01/05/2007 12:00AM

Broodmare market hot for Jan. sale


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Coming just two months after the record-setting Keeneland November breeding stock sale, Keeneland's January sale, which runs from Monday through Jan. 15, has a hard act to follow. The November auction featured outlandishly high prices, especially for young broodmares and broodmare prospects, such as $6 million for Madcap Escapade, who sold in foal to Pulpit and was the top-selling mare.

Buyers complained that young broodmares often brought twice what they had expected to pay. Such heady prices undoubtedly tempted some sellers to send any similar candidates to the January market. And Keeneland's director of sales, Geoffrey Russell, is careful to make the point that the January sale offers what the market currently values highest.

"The January sale offers a particularly good selection of young racing and broodmare prospects throughout the sale," he said. "We've continued to expand the sale to accommodate our horsemen, who have come to view January as an extension of the November breeding stock sale."

Prices appear likely to remain high in January as buyers outgunned in November return in search of mares to restock their broodmare bands. But whether any horse in the catalog can hit a Madcap Escapade-style high note remains to be seen.

Last year's Keeneland January sale followed a similarly strong November sale, which saw Ashado set a record broodmare price of $9 million. The 2006 January sale produced substantial gains but lacked the drama of November and had only a single $1 million mare, Grade 2 winner Girl Warrior. But average price rose 13 percent to $44,443, while median price gained 23 percent to reach $16,000, proving a sale doesn't have to be spectacular to be very good.

The 2007 January sale looks much the same as last year's. There are some standouts in this year's record 2,933-horse catalog, though the biggest marquee mare, Fleet Indian, has been withdrawn from this auction, as she was in November. Owner Paul Saylor announced in December that he will breed her to top sire Storm Cat this year and consider his options for her future. The two-time Grade 1 winner remains at Taylor Made Farm in Kentucky, where she continues her recovery from a torn suspensory ligament.

But the catalog still features some prominent names. One is Grade 1 winner Point Ashley, a finalist in the Eclipse Award balloting for 2006 juvenile filly champion. With the market so strong for fillies and broodmare prospects, owner Ahmed Zayat opted to sell Point Ashley despite her obvious potential as a 3-year-old. He offers her as a racing or broodmare prospect through the Hill 'n' Dale agency. Another 3-year-old filly from Zayat's barn also is in the catalog: Grade 3-placed stakes winner Chief Officer will sell with Taylor Made's consignment.

Another headliner is Star Parade, a millionaire and three-time Grade 1 winner offered by Three Chimneys, agent, as a broodmare prospect.

Also on offer are horses from the F. Eugene "Fitz" Dixon Estate, and dispersals or reductions from Jess Jackson's Stonestreet Stables and breeder Joann Nor. Shares in Victory Gallop, Monarchos, Not for Love, and Smoke Glacken are also cataloged.

While the focus is likely to remain on mares and broodmare prospects, there are a number of horses of both genders and all ages with prominent pedigree connections. Among them are:

* Hip No. 135, 3-year-old Victory Gallop half-sister to Flower Alley;

* Hip No. 145, a yearling Mineshaft half-sister to Lion Heart;

* Hip No. 157, a yearling Dixie Union half-brother to Grade 1 winner Shine Again;

* Hip No. 225, a juvenile Fusaichi Pegasus half-sister to the dam of High Fly;

* Hip No. 244, a yearling half-brother to Great Hunter by Golden Missile;

* Hip No. 277, a Distorted Humor yearling half-brother to Trust N Luck;

* Hip No. 371, a juvenile Empire Maker half-brother to Behrens;

* Hip No. 382, Grade 1-placed and Grade 2 winner Hello Liberty;

* Hip No. 405, a Gone West half-sister to champions Bosra Sham and Hector Protector;

* Hip No. 456, Grade 1 winner Notable Career;

* Hip No. 476, Promenade Colony, dam of Grade 1-placed Promenade Girl, in foal to Smart Strike;

* Hip No. 524, multiple graded winner Solvig, in foal to Afleet Alex;

* Hip No. 567, Tune In to the Cat, dam of Tour of the Cat, and Hip No. 568, her yearling Dixie Union filly;

* Hip No. 644, a yearling Royal Academy half-brother to Single Empire;

* Hip No. 687, a yearling Strong Hope half-sister to Gastronomical;

* Hip No. 704, stakes winner From Away, in foal to War Chant; and

* Hip No. 745, Deeliteful Irving, a Grade 1-placed stakes winner by Afternoon Deelites, offered as a stallion prospect.

Sessions begin daily at 10 a.m. Eastern.

* Frank Stronach's Adena Springs led all North American breeders by earnings in 2006 for the fourth consecutive year with $13,146,955, according to The Jockey Club. Adena Springs-bred runners won 510 races from 3,043 starts. The second-leading North American breeder last year was Sez Who Thoroughbreds, which bred the winners of 324 races and $7,957,900.

* Gainesway Farm in Lexington has added two stakes winners to its 2007 stallion roster: Grade 3 winner Osidy (Storm Cat-Que Belle, by Seattle Dancer) will stand for $4,000, and Grade 2 winner Don't Get Mad (Stephen Got Even-Class On Class, by Jolie's Halo) will stand for $3,000.