09/19/2009 12:00AM

$475K Bernstein colt tops Keeneland session

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - A $475,000 colt brightened the Keeneland September yearling auction's fifth day of selling Saturday.

Friday was the auction's dark day. The sale's first four days were battered by steep declines in revenue.

Prospects for a turnaround appear bleak. Saturday's session sold 238 yearlings for $18,439,500, resulting in an average price of $77,477 and a $60,000 median. Gross was down 40 percent, the average fell 29 percent, and the median declined 33 percent, in keeping with the drops seen in the 14-day auction's first week. Saturday's buy-back rate rose to 34 percent from the 21 percent at last year's equivalent session.

Six horses brought $300,000 or more on Saturday, with agent Mike Ryan purchasing all but two. The session-topper was a $475,000 Bernstein colt out of the unraced Stravinsky mare Life Happened that Ryan bought from Moreau Bloodstock International.

Ryan also purchased a pair of $350,000 colts by Afleet Alex and Stormy Atlantic. The first, Hip No. 1,287, was an Afleet Alex colt out of the winless Meadowlake mare Swift Princess. The mare is the dam of two winners from three starters so far. Her 2008 colt came to auction with Gerry Dilger's Dromoland agency consignment.

Ryan's second $350,000 purchase, the Stormy Atlantic colt, is out of the Unbridled's Song winner Underworld. At age 7, she has no starters to date. Her oldest foal, an El Corredor filly named Steel Courage, is a 2-year-old this season. Peter O'Callaghan's Woods Edge Farm agency consigned her Stormy Atlantic colt as Hip No. 1,310.

Ryan also purchased a $320,000 Tiznow colt from the Woods Edge consignment. Offered as Hip No. 1,301, the colt is a son of the stakes-winning Wild Rush mare Tingwithasting.

Ryan was the day's top buyer with 10 purchases totaling $2,070,000.

Jay Em Ess Stable and John Oxley bought the other horses to bring $300,000 or more by that hour. Jay Em Ess purchased Hip No. 1,366, a $300,000 Indian Charlie colt out of Avani, also sold by Woods Edge's agency. Avani, an unraced Gulch mare, is the dam of two winners from two starts to date.

Oxley bought Hip No. 1,568, a $330,000 Tapit filly out of Mayan Milagra. Mayan Milagra, a maiden by Menifee, is 7 years old. Her oldest foal, the Chapel Royal filly Wicked Cricket, is a 2-year-old this year and has not started yet.

The Keeneland September auction was to continue through Sept. 28 with sessions beginning daily a 10 a.m. in the Keeneland sale pavilion in Lexington.