01/15/2005 12:00AM

Keeneland level with '04


Four-digit prices were more common than five-digit prices on Saturday at the Keeneland January all-ages sale's closing session. But the afternoon's selling peaked with a sizeable number when a 4-year-old Two Punch filly, Two Bayou, offered as a racing or broodmare prospect, brought $80,000 from Vic Hanson.

Two Bayou already has earned more than twice her purchase price. She is a seven-time winner with $164,547 to her credit. A daughter of Bayou la Batre, Two Bayou is a half-sister to stakes winner and $146,204-earner Wooden Stone. Brookdale Sales, agent, sold the filly on behalf of Flatbird Stable.

When the hammer fell for the final time on Saturday afternoon, the 2005 January auction had sold 1,361 lots for $53,418,000, yielding an average price of $39,249 and a $13,000 median. The gross was up 8 percent from last year's total for 1,258 lots. The average price also rose, but only slightly, from last year's $39,225 to this season's $39,249. The median remained the same from 2004 to 2005, at $13,000.

The 2005 auction had cataloged a record 2,073 lots to the sale.

Saturday's top price was a long way from the sale-topping price of $1.35 million. That was what Reiley McDonald, agent, paid for Toccet's dam, Cozzene's Angel, on Tuesday at the auction's second session. Hill 'n' Dale, agent, sold the mare in foal to Pulpit. McDonald declined to name his client in the purchase, saying only that it was for an anonymous partnership that also bought $4.8 million Santa Catarina and $4.2 million Take Charge Lady at the Keeneland November sale.

The other lot to bring $1 million or more was $1.1 million Native Roots, dam of 2004 Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Wilko, who sold in foal to Street Cry. Will Farish bought the mare from Crescent Hill Farm, agent.

The Keeneland November market was exceptionally strong for broodmares, and its effects may have helped the January auction. Buyers shut out by high prices in November appeared eager to return to January's market and try again.