11/10/2016 10:05PM

Keeneland November: Book 2 opens with gains

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The Keeneland November breeding stock sale rolled into Book 2 with across-the-board gains on Thursday, led by the $650,000 broodmare Easy Feeling.

Thursday’s selling featured 222 horses sold for revenues of $31,634,000, up 3 percent from last year’s third session when 229 horses brought $30,788,000.

The average sale price increased 6 percent to $142,495 from $134,445, while the median rose 3 percent to $102,500 from $100,000. The buyback rate closed at 33 percent, up from 27 percent during last year’s comparable session.

“It was pretty consistent with last year, a little tick up in average and median,” said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s director of sales. “The ‘not-sold’ rate went up a bit, which was a little disappointing, but that’s the marketplace. It’s selective, just like all our markets, but the ones that are meting the criteria are selling very, very well.”

No horses surpassed the seven-figure threshold on Thursday, trailing the one to do so last year. However, the number of horses at the $500,000 price point or higher rose to four from one. Horses sold for $250,000 increased to 31 from 26.

David Nagle’s Barronstown Stud purchased session-topper Easy Feeling for $650,000.

The 4-year-old Elusive Quality mare sold in-foal to War Front in her first pregnancy. She won one of 11 starts in the U.S. and France for earnings of $31,824.

Homebred in Kentucky by Joseph Allen, Easy Feeling is out of the winning Storm Cat mare Wonder Woman, whose seven winners from eight runners includes French Group 3-placed stakes winner War Officer, stakes winner Doo Lang, and stakes-placed Verdura.

She is from the family of English Group 1 winner War Command, Grade 2 winner Wandering Star, and French Group 3 winner Naval Officer.

Claiborne Farm consigned the mare, as agent.

"She's a nice mare, very pretty, in foal to one of the hottest sires in the world,” said Walker Hancock of Claiborne Farm, which stands War Front. “The price isn't too surprising. Obviously, the foal she's carrying is a relative to War Command, so that was part of her appeal.”

The session’s top weanling was a Speightstown filly who sold to Stonestreet Stables for $390,000.

Bred in Kentucky by SF Racing Group, the dark bay or brown filly is the second foal out of the Grade 3-winning Smarty Jones mare Nikkis Smartypants, from the extended family of Grade 1 winner Diamondrella and Grade 1-placed Bonnie Blue Flag.

The transaction made the filly the first six-figure auction graduate out of Nikkis Smartypants. Bedouin Bloodstock consigned the filly, as agent.

WinStar Farm’s Pioneerof the Nile was the session’s top covering sire, with three mares in foal bringing a combined $1,180,000. He was also the leading covering sire by average sale price among those with three or more mares sold at $393,333.

Lane’s End was Thursday’s leading consignor by gross, with 35 horses sold for a combined $4,529,000. Emerald Bloodstock topped the list among buyers, with seven purchases totaling $1,395,000.

After three days of trade, a total of 475 horses sold for $134,553,000, trailing the same point of last year’s sale by 4 percent, when 508 horses sold for $139,666,000.

The cumulative average sale price tracked 3 percent ahead of last year, from $274,933 to $283,269, while the median was up 6 percent from $160,000 to $170,000. The buyback rate of 31 percent marked an increase from 27 percent from the same point last year.

The Keeneland November sale continues daily through Nov. 20, with each session beginning at 10 a.m. Eastern.

For complete sale results, click here.