01/12/2012 5:11PM

Keeneland January: Pair of broodmares bring $90,000 apiece


Mares returned to the fore Thursday at the Keeneland January all-ages auction’s final session, where a pair of $90,000 broodmares were the most expensive offerings by late afternoon.

A day after short yearlings – weanlings that became yearlings on Jan. 1 – dominated the price board, the broodmares La Defense and Rendezvous Point were co-session leaders at 3:45 p.m. Eastern. The Elm Tree Farm agency sold La Defense, a 14-year-old Wild Again mare and the dam of stakes winner Quelle Surprise, to McMahon and Hill, LLC. She was cataloged in foal to Munnings. Several hours later, Diamond G Ranch of Oklahoma also went to $90,000 for the Mill Ridge agency’s Rendezvous Point, a Kingmambo half-sister to graded winner and sire Five Star Day and to the dam of Grade 2 winner High Finance. The 11-year-old mare was in foal to Discreet Cat.

The most expensive weanling at that time was the $72,000 Awesome Again-A B C Amanda colt that Fred Hertrich bought from the Hidden Brook agency. The March 24 foal is a half-brother to Grade 1-placed Mystery Girl.

Wednesday’s next-to-last session continued a trend of strong gains. The session grossed $4,255,900 for 263 horses. The aggregate was 48 percent up from the total for 227 at last year’s third session. Average price escalated by 28 percent, $16,182 versus $12,679 last year, and median climbed 7 percent, from $7,000 last year to $7,500.

Cumulatively, the first three days have sold 750 horses for $34,371,200; that’s 53 percent more than 619 had brought by day 3 last year. The three-day average, $45,828, is up 26 percent, and the $20,000 median gained 54 percent.

Session and cumulative buybacks also showed improvement. Wednesday’s buyback rate was 17 percent, down from 2011’s figure of 25 percent, and cumulative buybacks fell to 20 percent from 28 percent in 2011.

Yearlings were the best sellers Wednesday, taking four of the day’s top five spots by price. The high-water mark for the day was Glen Hill Farm’s $180,000 buy, an April 8 Kitten’s Joy filly out of the stakes-placed Danzig mare Garden Spot. The Taylor Made Sales agency sold the fillies, whose half-siblings include the winners Formaggio and Saint Spot.