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Keeneland’s September Sale underway with COVID restrictions in place

Published: Sep. 14, 2020 at 12:28 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - While many events have had to fall by the way-side because of the COVID-19 pandemic, one tradition is going on as scheduled in Lexington.

Keeneland’s September sale kicked off Sunday with a new look and feel.

Shannon Arvin, the interim head of sales and president-elect at Keeneland, says they’ve relied heavily on new technology to move forward during the pandemic.

“We have virtual badges for people to be able to get onto the ground," Arvin said. "We are, unfortunately, still closed to the public so only sales participants are allowed in right now. That’s allowed us to be able to monitor who is on the grounds to ensure if there is an incident we can help with contact tracing. everyone on the grounds is required to wear a mask and social distance as well.”

Potential buyers were encouraged to visit farms ahead of time, to see the horses up close.

“We also came up with walking videos of the yearlings, which were posted on our website so buyers could see them work," said Geoffrey Russell, director of sales operations at Keeneland. "We also have agents lists posted. So, if people can’t come to the sale for any reason they can find an agent to represent them.”

Russell says COVID restrictions have been especially hard for southerners to adapt to.

“Arm bumping is not the same as hugging, there’s no way around that, but people are just happy to be here and we’re happy to have them here as well," Russell said. "The resiliency of the horse industry is amazing, and to have these owners come out and take part, we’re just really appreciative.”

Keeneland’s September Sale will run through the 25th.

So far, online bidding is running smoothly with no delays. Track leaders sold five horses virtually in day one, four international and one domestic.

Copyright 2020 WKYT. All rights reserved.

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