How to Bid

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Thinking about buying a Thoroughbred? Then Keeneland is the place to visit.

Here are a few tips:
  • Buying a horse at auction is a unique task, so you are encouraged to find a qualified bloodstock adviser. For help, contact your local racetrack, your local Thoroughbred owners and breeders association or the national Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA). Do your homework. Come to the sale with a price range in mind for the horses you are interested in buying. Otherwise, getting caught up in the excitement of bidding and spending far more than you intended will be easy.
  • Get to know the Keeneland sales staff and auction team. Introduce yourself to the bid spotter in your area and mention to him the hip numbers that interest you.
  • Unlike most art auctions, no paddles are used to bid on horses at Keeneland. Buyers use various gestures to signal bids to bid spotters located in the Sales Pavilion.
  • Keep in mind that the opening bid on a horse is approximately 20 percent of the amount the horse is expected to bring. Based on this figure, the auctioneer guides the bidding in appropriate increments. However, buyers may raise their bids by smaller or larger amounts if they prefer.
  • If you become confused or make a mistake while bidding, tell the bid spotter immediately so the situation can be corrected. This is not uncommon because the bidding is conducted at a rapid pace.