11/05/2014 8:07PM

Keeneland November: Record weanling pushes gains

Keeneland photo
A Tapit filly set a $3 million record price for a weanling sold in North America on Wednesday at the Keeneland November sale.

The Keeneland November breeding stock sale picked up momentum during its second and final Book 1 session, paced by 11 seven-figure horses and a $3 million Tapit filly that set a record price for a weanling sold at public auction in North America.

A total of 138 horses were sold Wednesday for revenues of $54,454,000. That figure increased 23 percent compared with the second-session gross last year, when 129 horses sold for $44,277,000.

Wednesday’s average sale price rose 15 percent, from $343,233 to $394,594. The median increased 7 percent, from $220,000 to $235,000.

The eleven horses that reached seven figures during the session improved on eight sold at the second Book 1 session in 2013. Three horses brought over $2 million on Wednesday.

The buyback rate finished at 22 percent, up slightly from last year’s second-session figure of 20 percent.

A new sale-topper was established on Wednesday when Irish Group 3 winner Aloof was purchased for $3.9 million by Mandy Pope's Whisper Hill Farm.

The 5-year-old daughter of international titan Galileo sold in foal to popular young commercial sire War Front, and Pope said the mare would be sent back to War Front in 2015. Aloof was consigned by Paramount Sales, agent.

"She's a lovely Galileo mare from an outstanding family," Pope said of her new purchase. "She was a very good racehorse in foal to War Front, so we're getting a little bit of the European flair going. We're spreading our boundaries.

“[The price] was more than I thought,” Pope continued. “I thought it would be $2 million, so the price was about twice what I thought she would go for. Galileo is the best stallion, he and Tapit, and her being in foal to War Front, you couldn't ask for anything more. She was beautiful and leggy, which I think will help – the War Fronts have a little bit of leg and can be a little plain. I think she'll have a pretty War Front [foal].”

Aloof won the Group 3 Fillies' Stakes in Ireland and placed in five other group stakes events during her racing career, bankrolling $170,939. The War Front foal will be her first.

"She was a queen all week, and we knew she'd sell well,” said Paramount’s Pat Costello of Aloof. “The price was a little beyond our expectations, but the market is what it is. She's a big, scopey mare, and to do what she did on the racetrack, that was just an addition – and she's in foal to War Front, one of the hottest sires in the world. She couldn't be more appealing."

Bridlewood Farm bought the record-setting Tapit filly late in Wednesday's session. She was consigned by Hill 'n' Dales Sales Agency, as agent. Her price surpassed the previous North American record of $2.7 million that Globe Equine Management paid for Amour Malheureux at the 2006 Keeneland November sale.

"Physically, she's the best filly on the grounds," said Bridlewood general manager George Isaacs. "You couldn't draw a picture any prettier. I think we were at the max, but [Bridlewood Farm owner John Malone] is a strong guy, and he gave me the green light to $2 million. I had him on the phone and I said, 'I'm good to call it quits here at $2.5 million,' and he said, 'No, keep going.' At $2.8 million, they bid $2.9 million, and he said, 'Well, bid $3 million. Go ahead.' You can't scare him away if he likes something."

The record-priced filly is out of the stakes-winning Storm Cat mare Serena's Cat, making her a half-sister to Grade 2 winners Noble Tune and Honor Code. The latter is by A.P. Indy, the grandsire of Tapit.

Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency led Wednesday’s consignors by gross revenues, with 19 horses sold for $14,840,000. The consignment of John G. Sikura handled three of the day’s top four-priced offerings and five of the 11 to bring seven figures during Wednesday’s session.

Don Alberto Corp. was the session’s leading buyer, with four purchases totaling $7,050,000. The Chilean-based operation accounted for three of the day’s six most expensive offerings.

At the two Book 1 sessions at Keeneland November, a total of 273 horses sold for a combined $95,852,000, 11 percent better than last year’s Book 1 total of $86,532,000 from 242 sold. The cumulative average dipped 2 percent, from $357,570 to $351,106, while the median decreased 9 percent, from $220,000 to $200,000. The Book 1 buyback rate was 24 percent; last year, it was 20 percent.

Eighteen horses sold for seven figures during Book 1, bettering last year’s comparative figure of 14.

The Keeneland November sale continues daily through Nov. 14, with sessions beginning at 10 a.m. Eastern.

For hip-by-hip results, click here.

- additional reporting by Nicole Russo

Keeneland November breeding stock sale, second session results:

Year Sold Gross Average Median Buyback
2014 138 (+7%) $54,454,000 (+23%) $394,594 (+15%) $235,000 (+7%) 22%
2013 129 $44,277,000 $343,233 $220,000 20%