09/17/2007 12:00AM

$440K topper on Sunday at Keeneland

EmailLEXINGTON, Ky. - Keeneland's September yearling sale in Lexington, Ky., closed out its sixth of 14 sessions Sunday night with strong increases across the board, continuing the trend started Wednesday at the auction's first open session. On Sunday, Mayberry Farm purchased a $440,000 Lion Heart colt from Sue Vacek, agent, to top a session that sold 288 yearlings for $28,302,500, yielding an average price of $98,273 and a median price of $80,000. The gross was 8 percent, while average and median increased 8 percent and 11 percent, respectively.

Those rises did not offset the effects of a softer market at the auction's first two select sessions, which posted mixed results. Declines at those two sessions contributed to mixed results in the six-day cumulative figures. Through Sunday, the auction had sold 1,409 yearlings for $303,573,700, down 8 percent from last season at the same point, and the average price of $215,453 was down 6 percent. But, in a positive sign for sellers and the auction house, the median price for the first six days of the sale had increased by 8 percent to $140,000.

The session-topper on Sunday sold as Hip No. 2067. The dark bay or brown colt is out of Whattacapote, a winning daughter of Capote. He is from the first crop of yearlings sired by Lion Heart, a Grade 1-winning son of Tale of the Cat.

The Keeneland September sale, which cataloged a record 5,553 yearlings this year, was to continue through Sept. 25 with sessions beginning daily at 10 a.m. in the Keeneland sale pavilion.