01/11/2011 11:05AM

Candy Ride yearling fetches $300,000 at Keeneland sale


LEXINGTON, Ky. – A day after three Grade 1 winners pushed its opening session to large gains, the Keeneland January all-ages sale started its second day with a bang Tuesday.

Brian Graves stretched his budget to pay $300,000 for a chestnut Candy Ride yearling he intends to prepare for resale at a select yearling auction later this year. Warrendale Sales, agent, consigned the March 2-foaled yearling, who is the first foal out of the Gentlemen mare Gentlemen’s Crown. The mare is a half-sister to Chocolate Candy, making the $300,000 colt closely related to that graded winner and Grade 1-placed runner.

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Ave and two other Grade 1 winners, Wickedly Perfect and Negligee, boosted the opening session’s bottom line Monday. The first session sold 187 horses for $10,687,600, a $57,153 average, and a $20,000 median. The gross and average were up 62 percent and 54 percent, respectively, on a larger catalog, a higher-priced session-topper, and the influx of pricey Grade 1 winners. Importantly, the median held exactly level with last year in a sign that the market is showing hoped-for stability.

But the buyback rate rose from last year’s 30 percent to 35 percent.

Graves called Tuesday’s session-leading colt “the best horse in the sale” among so-called short yearlings, weanlings that became yearlings on Jan. 1.

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“I was prepared for two and a quarter or two-fifty,” Graves said after signing the ticket. “I was walking away at $275,000, and I went back one more time.”

Graves outbid former WinStar principal Bill Casner.

“Those are the right kind of people to beat, the end-users,” Graves said. “Hopefully, there will be more like him when we bring him back” to sell later in the year.