01/10/2008 12:00AM

Demand declines at Keeneland sale


LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Keeneland January sale's Thursday market peaked at $260,000 and ended with mixed results overall.

The fourth of seven sessions sold 239 horses, down from 247 at last year's equivalent session. The 2008 gross dropped 27 percent to $6,725,800, and average price also fell by 24 percent to $28,141. But the median price jumped by 25 percent to hit $20,000.

The day's top price of $260,000 was for Hip No. 1261, an unraced Seeking the Gold filly named Yes She Is. Stoneway Farm made the purchase from Brookdale Sales, agent. The 3-year-old filly was cataloged as a broodmare prospect. She is out of the Grade 1-winning Deputy Minister mare Well Chosen.

Stoneway Farm is owned by Jim Stone, president of the Louisville, Ky., trucking company Mercer Transportation and the breeder of 2007 Spinaway Stakes winner Irish Smoke.

Thursday's figures came after double-digit declines at Wednesday's third session, which Keeneland's director of sales, Geoffrey Russell, noted was partly a function of change in overall quality as the sale progressed.

"As the stock goes from Book 1 to Book 2, the quality changes," Russell said, referring to the two-day catalogs buyers and sellers refer to as books. "Demand follows quality. People are looking for the top of what they want, and if they don't find it, they don't buy."

Overproduction also has played a role in the downturn, he added.

"There are too many horses, and there aren't enough at the level these buyers want," he said.

The Keeneland January sale was to continue through Jan. 13, with sessions beginning daily at 10 a.m. in the Keeneland sale pavilion.

Gibbs tops personal best

Consignor B.D. Gibbs of Greenfield Farm scored a personal best in the auction ring with Monday's $1.5 million sale of the broodmare Gwen's Song. Gibbs sold Gwen's Song on behalf of Sunland Park owner Stan Fulton, who is dispersing most of his bloodstock, and the price that Aaron and Marie Jones paid for the mare surpassed Gibbs's only other million-dollar sale. That was in 2005, when the Greenfield agency sold the Gone West filly Chipara for $1 million at the Keeneland September yearling auction.

The Greenfield operation covers 350 acres on Russell Cave Road in Lexington.

Gibbs got to know Fulton several years ago through the owner's bloodstock adviser, Tim McMurry.

"I took the horses he bought, laid them up, and then sent them on," Gibbs said. "I had all his race lay-ups and post-surgical horses, at least from the East Coast."

Gibbs called Gwen's Song "the last of the Stan Fultons."

"It's a personal decision he made," Gibbs said of Fulton's downsizing. "He'll probably maintain a few horses because of his ownership of Sunland Park."

Gwen's Song, a 5-year-old Unbridled's Song mare, went through the ring in foal to Distorted Humor.

"I think it was rather justified," Gibbs said of Gwen's Song's price tag. "Her conformation, pedigree, who she's in foal, all three add up to a package you can justify spending that on."

New stallions in California

A pair of California stud farms are welcoming two new stallions for 2008. Tommy Town Thoroughbreds will add two-time Grade 1 winner Proud Tower Too to its roster, and Victory Rose Thoroughbreds will stand recently retired Grade 2 winner Trickey Trevor.

Tommy Town, located in Santa Ynez, will stand Proud Tower Too for $5,000. The 6-year-old Proud Irish horse retired last year after injuring a tendon, closing the book on a racing career that included a victory over eventual Eclipse Award-winning sprinter Thor's Echo in the 2006 Golden Shaheen in Dubai and an earlier Grade 1 score in the 2005 Malibu Stakes. He retired with a lifetime record of 7 wins from 22 starts and earnings of $1,735,572.

Proud Tower Too is a California-bred son of the Irish Tower mare Dora's Tower. He is a full brother to Grade 3 winner Proud Tower and stakes winner Proud Cardenal. He was expected to arrive Sunday at Tommy Town.

At Victory Rose near Vacaville, Trickey Trevor also will stand for $5,000. The 9-year-old Demaloot Demashoot horse won 20 of his 47 lifetime starts, most notably the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Handicap in 2006 and five other stakes races, and set a five-furlong track record of 56.01 seconds at Bay Meadows in 2004. He retires with earnings of $701,224.

Trickey Trevor, who also is Grade 3-placed, is out of the Silver Deputy mare Show Your Pride. He is a half-brother to stakes-placed Brooklet and Christmas Ship.

"I just think he'll be well received in Northern California, because he's run here for so long," said Victory Rose owner Ellen Jackson. "Everyone loved watching Trickey Trevor run."