09/17/2008 11:00PM

Keeneland declines continue

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One day after coming off its steepest declines, the Keeneland September sale resumed selling Thursday with a $190,000 Tale of the Cat colt the late session leader.

WinStar Farm-affiliated Maverick Racing purchased the colt, a son of stakes-placed Dehere of the Dog, by Dehere, from Peter O'Callaghan's Woods Edge Farm, agent. The colt is a half-brother to multiple winner Dirty Water Dog.

Wednesday's session had the deepest losses of any session so far at the two-week auction with declines across the board ranging from 25 percent to 30 percent. The session, the auction's ninth, sold 266 yearlings, down from 286 last season on the equivalent day, for $10,244,800; that was 30 percent less than the 2007 gross on Day 9. The day's average price of $38,514 was down 25 percent, and the $30,000 median was 29 percent lower. Buy-backs jumped from 21 percent to 25 percent.

Wednesday's session topper was a Tiznow filly out of Grade 2 winner Katz Me If You Can, bought by Legends Racing from Overbrook Farm, which sold her through the Eaton Sales Agency.

Through Wednesday's session, the auction's nine-day cumulative gross was $305,698,100 for 2,233 yearlings, a drop of 14 percent from last year. The $136,900 average was down 12 percent, and the $80,000 median was down 11 percent. Buy-backs overall were up only slightly, from 24.5 percent to 25.1 percent.

Big buyers were still on the grounds, as were the kinds of foreign buyers who shored up late sessions at the 2007 sale. But this time they were more conservative in cherry-picking the catalog. Much like Wall Street investors rushing away from risk in favor of the most dependable investments, Keeneland buyers were willing to pay a premium for fillies with better pedigrees, which generally have more residual value as future broodmares. The session-topper, a $400,000 Tiznow filly out of Grade 2 winner Katz Me If You Can, suggested the power a perceived standout could still command in the ring. Legends Racing scooped the filly up from Overbrook Farm, which sold her through the Eaton Sales Agency.

The auction is to continue through Tuesday.