11/20/2009 12:00AM

Another sale session ends in decline

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Keeneland's November breeding stock sale ended its 11th session Friday evening with more precipitous declines, as the 13-day auction headed for its Sunday conclusion.

The Friday session sold 233 horses for $1,778,400, a drop of 41 percent from last year's gross for 230 horses. The session average plummeted 41 percent to $7,633, and the median fell 50 percent to $5,000 for the second consecutive session. Buy-backs held nearly level with last year, falling from 21.2 percent last year to 20.7 percent in 2009.

That put the auction's 11-day cumulative gross for 2,494 horses at $157,728,400, twelve percent below last year's total for 2,229 horses at the same point. The 11-day average price stood at $63,243, down 21 percent, and the $24,000 median was 23 percent lower. Cumulative buy-backs were significantly improved, dropping from 30 percent to 21 percent.

Two horses brought $50,000 as the Friday session's top-priced lots. They were Hip No. 3976, a weanling Half Ours filly out of Fine Prospect that the Baccari Bloodstock agency sold to Stoney lane Farm, and Hip No. 4078, the 6-year-old Peintre Celebre stallion prospect Sudan. Sudan is a Group 1 winner in France, Group 1-placed in France, and a Grade 3 winner in the United States with $476,323 in earnings. He is out of the winning Woodman mare Sarabande. Marcel Zarour purchased him from the Three Chimneys agency.

The auction was to continue through Sunday, with sessions starting at 10 a.m. daily at the Keeneland sale pavilion.

Project would turn manure into fuel

Keeneland is preparing to embark on a new service that will do much more than haul the barn area's horse manure and biodegradable waste: It will turn it into fuel.

Keeneland's director of projects administration, John Howard, confirmed Keeneland is close to approving a deal with the Georgia-based company Three Seconds to Oil that would allow installation of one of the company's mobile bio-oil plants on Keeneland property.

Three Seconds to Oil has been working with the National Thoroughbred Racing Association to introduce this technology to NTRA-member racetracks.

The mobile plant converts manure, stall bedding, and other waste such as leaves and branches into fuel oil. The oil can be used in large industrial generators, in maritime applications, and in asphalt and blacktop production, Howard said.

"Currently, we dispose of our much by trucking it away," Howard said. "In 2008, we trucked away 911 loads, which equates to between 15,000 and 16,000 tons. By doing this process, we'll reduce that traffic to about 200 truckloads of oil. That reduces the amount of traffic in that area by about 600 or 800 trucks."

The mobile bio-oil plant heats the waste material, without incineration, into gas form.

"Then it cools it back down very rapidly, which condenses the gas and turns it back into a liquid," Howard said.

Keeneland's horse waste currently gets shipped to mushroom farms in Pennsylvania and Tennessee, but under the new system, it would be converted to oil on site and leave Keeneland as fuel oil, saving the Keeneland shipping costs. Howard wouldn't say how much the track expects to save but called projected savings "significant."

Howard estimated Three Seconds to Oil will act as a service company and said Keeneland doesn't plan to hold any financial stake in the operation for now.

On Friday, Keeneland and Three Seconds to Oil received planning permission to go ahead with the project. The next step is for Keeneland to sign on, which could happen within a week, Howard said. If they move ahead, bio-fuel production could be underway at Keeneland in March 2010.

Airdrie stud fees take a cut

Airdrie Stud in Midway, Ky., will lower the stud fees for all of its stallions in 2010, the farm announced Friday. In addition to cutting fees from its 2009 levels, the farm also will offer a 10 percent discount for fees paid on or before Nov. 1, 2010.

The Airdrie stallion roster and its 2010 fees are as follows, with the horses' 2009 fees in parentheses: Badge of Silver, $10,000 ($12,500); Brother Derek, $8,500 ($10,000); Canadian Frontier, $3,500 ($5,000); Divine Park, $10,000 ($17,500); Flashy Bull, $7,500 ($8,500); Friends Lake, $7,500 ($12,500); Harlan's Holiday, $25,000 ($30,000); Include, $10,000 ($17,500); Indian Charlie, $70,000 ($75,000); Istan, $6,000 ($8,500); Proud Citizen, $15,000 ($30,000); Slew City Slew, $3,500 ($5,000); Stevie Wonderboy, $10,000 ($15,000); and The Daddy, $2,500 ($5,000).

In Lexington, Shadwell also will cut stud fees for all but one of its stallions in 2010. Mustanfar will rise from an advertised 2009 fee of $2,400 to $3,000, but the remainder will go down, including 2006 Horse of the Year Invasor, who falls from $28,000 to $20,000. The other fees will drop as follows: Daaher, $7,500 ($16,000); Dayjur, $3,000 ($4,000); Dumaani, $1,000 ($2,000); Intidab, $3,000 ($4,000); Jazil, $7,500 ($10,000); and Kayrawan, $1,000 ($2,000).