01/08/2013 9:04PM

Keeneland January Sale: Fares Farm dispersal drives gains in second session

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A Street Sense filly sold for $1.45 million on Tuesday to become the new sale topper at the Keeneland January sale

Boosted greatly by the high-profile dispersal of Fares Farm, economic indicators at Tuesday’s session of the Keeneland January horses of all ages sale generated across-the-board gains compared with last year.

A total of 248 horses sold during Tuesday’s session for revenues of $20,013,700, up 24 percent compared with last year’s second-day total of $16,183,100 from 278 sold. Average sale price rose 39 percent from $58,213 to $80,700, while median of $40,000 spiked 48 percent from $27,000 at last year’s second session.

The buyback rate rose slightly compared to last year, up to 17 percent after finishing at 16 percent in 2012.

“It was a real good day today,” said Walt Robertson, Keeneland’s vice president of sales. “I thought that quality short yearlings sold really well, and I was happy to see it.”

Figures remained competitive when the Fares dispersal was removed from the equation, with 194 open market horses sold on Tuesday for a total of $13,277,700, down 18 percent compared with last year’s second session. However the average price of $68,442 remained superior, finishing 18 percent higher than last year.

Those figures helped illustrate the continued strength for high-end offerings at the January sale, highlighted by a pair of horses that sold for over $1 million, bringing the total for the sale to three. Last year’s January sale produced only one million-dollar horse.

The dispersal of Issam Fares’ Fares Farm generated consistent trade throughout the day, with 54 horses sold for $6,736,000, with an average price of $124,740 and a median of $102,500. The highest price to come from the dispersal, handled by consignor Lane’s End as agent, was Supreme, an Empire Maker mare in foal to Giant’s Causeway, who sold to Stonestreet Farm for $800,000.

"It looks like the dispersal horses are selling really well,” said John Moynihan, who signed the ticket for Supreme. “Based on past years, any time there's a dispersal, those horses always out-sell themselves. They always do well. I think if you bring horses in without reserves—you know what happened last year with Ned Evans [whose Spring Hill Farm was dispersed at the 2011 Keeneland November breeding stock sale with record-breaking results]. Crazy money. This isn't that crazy, but it's still really, really healthy."

A new overall sale-topper was established on Tuesday when Nat Rea’s Regis Farms went to $1.45-million to buy a yearling filly by Street Sense, making her the second-highest-priced yearling ever sold at the January sale.

The dark bay or brown filly, a March foal, is out of the Grade 3-placed stakes winner Please Sign In, who has produced two winners from three to race, including Certify, who was named Europe’s champion 2-year-old filly in 2012, and Grade 1 winner Cry and Catch Me.

Bred in Kentucky by the partnership of Alfred Nuckols Jr.’s Hurstland Farm, William Kartozian, and Darley, the filly was consigned by Hurstland Farm as agent.

The sale was clearly an emotional one for Nuckols, who was congratulated by several breeders, consignors and Keeneland sales employees in the minutes following the drop of the hammer. Nuckols said it was the highest price he has ever gotten for one of his own fillies.

“I’ve had the whole family for four generations, and she’s probably the nicest individual to come along so far,” he said. “Her mother is such a great mare. I raced her mother, and I’ve always just loved this family. This has been a very special family for the Hurstland family and the Nuckols family. It’s a very, very large privilege to still have a part of this family, especially when it sells like this.”

Tuesday’s session was also highlighted by a pair of Grade 3-winning half-sisters, Keertana and Snow Top Mountain, consigned by Four Star Sales as agent for the late Barbara Hunter’s Brownwood Farm.

Keertana, a 7-year-old Johar mare, sold to Denali Stud as agent for an unnamed domestic buyer, for $1 million. Snow Top Mountain, a 6-year-old Najran mare who sold in foal to Blame, went to Virginia-based Audley Farm for $950,000. Both mares are out of Storm Cat mare Motokiks.

“It’s a family that’s never really been sold,” said Tony Lacy of Four Star Sales, who was brought on as an equine consultant at Brownwood about 2 1/2 years ago. “It’s an heirloom of Barbara’s. It’s a credit to Barbara and her legacy. I’m very proud for her.”

Lane’s End was the leading consigner on Day Two, greatly helped by the Fares dispersal, with 68 horses sold for revenues of $8,402,500. Along with Supreme, Grade 3-winning racing or broodmare prospect Salty Strike (not from the Fares dispersal) also commanded $800,000 on Tuesday for Lane’s End.

Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings purchased both of those mares, and was the day’s leading buyer with three horses bought for a combined $1,820,000.

Through two sessions, Keeneland reported total receipts of $35,345,100 from 449 horses sold, a 17 percent increase compared with 2012, when 487 horses brought $30,115,300. Average through two sessions rose 27 percent to $78,720, and median climbed 17 percent to $35,000.

The sale resumes Wednesday and will run through Friday, Jan. 11, with sessions starting at 10 a.m. Eastern.

For hip-by-hip results, click here.

Keeneland January horses of all ages sale: second session
Year Sold Total Average Median Buyback
2013 248 (-11%) $20,013,700 (+24%) $80,700 (+39%) $40,000 (+48%) 17%
2012 278 $16,183,100 $58,213 $27,000 16%
Keeneland January horses of all ages sale: cumulative
Year Sold Total Average Median
2013 449 (-8%) $35,345,100 (+17%) $78,720 (+27%) $35,000 (17%)
2012 487 $30,115,300 $61,838 $30,000