01/13/2015 9:05PM

Keeneland January: Marquee mare and yearling take command on Day 2

Keeneland Photo
Up sells for $2.2 million at Keeneland January sale.

After a workmanlike opening day of trade, all eyes were on Group 2 winner Up and her yearling War Front filly to make waves heading into Tuesday’s session of the Keeneland January horses of all ages sale.

The duo delivered in spades, taking the sale’s respective top spots among broodmares and yearlings, while helping propel a slight rise in average sale price on the day.

Tuesday’s session finished with 248 horses sold for a gross of $15,191,200, down 10 percent from the previous year’s second session total of $16,794,200 from 276 sold.

The day two average sale price rose 0.67 percent from $60,849 to $61,255, while the median fell 14 percent from $35,000 to $30,000. The buyback rate rose from 17 percent in 2014 to 26 percent in 2015.

“Breeding stock sales vary from year to year, and what people are aiming for changes from year to year,” Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s director of sales, said about the buyback rate. “It’s just a factor of the market and we’d like it to be less.”

Multiple group stakes winner Up, whose page combined two popular commercial sires, and her first foal created long-awaited fireworks on Tuesday and drew the sale’s two highest prices of Book 1.

The broodmare sold for $2.2 million to Ran Jan Racing, while her newly-turned yearling War Front filly fetched $800,000 to LNJ Foxwoods.

Up, a 6-year-old daughter of international titan Galileo was consigned by Four Star Sales, as agent. The mare sold carrying a foal by popular young commercial sire War Front. Up's first foal, the yearling War Front filly also consigned by Four Star, immediately followed her through the ring.

Up’s price made her the most expensive horse sold at the Keeneland January sale since the mare Irish Cherry topped the 2008 sale, going to Southern Equine Stables for $2.7 million. The War Front filly’s price made her the sixth most-expensive yearling filly ever sold at Keeneland January, and the eighth most expensive yearling all-time at the sale. Up's price tag also made her the most expensive horse ever sold by consignor Four Star Sales, as agent.

"I think whenever you're dealing with collector's items, you're dealing with people who own them that are obviously very wealthy, and they don't just give them away," Kerry Cauthen of Four Star said of the duo. "You're always concerned that you're not going to get your buyers and sellers together. I thought [Up] was a very special mare, and I really didn't doubt that she'd get sold, and I thought it was a really fair price. I thought buyer and seller had a fair trade.”

Up was a solid racemare during her own career, winning the Group 2 Blandford Stakes and the Group 3 Fillies Stakes in Ireland, and finishing second in the French 1000 Guineas. She is one of four winners out of her dam, the Spectrum mare Halland Park Lass, who also produced English Group 1 winner Dutch Art. Up's second dam is German highweight Palacegate Episode, dam of Scandanavian champion King Quantas.

"We just love the pedigree, love War Front, love Galileo," said Frank Taylor, who signed the ticket on Up for Ran Jan. "The family's active, there's a good stallion in the pedigree, so that's something they wanted. They've been wanting a Galileo mare for a long time, so she was the one. ... [The price is] about where we pegged her. We looked at some comparable horses by Galileo and in foal to War Front and they were bringing a lot of money, so we thought that was a fair price. We actually just made one bid and we got her then."

Taylor said it was undecided if the new owners would sell or race the foal Up is carrying, and no breeding plans for the mare have been discussed yet.

Up delivered the War Front filly purchased by LNJ Foxwoods on March 13, 2014 and is back in foal to the stallion on a March 30 cover.

"It was a great foal out of a Group 2-winning mare," said Katey Caddel, a representative for Solis/Litt Bloodstock, which purchased the yearling on behalf of LNJ Foxwoods. "She's a half sister to a really nice stallion over in Europe. ... We plan on racing her, and be added to the broodmare band eventually.

"It's a really good physical and a good cross between a War Front and a Galileo," said Caddel, adding that the outfit did not bid on Up. "Good length to her, really smooth mover, so she ticked all the boxes for us."

Four Star Sales was the session’s leading consignor by gross, with 22 horses sold for a combined $3,620,000, led by the session’s top broodmare and yearling. Ran Jan was the session’s leading buyer with the lone purchase of the session-topper.

After two days of selling, a total of 452 horses changed hands for revenues of $27,798,400, down nine percent from 2014 when 508 horses brought $30,509,100 through the end of Book 1.

The cumulative average was up two percent from $60,057 to $61,501, while the median dropped 14 percent from $35,000 to $30,000. The two-day buyback rate rose from 21 percent to 29 percent.

Four horses brought $400,000 or more during Book 1 of the 2015 Keeneland January sale, down from five last year.

The short yearling market showed growth at the top, with six horses in that sector bringing $200,000 or more in Book 1, besting the four to do so in 2014.

“Yearlings sold very well today,” Russell said. “There was plenty of money for the quality yearlings. Most of them will probably come back here in September, so they have to go through a lot of hoops.”

The Keeneland January sale continues with Book 2 sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, beginning at 10 a.m. Eastern.

For complete sale results, click here.

- Additional reporting by Nicole Russo

Year Sold Gross Average Median Buyback
2015 248 (-10%) $15,191,200 (-10%) $61,255 (+0.67%) $30,000 (-14%) 26%
2014 276 $16,794,200 $60,849 $35,000 17%