09/21/2006 11:00PM

In just 10 days, Keeneland tops world record


LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Keeneland September two-week yearling sale won't end until Monday, but already it has set a world record for gross sales.

The auction's bottom line was boosted this year by a record 5,161-yearling catalog. That allowed the company on Thursday to break its own record, set in 2005. At the end of that day, 2,601 yearlings had sold for $385,707,000, beating last year's entire sale total and record gross of $384,349,900 for 2,640 head.

"We are thrilled at establishing a world-record gross in the first 10 days of this year's sale," said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland's sales director.

Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum's 34 purchases for more than $59.9 million - most notably a sale-record $11.7 million Kingmambo-Crown of Crimson colt from Burleson Farms, agent - added considerably to the auction's financial health. But even late in its second week, when prices traditionally plummet, the sessions were making gains on last year's numbers.

Thursday's 10th session sold 285 horses for $8,523,300, up 6 percent from last year's equivalent session, when 287 lots sold. The 10th-day average of $29,906 also was up 6 percent, while the $20,000 median was level with last year.

It's not just the sheer number of yearlings that has helped the September sale reach a new pinnacle. The auction offers a wide range of yearlings that appeal to a variety of budgets, and the auction house has focused its marketing attention in recent years on bringing a deep pool of buyers to the pavilion.

The highly competitive bidding for yearlings at the opening two days' select sessions also has encouraged wealthier buyers to stay on longer in search of lots they can afford now that Maktoum and his rival, Coolmore Stud's John Magnier, have all but ended their buying for the auction.

On Friday, the session leader at 5:30 p.m. Eastern was a $150,000 Our Emblem-Restless Cat filly that agent Stanley Petter Jr., bought from Overbrook Farm (Eaton Sales, agent).

Britton House Stud dispersal at Tattersalls

The Tattersalls sales company in Newmarket, England, has announced that it will catalog 15 lots from Roger Baines's Britton House Stud - including American Grade 3 winner and Grade 2 producer Mackie - in its upcoming December sale from Nov. 20-Dec. 1 in Newmarket.

The Britton House dispersal will include six broodmares, three broodmare prospects, five foals, and one yearling. Mackie, who is in foal to Unbridled's Song, undoubtedly will be a highlight for American buyers, who may remember that Baines paid a sale-topping $5omillion for her at the 2000 Keeneland January sale. At the time, Mackie was a 7-year-old, and she was carrying her third foal, a Mr. Prospector colt. Now 13, the Summer Squall mare has produced Grade 2 winner Mr. Mellon, stakes-placed Beaucette, and Japanese stakes-placed Seeking the Best. She also is the dam of 2-year-old Danebury Hill, who this year finished third in England's Group 3 Solario Stakes.

Mackie is out of Glowing Tribute, making her a half-sister to 1993 Kentucky Derby winner Sea Hero. In addition to her Grade 3 win in the 1996 Busher Stakes, she also finished third in the Grade 1 Ashland and second in the Grade 3 Fair Grounds Oaks in the same year.

Mackie's 4-year-old daughter Montfleur, by Sadler's Wells, is also among the Britton House broodmares on the auction block at Tattersalls. She is in foal to Tiger Hill.

The other Britton House mares are Solo de Lune, dam of European champion 3-year-old filly L'Ancresse and Group 1 winner Cerulean Sky, in foal to Montjeu; Kenmist, dam of Group 1 winner Grey Lilas, in foal to Danehill Dancer; Kitza, dam of listed winner Fort Dignity, in foal to Pivotal; and Woodyousmileforme, a full sister to Grade 1 winner Ciro.

The other Britton House stock are a Dalakhani-Solo de Lune yearling filly, a Sadler's Wells-Solo de Lune weanling colt, an Elusive Quality-Mackie weanling colt, a Pivotal-Kenmist weanling filly, a Rock of Gibraltar-Woodyousmileforme weanling filly, and a Selkirk-Oyster Catcher weanling filly.

Taylor's Special dies at 25

Taylor's Special died Sept. 19 after breaking his leg in a paddock accident at the Old Friends equine retirement facility near Georgetown, Ky. The Hawkin's Special horse was 25.

Old Friends president Michael Blowen said the stallion had spooked the night before and attempted to jump his paddock gate. Although the resulting abrasions appeared superficial, the following day the horse stepped hard with his left hind leg and it broke.

Veterinarians advised euthanasia.

"They think he might have had some minor hairline fractures from the night before that you wouldn't even know they were there," Blowen said. "But he was the equivalent of an 83-year-old man. The bone just wouldn't bounce back."

In a career that spanned five years, from 1983 to 1987, Taylor's Special won 21 of his 41 lifetime starts, 13 of them stakes. He took the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes in 1984, and his victories included the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby in 1984 and the Grade 2 Washington Park Handicap in 1987. He also set a six-furlong track record of 1:08 at Arlington Park and earned $1,065,805.

Taylor's Special came to Old Friends in 2005 after a Washington state rescue group found him abandoned in a field in Granite Falls, Wash. Old Friends will hold a memorial for Taylor's Special on Oct. 9 at about 5:30 p.m.

In other news from Old Friends, the farm added four-time Grade 1 winner Awad to its ranks on Friday, bringing its number of residents to 22.

o Fasig-Tipton has elected Arthur B. Hancock III to its board of directors, effective immediately. Hancock and his wife, Staci, own Stone Farm near Paris, Ky., and Hancock's family has bought and sold horses through Fasig-Tipton for five generations.