09/24/2002 11:00PM

Keeneland mares mostly in foal

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Keeneland plans to offer 3,597 horses to bidders during its November breeding stock auction, the largest, longest, and most lucrative sale of its kind all year.

The sale, scheduled for Nov. 4-13, will offer 1,951 broodmares, 146 broodmare prospects, 1,339 weanlings, and 161 horses of various other ages, according to Keeneland.

The number of weanlings cataloged this year is well below the number offered last year, largely because of the effects of mare reproductive loss syndrome, the mysterious phenomenon that caused hundreds of central Kentucky mares to abort in 2001. Last year's November sale offered 1,887 weanlings.

MLRS also had a significant impact on the broodmares offered for sale last year. Many broodmares went through the ring barren, cutting dramatically into their auction value. That will not be the case this year, Keeneland officials said.

"Most of the mares in this year's catalog are safely in foal," said Tom Thornbury, Keeneland's associate director of sales.

Keeneland sold 2,506 horses last year for total receipts of $179.6 million. The total was down $102.5 million from 2000, and average dipped to $71,655 from $92,466.