Keeneland Sales Bid Spotter Pete McCormick Passes

January 27, 2023

Photo courtesy of Keeneland

Keeneland Press Release/Edited

LEXINGTON, Ky.—Keeneland announced the sad new today that longtime Keeneland bid spotter Pete McCormick passed away on January 26. At the time of his death on Thursday, at age 75, he was living near his family in East Bend, North Carolina. 

A native of Ontario, California, McCormick was a boy when given his first job in the auction business from the legendary Tom Caldwell, the longtime head auctioneer at Keeneland, who took McCormick under his wing. McCormick also served in the U. S. Marine Corps. 

“The Keeneland family mourns the passing of Pete McCormick, who was an iconic presence in the Keeneland Sales Pavilion during his four decades as a bid spotter,” said Keeneland President and CEO Shannon Arvin on McCormick’s passing. 

“Pete famously said, ‘My life is the auction business,’ and he was widely respected by colleagues and horsemen for his tireless work ethic, professionalism and devotion to his craft. He would arrive at the sale two to three hours before the auction began to walk the barns, talking to buyers and consignors and getting to know the horses. His extensive knowledge and his demeanor won him a legion of fans, many of them buyers at the highest level, who showed their confidence in Pete by sitting in his area of the ring to place their bids. He was their good-luck charm. 

“Keeneland extends its deepest condolences to Pete’s family, especially his son, Ken. He will be greatly missed.” 

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