09/18/2005 11:00PM

Gross tops world mark at midpoint

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Keeneland's September yearling sale, which sold a sale-record $9.7 million Storm Cat-Tranquility Lake colt to Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum, broke its own previous world record for total auction receipts on Monday morning, at the two-week sale's halfway point.

The auction surpassed last year's world-record total of $324,904,300 on Monday when Hip No. 2,216, an Officer colt out of Prim Flower, brought $45,000, bringing the 2005 auction's total receipts at that point to $324,927,500. Peter O'Callaghan's Woods Edge agency sold the colt to Excel Bloodstock.

"When we hit the $300 million mark of Saturday, it was amazing, and we knew we were on track to set another record this year, but to do it on only the seventh day of the sale is a real thrill for everyone involved," said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland's director of sales.

On Sunday, the auction sold 293 lots for $20,642,500, producing an average price of $70,452 and a $55,000 median price. Those figures were up sharply from last year's equivalent session, when 258 yearlings fetched a total of $16,487,000, yielding an average price $63,903 and a $50,500 median.

At Monday's seventh of the sale's 14 sessions, a $400,000 Orientate-Swift Alliance colt was the high seller as of 5 p.m. Welcome Gate Farm purchased the colt from Claiborne Farm, agent. The colt is a half-brother to Grade 3 winner Sky Alliance and to stakes winner Classic Alliance.

By that point, the session also had sold a $375,000 Broken Vow-Darlin Jade colt. Dapple Bloodstock purchased the colt from Mr. and Mrs. Jody Huckabay's Elm Tree Farm, agent.

The Keeneland September auction is the world's largest sale of Thoroughbred yearlings and this year boasted a record catalog of 5,110 horses.

The sale was to continue through Sept. 26, with sessions beginning daily at 10 a.m. in the Keeneland sale pavilion.