01/11/2005 12:00AM

Another seven-figure broodmare at Keeneland

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Cozzene's Angel, the dam of Grade 1 winner and new Castleton Lyons stallion Toccet, made Keeneland's January sale feel a little like Keeneland November on Tuesday when she brought a sale-leading $1.35 million from Eaton Sales representative Reiley McDonald.

The Tuesday session, the second of six, briefly harked buyers and sellers back to the high-powered November breeding-stock sale, when aggressive bidding saw 33 horses crack the $1 million mark in the first two days. Keeneland's January all-ages sale, by contrast, sees relatively few $1 million lots at an auction that mainly consists of middle-class mares, broodmare prospects, and yearlings.

McDonald outdueled Castleton Lyons owner Tony Ryan, who bought Toccet for $3.35 million at the 2004 Fasig-Tipton November sale. McDonald said he was representing the same anonymous partnership he bought for at Keeneland November, when his purchases included $4.8 million Santa Catarina and $4.2 million Take Charge Lady.

Cozzene's Angel sold from the Hill 'n' Dale agency's consignment and was offered in foal to Pulpit. McDonald said the resulting foal would likely be offered at auction, either at Saratoga or Keeneland September, though the partnership breeds both to race and to sell.

"She was the best mare in the sale," McDonald said. "She probably should have gone for $1.5 million to $2 million."

The session's second-highest price at 6 p.m. was $925,000 for Crazy Ensign. A 9-year-old Firery Ensign mare, Crazy Ensign is a Grade 1 winner in Argentina and Grade 1-placed in North America. Offered by Gainesway, agent, she sold in foal to Gone West. Margaux Farm was listed as buyer.

The highest-priced yearling was a $900,000 Unbridled's Song-Cahooters filly, a full sister to Buddha, which Dell Ridge Farm bought from Paramount Sales, agent. Paramount also consigned the filly's dam, Cahooters, who went through the ring immediately before the filly. The mare, who is 16 years old and failed to conceive on her last cover to Unbridled's Song, brought $230,000 from agent Omar Trevino.

Buyers agreed that getting a bargain was all but impossible in a discerning market in which buyers would pay a premium for quality.

At Monday's opening session, the auction sold 251 horses for $15,831,100. That made for a $63,072 average price and a $35,000 median. Like the Keeneland November breeding-stock sale, the January all-ages auction is difficult to compare from season to season, because it often features dispersals that offer one-of-a-kind lots. Last year's Keeneland January opener sold 226 horses for $14,861,100, resulting in a $65,757 average price and a $30,000 median.

Two significant factors contributed to the improvement in the gross: Keeneland January offered a record catalog of 2,073, and Will Farish bought Native Roots, dam of 2004 Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Wilko, for $1.1 million. She was the only seven-figure sale on Monday. Last year's top price was the $850,000 that the British Bloodstock Agency (Ireland) paid for Cajun Beat's dam, Beckys Shirt.

One other lot would possibly have beaten that price, had she not been a buy-back. Stakes winner Kentucky Rose, the only mare in the sale in foal to Storm Cat, was sent back to consigning agent Darby Dan on a final bid of $885,000.

With the Tuesday session still under way, sellers were finding a lot to like in the middle market, especially in the $30,000 to $100,000 range.

"For the caliber of the catalog, it's been beyond my expectations," said Bayne Welker, who oversaw Mill Ridge's consignment in Barn 11 on Tuesday. "I also know people on the other end, trying to buy, and they're just chasing horses. There's a lot of strength to this market. We'll see if it holds up."

Tuesday's other high prices included the $800,000 stakes-placed broodmare prospect Clear in the West, whom Stan Fulton bought from Pin Oak Stud; the $510,000 broodmare Perfect Solution, an unraced daughter of Seeking the Gold and multiple Grade 1 winner Dispute in foal to Unbridled's Song, whom Wayne Lyster, agent, bought from Knockgriffin, agent; the $500,000 broodmare Lady Upstage, an Alzao-She's the Tops mare in foal to Dynaformer, whom Nobuo Tsunoda bought from Claiborne Farm, agent; and the $450,000 broodmare Really Rising, the dam of Santa Anita Derby winner Buddy Gil offered in foal to Awesome Again, whom Shadai Farm bought from Warrendale, agent for Billingsley Creek Ranch.

The auction runs through Jan. 15.