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At its annual party for consignors, buyers, and guests, Keeneland made some smart choices in a bid to get off the sales to a good start for the September season.

Instead of the more formal setting of past years, there was a mix of sit-down tables,  stand-up tables for nibbling, and free space for talking and walking.

It was a clever mix that blended choice and opportunity for Keeneland’s guests.

The fare consisted mostly of Kentucky-themed items, from bourbon shrimp to Kentucky ales through heavier items like hot-brown pizza and bourbon balls.

Among the many guests enjoying the cuisine at Keeneland’s event barn was owner-breeder Gary Biszantz. A successful businessman and a former chairman of the board of trustees for the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, Biszantz has put his money behind his breeding operation’s output, funding extensive rehab and rehoming of retired racehorses.

At the other end of the spectrum from an elite breeder such as Biszantz was breeder Debbie Kopatz, whose small band of broodmares includes the Bold Forbes mare Marrakesh, the dam of G2 Futurity Stakes winner King of the Roxy.

Kopatz was in town for the pre-sale glitz and to see her 2009 foal out of Marrakesh by Successful Appeal. A strongly made and athletic colt, Kopatz may have tapped the brass ring yet again.

Let the sales begin.