Keeneland Sales Suffer as Credit Crunch Takes Toll; Staying Put: Azeri Attracted Interest but Was Eventually Sold Back to Her Owners

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Byline: PAUL FIELDER

THE economic downturn had a dramatic effect on the first day of the Keeneland Horses of All Ages Sale in Lexington, Kentucky, with gross revenue some 44 per cent lower than the first session 12 months ago.

While seven more horses were sold than on the corresponding day last year, the total spent amounted to just $11,945,900 ([pounds sterling]8,120,085) as opposed to $21,325,900 ([pounds sterling]14,503,993) in 2008.

The median price of horses sold fell 50.9 per cent and Keeneland director of sales Geoffrey Russell said: "People brought their horses here to sell, and the not sold rate has gone down.

"Given the current global economic situation, people have adjusted their expectations and traded their horses." The sale total would have been much greater had the star attraction at the sales not failed to sell.

Azeri, the 2002 Horse of the Year and Breeders' Cup Distaff winner, allegedly attracted interest from both Coolmore and Darley but was eventually bought back by representatives of owners Allen E Paulson Living Trust. …