04/12/2011 4:16PM

Keeneland raising commission to old level


The Keeneland Association will raise its commission on horse sales from 4.5 percent to 5 percent, restoring it to its level back in 2000.

Keeneland’s commission rate for RNAs, horses who fail to reach their reserve prices, will remain at 2.5 percent, the level Keeneland set in 2009.

“Like in every company, we look at all our price points, and looking at the commissions and RNA commissions, we felt it was important to leave the RNA commission at 2.5 percent, given the fact that it’s tougher to write that check when you still retain the horse,” Keeneland’s sales director, Geoffrey Russell, said. “To return the commission to 5 percent, if you think about it, is a little increase in the scheme of things. We’ve had it at 4.5 percent for 10 years now, and in that 10-year period which was one of the toughest times of the industry we returned close to $30 million to our constituents, and they were able to invest it.”

Russell said additional income from the 5-percent commission would help underwrite a variety of programs, ranging from Keeneland’s racing program to developing domestic and international markets for Keeneland sale horses.

“Even with this, we are still the cheapest place to sell, because our entry fee goes toward your commission,” Russell said. Keeneland sales’ entry fees range from $700 at the January mixed sale to $1,000 at its other auctions. That means that, at most Keeneland sales, the $1,000 entry fee will cover a seller’s commission cost up to a hammer price of $20,000.

– Glenye Cain Oakford