09/15/2011 1:14PM

Awesome Again colt and Unbridled's Song filly both top $1.3M at Keeneland sale

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LEXINGTON – The Keeneland September yearling sale showed no signs of slowing down on its fifth day of selling through late afternoon Thursday, with a pair of million-dollar-plus yearlings providing a boost to already strong figures.

Approximately halfway through the catalog Thursday, the average price for the 100 yearlings who had sold was $177,485, a 50.5 percent increase over the average price for the entire fifth session last year. Median was $130,000, a 30 percent increase over the fifth-session median last year.

Though the crowds on the sales grounds had thinned out, and though the pavilion was no longer filled with any more than 100 people at a time, two million-dollar-plus yearlings created a sharp buzz by selling within 30 minutes of each other early in the afternoon. The yearlings, an Awesome Again colt and an Unbridled’s Song filly, were the second-and third-highest priced horses to sell at the auction, bringing $1.35 million and $1.3 million, and they were also the second and third million-dollar-plus yearlings to sell outside of the auction’s select sessions Sunday and Monday night.

At last year’s auction, three horses sold for $1 million or more, one each on the first three days of the sale. No horse sold for $1 million or more Wednesday this year.

Frank Stronach, the owner and breeder who recently converted approximately $850 million of stock in a company he founded into cash, purchased the Awesome Again colt, bidding over the phone through his agent, Mark Roberts, the manager of Stronach’s Adena Springs South in Florida. Stronach owns and stands the colt’s sire, whom he bred and raced as well.

“Frank was pretty set on the animal,” Roberts said, adding that he personally thought the colt was “probably the nicest horse in the sale.”

The colt’s dam, Legs Lawlor, a minor winner in Ireland by Unbridled, is a daughter of Evil Elaine, the dam of 1997 Horse of the Year Favorite Trick.

The Unbridled’s Song filly was bought by Ben Leon, the Miami health-clinic owner who, through late afternoon Thursday, had spent $7,825,000 on 12 yearlings at the sale. Ten of those purchases have been fillies, which he is buying as part of his intention to form a high-class broodmare band.

When asked what he liked about the filly, Leon said, “Everything, everything.” Leon only recently entered Thoroughbred racing and breeding, and he also breeds Paso Finos.

The filly is out of Lady of Choice, a Storm Bird mare who has produced the graded stakes winner Multiple Choice among her ten other foals. Another of her foals, Proposal, has produced three stakes winners.

The third-highest priced yearling to sell at the session through late afternoon was a War Front filly that brought $625,000 from White Horse Stable. The filly’s dam, Miss Class Action, by Alleged, has produced Putmeinyourwill, a stakes winner.

After a day off Friday, the September auction was to resume Saturday, running consecutively through Sept. 24.