11/07/2014 8:32PM

Keeneland November: Steady returns in fourth session

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Book 2 of the Keeneland November breeding stock sale closed on Friday with steady results that lacked major fireworks, but helped improve the overall average and median.

A total of 245 horses were sold on Friday for returns of $25,351,500, down four percent from last year’s fourth session, when 254 horses sold for $26,333,700. The average sale price dipped 0.19 percent from $103,676 to $103,476, while the median remained steady at $85,000

At the top of the market, five horses sold for $300,000 or more on Friday, compared to 10 to meet or eclipse that figure during last year’s fourth session.

The buyback rate rose from 19 percent to 26 percent for day four.

“The foal market was very strong today,” said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s director of sales. “The mares that had deep pedigrees sold very well, especially the sale-topper. The first two days, the top end was very strong, and as we go into the middle market, it tends to even out. Now we’re going into Book 2 and Book 3 where a lot of people can play over a wide range and I think it evens it all out.”

The session topper came late in the day when Japan-based Shimokobe Farm went to $550,000 to secure Sheikh’s Serenade, a winning Unbridled’s Song mare who sold in foal to Hat Trick.

The 8-year-old Sheikh’s Serenade has had two foals, following a racing career in which she won three of seven starts for earnings of $104,190.

“It’s a good pedigree, and good grooming, smooth moving. She’s a beautiful horse,” said Yukio Shimokobe of Shimokobe Farm. “She had three wins and was an earner of more than $100,000, so we expect her to be a good mare. She’s in foal to Hat Trick, who’s by Sunday Silence. In Japan, he’s a hot stallion, so we also expect [a good foal], too.”

Shimokobe said that the decision to keep Sheikh’s Serenade in the U.S. or send her to his farm in Japan would be made at a later time. The mare’s page, he said, made her a high-priority target in Book 2.

Sheikh’s Serenade is out of the Storm Cat mare Desert Stormer, winner of the 1995 Breeders’ Cup Sprint. That mare is the dam of eight winners from nine foals to race, including Grade 2 winner Sahara Gold, who is herself the dam of multiple Grade 1 winner Better Lucky, Grade 3 winner Sahara Heat, and Forest City Girl, dam of Panamanian champion Outskirt Lady. Desert Stormer also produced stakes placed Ensenada, dam of Grade 2 winner Casino Host. The family includes Group 1 winner White Moonstone and Grade 3 winner Black Onyx.

Warrendale Sales consigned Sheikh’s Serenade as agent for Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Stud, which bred the mare in Kentucky and campaigned her during her on-track career.

“[The price] far exceeded our expectations,” said Hunter Simms of Warrendale Sales. “She’s a lovely mare. It helps with the update of Better Lucky running second in the [Breeders’ Cup] Filly and Mare Sprint. Updates always help, and she was nice. We thought she’d be more in the $200,000 to $300,000 range, so $550,000 for a mare like that is great.

“We’re selling a bunch for Live Oak,” Simms continued. “They’ve got probably 15 more going through. I think they’re just trying to sell some of the mares because they’ve got so many fillies out of the family.”

Elliot Walden’s Maverick Racing purchased the session’s highest-priced weanling, paying $290,000 for a Pioneerof the Nile colt.

The bay colt is out of the winning Cherokee Run mare Indian Love Call, who is the dam of one winner from two foals to race. His page includes Grade 1 winners Gold Fever and Boisterous, as well as Grade 3 winners Lead Kindly Light and Out of Place.

The Kentucky-bred colt was consigned by Shawhan Place, as agent for breeder Glendalough. The transaction made him the most expensive foal to sell at public auction out of Indian Love Call.

Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency was the session’s leading consignor by gross, with 17 horses sold for $2,693,000, including two of the day’s top 10 prices.

Springhouse Farm finished the day as the top buyer, with five purchases totaling $725,000.

After four days of selling, a total of 789 horses brought $150,904,500, up seven percent from the gross at the end of last year’s second book, when 751 horses sold for $141,034,200. The average sale price was up two percent from $187,795 to $191,260, while the median fell five percent from $110,000 to $105,000.

The four-day buyback rate rose from 20 percent to 23 percent.

Six horses sold for $400,000 or more during the two sessions that comprised Book 2, bettering last year’s second book by two.

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

For hip-by-hip results, click here.

Year Sold Gross Average Median Buyback
2014 245 (-4%) $25,351,500 (-4%) $103,476 (-0.19%) $85,000 26%
2013 254 $26,333,700 $103,676 $85,000 19%