11/11/2004 12:00AM

Beautiful Treasure sells for $600K

John Sikura bought a filly for $1.15M.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The $600,000 broodmare Beautiful Treasure lit up the price board Thursday at Keeneland's November breeding stock sale as a significant bright spot on a rainy day.

Beautiful Treasure's price followed the auction's early trend, which saw young mares with black type commanding large prices as buyers bid aggressively for them. John and Martha Jane Mulholland, whose Mulholland Springs in Lexington is one of the area's most successful small commercial breeding programs, were the winning bidders for Beautiful Treasure.

Beautiful Treasure, a stakes-placed daughter of Unbridled sold in foal to Orientate, was part of Bob and Beverly Lewis's significant reduction of breeding stock. A 4-year-old mare, Beautiful Treasure sold through the Denali consignment.

By Thursday, such high six-figure returns were growing increasingly rare as prices took their usual dip in the middle of the auction. But buyers were still finding it hard to acquire what they perceived to be top-quality mares in the face of strong market demand.

Thursday's top weanling at 5:30 p.m. was a $440,000 Mr. Greeley half-brother to Grade 3 winner and Grade 1-placed Chimichurri. Eldon Farm Equine bought the colt, a son of the Raja Baba mare Hard Knocker, from Jim FitzGerald's Knockgriffin Farm, agent.

Thursday's fourth of 12 sessions followed a heady day of selling Wednesday, when Taylor Made Sales Agency sold Helsinki, dam of England's probable juvenile champion Shamardal, for $3.9 million. Coolmore Stud bought the mare, who was in foal to Cherokee Run. Helsinki's 2004 Unbridled's Song filly, also sold by Taylor Made, agent, brought Wednesday's second-highest price - and the day's only other seven-figure sale - when John Sikura bought her for $1.15 million.

Overall, the Wednesday session sold 267 lots for $40,070,000, for an average price of $150,075 and a $100,000 median. That brought the auction's three-day total to $202,533,500 for 691 lots, yielding a cumulative average of $293,102 and a $150,000 median.

The sale was to continue through Nov. 19 with continuous sessions beginning daily at 10 a.m. in the Keeneland sale pavilion.