11/11/2005 1:00AM

Day 5, and bargain hunters are still out of luck


LEXINGTON, Ky. - A day after seeing Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Stevie Wonderboy's dam sell for $1.1 million, Keeneland's November mixed sale continued to confound bidders hoping for bargains. In its fifth day Friday, the 12-session auction was still reeling off high prices for both mares and weanlings, as major buyers were still on hand to clash over choice lots.

As of 5 p.m., with the sale still under way, the afternoon's top lot was Hip No. 1530, the $625,000 broodmare Scrambling. Gaines-Gentry Thoroughbreds purchased Scrambling, whom it also bred before selling her as a yearling to Robert and Beverly Lewis in 2002. A 4-year-old Silver Deputy mare, Scrambling was cataloged to the November sale in foal to Mr. Greeley. The Taylor Made agency consigned Scrambling. She is out of the Canadian champion sprinter Apelia and is a half-sister to Saoirse, a graded stakes winner who has gone on to produce Grade 1-placed stakes winner Hide and Chic.

On Thursday, Stevie Wonderboy's dam was the sole lot to bring $1 million or more. Hugo Merry Bloodstock and Bluegrass Thoroughbred Services joined forces to secure the $1.1 million mare, Heat Lightning, for Andrew Rosen. Glennwood Farm consigned the mare.

Heat Lightning, a 12-year-old Summer Squall mare, sold in foal to Grade 1 winner Birdstone. She is among the first mares to sell in foal to Birdstone, the 2004 Belmont and Travers winner whose first foals are due in 2006.

Heat Lightning led a series of gains at Thursday's sessions. The fourth day sold 251 lots for gross returns of $24,996,200, well up from last year's total of $18,758,000 for 223 horses. The average increased by 18 percent, from $84,117 to $99,586, and the median increased by 12 percent, from $60,000 at last year's equivalent session to $67,000.

Through the sale's first four days, the last day for which complete figures were available, the auction had sold 884 horses for $224,998,200, up 2 percent from last year, when 914 sold. The cumulative average of $254,523 was a 5 percent increase from this point last year, and the $145,000 median was a 21 percent increase.

The sale continues through Nov. 18 at the Keeneland sale pavilion in Lexington. Sessions begin daily at 10 a.m.

Walden and partners buy Hurricane Hall

Ben Walden Jr. is returning to the stallion business. The former master of Vinery, Walden has partnered with Brad Kelley, Pat Madden, and David Hanley to privately purchase the historic Hurricane Hall property near Georgetown, Ky. The four will maintain the Hurricane Hall name, and Walden will serve as president of the operation. Hanley, an Irishman who bred and trained 2002 champion grass mare Golden Apples during her early career and also trained Irish group winner Lidanna, will be the private trainer for Hurricane Hall.

In addition, Walden will continue to operate his Gracefield farm with his wife, Elaine. Kelley and his wife, Susan, will maintain their Bluegrass Farm, formerly owned by Nelson Bunker Hunt. "All the farms will work in concert," Walden said.

The partners are building a four-stall stallion barn at 400-acre Hurricane Hall and already have six-furlong Polytrack and turf gallops, as well as three training barns.

"We plan to own a few mares, buy a few foals and yearlings, and break a few," Walden said.

As for stallions, Walden said the foursome is in discussions with "a principal in an important horse" and also has contacted the ownership of a second stallion.

"We would love to get a horse for '06," he said, "but we're not going to force this."

When the stallions do arrive, they'll most likely be syndicated.

"We feel there's a real need for breeders to own shares and have something at the end of the day when they pay that stud fee," he said. "There's a hunger out there for good shares in nice horses at a fair value."

Raffle winner gets season to Songandaprayer

David Greathouse is the new owner of a season to Songandaprayer after winning a charity raffle for the mating.

Owner Bobby Hurley and Walmac Farm, which will stand Songandaprayer in 2006 for $35,000, put up the season to benefit Habitat for Humanity's Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Participants purchased raffle tickets for $500, and the drawing for the season took place in Keeneland's auction ring Friday morning.

Songandaprayer is North America's third-leading freshman sire, behind top-ranked Tiznow and El Corredor. His leading runner to date is He's Got Grit, who is undefeated in four starts and has won the Grade 3 Sapling, the Cowdin, and the Tyro Stakes this year.

Songandaprayer is a 7-year-old son of Unbridled's Song and Alizea, by Premiership.