling sale has been held at Keeneland every year since then.

Today, the September Yearling Sale at Keeneland has become the most popular, most respected, and most profitable sale in the world.


Photo by Fred Taylor Anyone interested in attending a Keeneland Sale can simply “just show up.” You do not need to buy a ticket, make a reservation, or pay an admission price. Nor do you have to come with any intention to buy. You are more than welcome to attend as an observer—although seats in the Keeneland sales pavilion are reserved for buyers and sellers.

The Keeneland September Yearling Sale has evolved into the world's largest yearling sale. The first two days of the sale generally are considered "Select" meaning that the horses sold in those sessions are inspected and have met the highest pedigree and conformation standards.

Keeneland has cataloged a record 5,161 horses for its 2006 September Yearling Sale, which runs September 11th through the 25th. It is the largest Keeneland catalog ever.

Recent September Yearling Sale graduates include champions Ashado and Stevie Wonderboy; 2006 Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Jazil; 2006 Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Lemons Forever; 2005 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) winner Artie Schiller; and such Grade 1 stakes winners as English Channel, Germance, Flower Alley, Les Arcs, Brother Derek, Sinister Minister, Malibu Mint, Balance and Wait a While, among others.

The September Yearling Sale has also produced champions, such as 1998 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Real Quiet, 2002 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner War Emblem, 2003 Vodafone Epsom Derby winner Kris Kin, 2007 Kentucky Oaks and Belmont winner Rags To Riches, 1998 Belmont winner Victory Gallop, 1999 Belmont winner Lemon Drop Kid, Azeri, Farda Amiga, Left Bank, Orientate, Johannesburg, Caressing, and Kona Gold.

Why Keeneland?

Photo by Fred TaylorThe Thoroughbreds sold at Keeneland are the best of the best bloodstock, and are proven to be consistently versatile insofar as their ability to race at any track around the world. Historically, other sales offer very good horses, and their select products are competitive at multiple locations. That said, across the board, Keeneland prospects offer the highest quality pedigrees and better breeding characteristics—which, in turn, improves the horse’s competitive ability no matter where it runs.

Though the September Yearling Sale is known for its “high roller” buyers, this sale also offers multiple days of very good offerings for those who are working their way into the sport from the ground up—such as Mojo Racing Partners. While it is true that one could stretch their dollars the other sales, buying at Keeneland is a matter of the investing in overall quality of the bloodline; the racing versatility; and potential for the future.

The Gameplan

Keeneland is beautiful, and as noted above, the racing facilities; the sales and barn areas; and the surrounding grounds are manicured to be picture-perfect in every way. In fact, the sales company caters to the buying experience.  With this in mind, utilizing a fundamental stratgey when selecting Thoroughbred bloodstock is a wise approach in such an inviting/mesmorizing atmosphere.

Before getting started, it's important to establish a line of credit with the sales company, as well as make arrangements with a transportation (a shipping company) to remove your horse(s) from the sale grounds after your purchase.

Photo by Fred TaylorOne the first day, take some time to visit sale grounds, the auction ring, the holding areas, and the barns to soak in the atmosphere - there's nothing like it. (The horses being sold that day were in their assigned barns the day prior for buyer evaluation.)

The following days will be the busiest because you should arrive early and start visiting the barns of the horses that will be sold the next day.  Buyers are welcome to request horses be taken out of their stalls for viewing.  Full inspections are permitted, and the consignors typically have vet records available to be reviewed.  X-rays are also provided in the sales company's Repository. 

The sales action begins at 10:00 a.m. ET each day and runs until the last hip number scheduled for the corresponding book.  Before standing in the sale ring, the horse enters a holding area where prospective buyers can view the individual one last time before the bidding process begins. At the appointed time, the next Thoroughbred is led to the sales pavilion.

Once in the ring, the auctioneer asks for an opening bid on the fine animal put before the audience. Most yearlings have a “reserve” price (the minimum price which a consignor will sell a horse), and a minimum bid amount (that’s based upon 20 percent of what the auctioneers thinks the horse will bring) could be requested. All bidding is done through various gestures that vary from bidder to bidder. The speed of the auction varies according to the volume of horses being sold.

Setting a predetermined limit is recommended from a buyer's point of view, and it's important to exercise self-control when bidding. The highest bidder after the gavel falls is awarded the horse, and a sales clerk will bring the paperwork to the successful bidder.

Homework and Evaluation

Photo by Fred TaylorThere’s no magic formula for breeding success. In fact, it all boils down to numbers, quality, and luck. Only one out of 35,000+ yearlings born a year will win the Kentucky Derby. Thus, the logical objective should be to find an affordable combination of a successful sire and a successful dam. It stands to reason that, if you mate a dud sire to a dud dam, then the odds are you’re going to get a dud as offspring. There have been proven exceptions to this line of thinking, of course.  (Mojo prefers to focus upon the success of the dam and her offspring.)

Keeneland assigns each horse a sale day based on the yearling’s husbandry ranking (sire/dam success and the success of the yearling’s ancestors) and foal date. Success is relative; and the “type” of races that a yearling’s relatives have won contributes to its ranking. For example: Winning the Lone Star Derby is a success; but it is a far different success than winning the Kentucky Derby. As such, a horse’s dam may have won seven out of eight races, and that is successful at any level; but her sale date will be later if those wins were in South America (per se), were not stakes races (called “black type”), or were not “graded” stakes—the most prestigious and internationally recognized. Thus, the more black type, the better the success is considered to be in this regard.

The average daily price is also a reflection of the anticipated value of the horses sold that day.  As such, a look at the historical sale trends will provide a general price point for which a person can plan their particiular budget.

All horses turn a year older on January 1st no matter their actual birth date. That said, a horse that is born in January or February is much more mature (physically and mentally), than one that is born in May of the same year. Unless, the late foal is one heck of a runner, he or she is probably going to need more time to grow into that that body. For those wishing to race a two-year-old the following spring, a May foal probably will have limited competitive ability (at that point). However, a sound, healthy two-year-old that starts coming around later in the year, is one that could provide lots of excitement as a young three-year-old.

Overall Thoughts

The pleasant challenge of selecting the right horse can be summed up in four thoughts: Personal preference about a particular sire; careful analysis of the dam’s racing success and that of her offspring; a keen eye for conformation; and a lot of good Mojo. 

As you would expect, bidding on horses is calculated. Plan to attend the sale on the days that historically offer yearlings that are in your price range. With those dates in mind, study the catalog pages (online catalogs are available months in advance on the sales company's website) and prepare a list of horses that offer sire/dam combinations that are “successful” (for the reasons explained above) in terms of wins—these are the types of horses that should have your undivided attention. 


Mojo Makes It Easy

Mojo Thoroughbred Holdings, LLC (which conducts its horse racing operations as Mojo Racing Partners) was founded in 2006 to give people affordable and fun opportunities to participate in the exciting sport of Thoroughbred racing.

If you have any additional questions about participating in a Mojo Group, please contact
: Fred Taylor, Jr. - Founder, CEM, and President - Mojo Thoroughbred Holdings, LLC.