11/10/2008 1:00AM

Giant's Causeway colt a bright spot


LEXINGTON, Ky. - After four consecutive days of declines, Keeneland's November breeding stock sale still showed some strength at the top of the market Friday, Day 5 of the two-week sale. But the overall losses appeared likely to continue.

By 5:30 p.m., the session leader was a $310,000 weanling colt by Giant's Causeway out of Queen's Music, a Dixieland Band mare. The colt is a half-brother to Group 2-placed Anna Walhaan. Clear Ridge Stable was the purchaser from Noel Murphy's Castle Park Farm, agent.

At Thursday's fourth session, the last for which complete figures were available, the downturn continued. The session sold 201 horses for $16,556,000, a loss of 41 percent from the equivalent 2007 session's gross for 237 horses. The session average fell 31 percent to $82,368, and median dropped 32 percent to $65,000. Buybacks were at 35 percent, up from 26 percent in 2007.

The four-day cumulative declines were even deeper. Through Thursday, the November auction had sold 724 horses for $131,281,000, which was 47 percent less than the proceeds for 875 horses at the same point last year. The four-day average was down 36 percent to $181,327, while the $100,000 median represented a drop of 33 percent. Buybacks also were up, climbing from 22 percent to 34 percent.

Keeneland's November sale, which featured a record catalog of 5,709, was to run through Nov. 17. Sessions begin at 10 a.m. daily.

Ashford Stud drops some stud fees

Coolmore's Kentucky division, Ashford Stud, is the latest farm to announce significant cuts in stud fees for 2009.

The Versailles, Ky., farm will leave its highest-priced sire, Giant's Causeway, at $125,000, but it drops the fees for eight others on its 13-horse roster for 2009. They are Dehere, who falls from $17,500 to $15,000; Fusaichi Pegasus, from $45,000 to $30,000; Grand Slam, from $35,000 to $25,000; Johannesburg, from $65,000 to $35,000; Scat Daddy, from $30,000 to $22,500; Tale of the Cat, from $37,500 to $30,000; Thunder Gulch, from $20,000 to $15,000; and Van Nistelrooy, from $25,000 to $15,000.

Ashford will introduce two new stallions in 2009: Henrythenavigator, who will begin his career with a $65,000 fee, and Majestic Warrior, who will stand for $20,000 in his first season.

The fees for Lion Heart ($20,000) and Powerscourt ($7,500) will remain at their 2008 levels.

In Lexington, Walmac Farm has lowered fees for all but Tenpins, who stays at $6,500. The others are Bandini, from $17,500 to $15,000; Cactus Ridge, from $8,500 to $6,000; Hat Trick, $15,000 to $12,500; Songandaprayer, $25,000 to $22,500; and Successful Appeal, $40,000 to $22,500.

The debuting Ready's Image and Salute the Sarge stand for $12,500 and $7,500, respectively.

Airdrie Stud raised two of its sires' fees, boosting Indian Charlie from $50,000 to $75,000 and Proud Citizen from $25,000 to $30,000. But the Midway farm lowered fees for all 10 of its stallions standing below $25,000. They are Badge of Silver, $12,500; Canadian Frontier, $5,000; Flashy Bull, $8,500; Forest Grove, $5,000; Friends Lake, $12,500; Include, $17,500; Istan, $8,500; Slew City Slew, $5,000; Stevie Wonderboy, $15,000; and Yankee Gentleman, $6,500.

Harlan's Holiday, listed as private this year, will stand for $30,000, and the farm's two new stallions, Brother Derek and Divine Park, will stand for $10,000 and $17,500, respectively.

Roach purchases new Kentucky farm

Tom Roach, who sold his family's Parrish Hill Farm in Midway, Ky., to Southern Equine Stables in June, has now purchased a new farm near Versailles, Ky.

Roach expects to close on his private purchase of Oakland, a 125-acre property formerly operated by Tom Thornbury, by Dec. 1.

"We've got some of the horses already moved out there and we're optimistic," Roach said. "We found a couple of little hills out there in the fields, so it's still going to be Parrish Hill."

Roach said the farm eventually will have about 50 mares and a total of approximately 85 horses at the peak of the season, with mares, weanlings, and layups.

"We're Woodford County people, and it's only 10 minutes from Midway, and we wanted to still be in the same general area," Roach said. "It's very pretty land, quiet and peaceful."

* The Kentucky Horse Park will hold a memorial service for a horse the Roach family bred at Parrish Hill, the champion and Hall of Famer Princess Rooney, at the mare's gravesite at noon on Saturday. The service, co-hosted by the park and Gentry Brothers Farm, will be held near the park's Big Barn. Princess Rooney died last month, age 28, at Gentry Brothers Farm in Lexington.

* Multiple graded winner Zanjero has retired to stud at Millennium Farms in Lexington, where he will stand for $10,000. The 4-year-old Cherokee Run colt won four stakes, three of them graded, in a career that saw him victorious in 6 of 18 starts. He earned $1,620,786. Zanjero is out of the A.P. Indy mare Checkered Flag, making him a full sibling to Grade 2-placed Acacia and a half-brother to stakes winner Victory Lap.

* Dual graded winner Cowtown Cat has retired to Journeyman Stud in Florida, where he'll stand for $8,000. The 4-year-old Distorted Humor colt won 4 of 16 races and earned $562,228. A son of Tom's Cat, by Storm Cat, he won the Illinois Derby and Gotham Stakes.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated as Wednesday the date of the memorial service at the Kentucky Horse Park for Princess Rooney.