11/04/2014 6:55PM

Keeneland November: First-session figures decline without dispersals

Keeneland photo
Grade 3 winner Naples Bay sold for a session-topping $3.6 million to Coolmore Stud at the Keeneland November breeding stock auction on Tuesday.

Tuesday's opening session of the Keeneland November breeding stock sale was outpaced by last year’s kickoff session, but maintained competitive figures without the benefit of any major dispersals to support the market.

A total of 135 horses were sold during Tuesday’s session for revenues of $41,398,000, down 2 percent compared with the previous year’s opener, when 113 horses brought $42,255,000.

The average price dipped 18 percent on Tuesday, from $373,938 to $306,652, while the median declined by 23 percent, from $220,000 to $170,000.

The buyback rate finished at 25 percent on Tuesday; it was 21 percent during the 2013 opener.

While the opening-session financials were down across the board, it is important to note that last year’s figures were bolstered by a pair of high-profile dispersals, from Robsham Stables and the late Eric Kronfeld. Last year’s Keeneland November sale-topper, the $4 million mare Awesome Maria, was sold during the opening session and came from the Robsham dispersal.

“I was a little disappointed with [the buyback rate], personally, but it’s a fact of the market when you’re at the top end,” said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland's director of sales. “There are horses that have residual value to people and they are willing to protect them at that level.”

M.V. Magnier of the Coolmore partnership signed the $3.6 million ticket on Naples Bay, Tuesday’s session-topper. The Grade 3-winning half-sister to Medaglia d’Oro sold in foal to War Front.

Naples Bay, a 6-year-old daughter of Coolmore sire Giant’s Causeway, was consigned by Claiborne Farm as agent, which stands War Front.

"Naples Bay comes from a great family," Magnier said. "She's by Giant's Causeway. She's in foal to War Front, and we'll be looking forward to seeing that. We're not sure what we're going to do with her, but she could easily go back to [leading Coolmore sire] Galileo. We'll decide in the next couple days."

This was the second trip through the Keeneland November sale ring for Naples Bay. She sold for $350,000 as a weanling to Edward A. Cox Jr., who campaigned her during her on-track career with trainer Christophe Clement.

The mare won 5 of 18 starts, all on turf, for earnings of $338,770. She won the Grade 3 Noble Damsel Stakes and Marshua’s River Stakes and hit the board in two additional Grade 3 stakes. Her Marshua’s River victory came this past January, before she was retired and got in foal to War Front on a February cover.

Bred in Kentucky by Albert and Joyce Bell, Naples Bay is out of the stakes-winning Bailjumper mare Cappucino Bay, whose five winners from seven foals to race are highlighted by Medaglia d’Oro, a three-time Grade 1 winner and one of North America’s leading sires, based at Darley’s Jonabell Farm in Lexington, Ky.

"I want to thank Mr. Cox for letting us sell her," Claiborne's Walker Hancock said. "She's a great mare. I'm very happy for him. She's obviously got every quality to be a great broodmare, and I'm happy for Coolmore to have her.

“We honestly didn't know where she was going to end up,” Hancock said about the mare’s price. “We were obviously pleased. We had some kind of idea from [the Fasig-Tipton sale] last night what mares in foal to War Front were bringing. We were very pleased with the sale."

Stonestreet Stables picked the session’s most expensive weanling, a Speightstown colt, for $375,000.

The gray or roan colt is the first foal out of the winning Unbridled’s Song mare Versailles Song, who sold to Don Alberto Corp. for $700,000 immediately prior to her foal going through the ring. His dam is a half-sister to Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner George Vancouver and to Grade 2 winner and sire Saarland, all out of the four-time Grade 1-winning mare Versailles Treaty.

The colt was bred in Kentucky by SF Bloodstock and was consigned by Bedouin Bloodstock, agent.

Taylor Made Sales Agency finished the session as the leading consignor by gross, with 41 horses sold for revenues of $14,015,000. Grade 1 winner Egg Drop led their group at $1.9 million, going to Bridlewood Farm. She sold in foal to Tapit.

China Horse Club, an international newcomer to the North American auction market, finished as the session’s leading buyer by gross. They purchased six horses for $5,150,000, led by Grade 1 winner Iotapa, who went for $2.8 million as a racing or broodmare prospect. Iotapa, by Afleet Alex, finished third in last Friday’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

The Keeneland November sale continues with a second Book 1 session on Wednesday, beginning at 11 a.m. Eastern. The sale then holds daily sessions beginning at 10 a.m. through Nov. 14.

For hip-by-hip results, click here.

–additional reporting by Nicole Russo

Keeneland November breeding stock sale, first session results:

Year Sold Gross Average Median Buyback
2014 135 (+19%) $41,398,000 (-2%) $306,652 (-18%) $170,000 (-23%) 25%
2013 113 $42,255,000 $373,938 $220,000 21%