Cris Caldwell Passes; Fourth-Generation Auctioneer Worked Keeneland Sales Since 1975

Cris Caldwell, a fourth-generation auctioneer who has been part of the auction team at Keeneland since 1975, has died at the age of 63.

Caldwell, along with brother Scott, followed his father, the late Tom Caldwell, into the auction stand at the Lexington, Ky., sales company. The Caldwell family has been a steady presence at Keeneland since Tom Caldwell joined the association’s sales staff in the late 1950s, continuing to work Keeneland Sales until just before his passing in 2001.

Cris Caldwell most recently worked the 2020 January Horses of All Ages Sale.

When he wasn’t working auctions, Caldwell ran the family’s Gavel Ranch in Eagle Point, Ore.

“Most auctioneers are busy doing as many as eight sales a week,” Caldwell said in a 2014 interview with Paulick Report. “My average is only two a week, so in advance of Keeneland I prepare by drilling myself, drilling myself, driving down the road in my truck. I’m sure the people who see me wonder what I’m doing.

“Most styles are an amalgamation of every auctioneer they’ve heard,” Caldwell added. “You attempt to borrow something from another person of note. It either works physically or not, if it rolls off your tongue or not. “

Caldwell said auctioneering came naturally – at least within the family.

“Our father had the family sitting around the dinner table practicing tongue twisters when I was five years old,” he said. “Little brown bug, little brown bear, eight gray geese, ad nauseum. Dad was an auctioneer and Mom was a recording opera singer. The mating was intentional and the breeding concept was to breed little baby auctioneers.”

He said his proudest moments came over the years, when Dad, Scott and I would be on the stand at the same time. Sharing that as a family.”

“The Keeneland family mourns the passing of Cris Caldwell, who continued the legacy of his late father, Tom Caldwell, serving as a member of Keeneland’s auction team from 1975 through the 2020 January Horses of All Ages Sale,” said Keeneland president and CEO Bill Thomason.

“Cris was known for his work ethic, keen wit and, like his father, his ability to command the sales ring, and he presided over some of the most memorable events in Keeneland sales history. Within approximately three hours at the 2006 September Yearling Sale, he was the auctioneer for both Meydan City, who brought an auction record $11.7 million, and Plavius, who sold for $9.2 million. At the November Breeding Stock Sale, Cris sold Playful Act (IRE) for a record $10.5 million, and he sold Kentucky Derby (G1) winner and future Hall of Famer Winning Colors for $4.1 million.

“Among the future stars Cris sold at the September Sale were Hall of Famer Curlin (2005), Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming (2015), Preakness (G1) winners Exaggerator (2014) and Cloud Computing (2015) and Breeders’ Cup winners Liam’s Map (2012) and Finest City (2013).

“Keeneland extends its sincerest condolences to Cris’ brother, Scott, also a longtime member of Keeneland’s auction team; his daughters Alden and Laurel; and his entire family. He will be greatly missed.”

Additional information will be added to this story as it becomes available.

The post Cris Caldwell Passes; Fourth-Generation Auctioneer Worked Keeneland Sales Since 1975 appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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