Attending an Auction

Rocket Fuel

Helpful Tips for New Buyers


  • ShowringEveryone is welcome to attend Keeneland's sales, either as a buyer or a spectator. You do not need to buy a ticket, make a reservation or pay admission, though seats in the Sales Pavilion are reserved for buyers and sellers. Sale catalogs are free for you to pick up at any time during the sale.
  • You are free to inspect any of the horses being sold. Simply go to the consignor's barn and ask that the horse be led out for inspection. Generally, horses are available for inspection two days prior to the sale. However, during the September and November sales, horses sold late in the week will not arrive on the grounds until the day before they are sold.
  • When examining a horse, you may bring along any of your advisers: trainer, bloodstock agent and/or veterinarian. If you plan to buy, you are strongly encouraged to secure reputable, professional assistance beforehand.
  • The consignor or his representative will be at the barn to answer your questions. Do not hesitate to ask anything you like such asthe horse's past health record, when it was last examined by a veterinarian, whether X-rays have been taken, etc. You can rely on your advisers to assist you with these questions.
  • Remember that if you are buying a yearling, you are buying an unproven Thoroughbred. Your decision to buy will be based entirely on the horse's pedigree and conformation.
  • At the time of sale, each horse is led from the barn area to a holding ring behind the Sales Pavilion. Here buyers have one last chance to inspect the horse before bidding begins.
  • The horse is then led into the sale ring, and the auctioneer asks for an opening bid. Those bidding do so by gesturing to various bid spotters located throughout the Pavilion.
  • At the drop of the auctioneer's hammer, the horse legally changes owners and the buyer signs an Acknowledgement of Purchase.
  • If the buyer has not established credit with Keeneland, he or she must pay for the horse in full within 30 minutes of the sale. Those who have established credit have 15 days to settle their account.
  • A buyer ordinarily has 24 hours to move the horse from the grounds. However, in September and November, the buyer is required to move the horse immediately due to the large number of horses cataloged.
  • Representatives of major shipping companies are present in the rear of the Sales Pavilion if you need help in arranging transportation for your horse.