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In a response to yesterday’s post regarding the November sale as a marker of the bottom of the recession, “Trapped down on the Rail” disagreed. “Trapped” wrote that “I was watching the last day and for every one horse sold there were five or six scratches and a couple of RNAs.” (Read the complete response here.)

Now, I’ve no generic dislike of hyperbole. Every horse sale needs a little, but “Trapped” has stepped in a hole here.

While the last day at Keeneland November resembled the last day of most long sales, they were doing quite a bit better than selling one out of every seven or eight horses. Keeneland cataloged 294 horses for the final day of the November sale. Of those, 186 went through the ring (63.26 percent), with 55 RNAs and 131 sold (44.58 percent of the horses cataloged).

A broad indicator of the entire November market is the median price, which was exactly the same as last year. I found that statistic absolutely stunning because it indicates that the center of the market is in the same place as a year ago.

Part of the increasing stability in the marketplace is due to an improvement in confidence. Keeneland’s director of sales Geoffrey Russell said that “Overbrook gave confidence to the market because they sold without reserve. Buyers and sellers felt it was a baseline figure for appraising their horses. Straight market forces were in place and gave everyone a solid base on which to make their decisions.”

More statistics from Keeneland: Total receipts for the 13-day auction, held November 10-22, were $159,727,800, down 13.92 percent from $185,552,300 grossed during last year’s 15-day sale. Average price of $57,477 decreased 6.48 percent from $61,462 reported in 2008. The median of $20,000 remained unchanged from last year. A total of 2,779 horses sold, compared to 3,019 a year ago, an 8 percent decline that represented most of the loss in gross returns.

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