01/09/2014 9:43PM

Keeneland January: Sale finishes with improved median, clearance rate

Keeneland photo
Ponche de Leona, the dam of Mucho Macho Man, sold for the highest price at the Keeneland January sale, bringing $775,000.

While it lacked the flash of last year’s renewal, the 2014 Keeneland January horses of all ages sale posted an improved median sales figure and buyback rate, with a steady middle market driving the trade.

After four days of selling, a total of 1,027 horses changed hands for revenues of $41,025,700, down 9 percent compared with the previous year, where 1,105 horses sold over five days for $45,207,300. The average sale price fell 2 percent, from $40,912 to $39,947, while the median rose 33 percent to $20,000 after finishing at $15,000 in 2013.

The buyback rate was 20 percent, down from last year’s rate of 25 percent.

“It’s tough in spots,” said Peter Kirwan, who signed the ticket on Thursday’s session-topper, Grade 3 winner Scatman. “When the right horse is here, the money’s here, but there’s softer spots, too. The money was spread out across the board, and I think people were generally not that aggressive. They knew how to stop. Everybody’s appraising the horses to what they can do.”

Indicating the strength of the open market, the sale posted gains and a decreased buyback rate without the benefit of a cornerstone dispersal, as it had in 2013 with Issam Fares’s Fares Farm.

Removing the Fares dispersal from the 2013 final figures, total revenues and average sale price each rose 8 percent in 2014.

Ponche de Leona, dam of Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man, sold for $775,000 to Betty Moran’s Brushwood Stable to finish as the January sale’s most expensive horse.

The 15-year-old Ponche mare was offered in foal to Distorted Humor. She was consigned by Blake-Albina Thoroughbred Services, agent.

A stakes winner who earned $260,870, Ponche de Leona produced Mucho Macho Man as her second foal. Reiley McDonald of Eaton Sales, who signed the ticket on the broodmare for Moran, said Ponche de Leona may re-visit Tapit in 2014 after delivering her Distorted Humor foal.

A Kitten’s Joy-Gata Bella colt was the highest-priced short yearling of the sale, selling to Philip Blake for $235,000. The Kentucky-bred colt was consigned by Castle Park Farm, agent.

Taylor Made Sales Agency finished the sale as the leading consignor by gross, with 99 horses sold for revenues of $4,126,200. Ben Glass, the bloodstock agent for owners Gary and Mary West, was the leading buyer with 30 purchases totaling $1,682,000.

Thursday’s fourth and final session finished with 273 horses sold for revenues of $4,563,300, up 35 percent compared with last year’s fourth session. The average sale price of $16,715 improved 22 percent, while the median finished at $10,000, rising 43 percent. The buyback rate fell from 19 percent to 16 percent.

The session was led by Grade 3 winner Scatman, who sold to trainer Eddie Kenneally, as agent, for $135,000. The 5-year-old Scat Daddy horse, winner of last year’s Aristides Stakes at Churchill Downs, was scheduled to immediately ship to Kenneally’s barn at Palm Meadows in Florida to race for an unnamed client. Scatman was consigned by Greenfield Farm, agent.

For hip-by-hip results, click here.

Keeneland January horses of all ages sale, cumulative results:

Year Sold Gross Average Median Buyback
2014 1,027 (-7%) $41,025,700 (-9%) $39,947 (-2%) $20,000 (+33%) 20%
2013 1,105 $45,207,300 $40,912 $15,000 25%