09/19/2016 1:50PM

Madden makes splash in Keeneland September debut

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In a business often built on generations-old relationships, it can be hard to be the new guy on the sale grounds.

That notion has not swayed Zach Madden, 29, who consigned his first draft of offerings in a Keeneland September yearling sale on Monday under the shingle of Buckland Sales, a venture run in partnership with Millennium Farms.

Though just now making its Keeneland September debut, Buckland Sales has been in operation for nearly a year, first selling at last year’s Kentucky fall mixed sales.

Madden fulfilled a lifelong dream earlier this year, putting a horse through the ring for the first time under the Buckland banner at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale, a $150,000 Orb colt. He had 24 horses cataloged to the Keeneland September sale after outs.

“Obviously, I’m excited to get things going,” Madden said the day prior to his Keeneland September debut. “I’ve been champing at the bit for a week since the sale started, just wanting to get over there. I feel like we’ve got a good first group of horses that are going to be a good representation of trying to get the ball rolling on bigger and better things for us in the future.”

A Lexington, Ky., native, Madden learned the Thoroughbred business from his grandparents, Tom and Norma Collins of On the Rocks Farm. He spent a decade working his way up through the ranks at Three Chimneys Farm, eventually being named director of client development.

Madden then moved to Ro Parra’s Millennium Farms, where he focused on client relations and the operation’s sales consignment interests. Though co-owned by Millennium Farms and based on the property, Madden is able to take outside clients independent of his partner’s holdings.

Madden said the consignment’s name pays homage to the original name of the Millennium Farms property, which was known as Buckland Farm prior to Parra’s purchase.

Though starting out with a fairly small consignment compared with the behemoth offerings of the longer-established operations, Madden said that motivates him to turn over every stone to get his horses sold.

“You try to tap into as many resources and networks as possible,” he said. “I’m being proactive about that, reaching out to agents that bought half-sisters and things like that.

“It’s a pretty intimidating business because when you’re a small fish in a big, big pond, there’s always big bass bumping into you all the time,” Madden added. “You’ve got to find your bearings, but that’s what we’re trying to do: just get quality horses, whether they come from the farm or client, build it organically, and go out and recruit.”