11/07/2013 10:35PM

Keeneland November: Upper-middle market carries momentum through day three

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The Keeneland November breeding stock sale transitioned smoothly into its second book on Thursday, as the spotlight shifted to upper-middle-market horses.

A total of 255 horses sold during Thursday’s session for revenues of $28,168,500, an increase of 26 percent compared with last year’s day three total of $22,278,500 from 234 sold. The average sale price rose 16 percent, from $95,207 to $110,465, while the median price of $90,000 marked a 20 percent improvement over last year’s figure of $75,000. The buyback rate held steady with the low rates from the Book 1 segment, falling from 31 percent at last year’s third session to 20 percent on Thursday.

“I think the market carried on from Book 1 very well,” said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s director of sales. “There was strong, competitive bidding for both mares and foals all through the day, and we hope this momentum continues.”

Leading Thursday’s session was Little Bug, an 8-year-old Dixie Union mare who sold to Twin Creeks Farm for $410,000.

The mare, sold in foal to Tiznow, won six of 33 starts during her racing career for earnings of $152,140. She was consigned by Bedouin Bloodstock, as agent for Edward and Theresa DeNike, who claimed Little Bug for $25,000 in 2009 at Golden Gate Fields and campaigned her until her retirement.

Randy Gullatt, team manager for Twin Creeks Farm, said that Little Bug would be sent to support former Twin Creeks runner Graydar after delivering her Tiznow foal. Graydar was retired to Taylor Made Stallions on Thursday.

“I thought this was an exceptional mare,” Gullatt said about Little Bug. “We just retired Graydar to stud, and I just thought this was an absolute star mare for the horse. I loved the fact that Tiznow worked terrific in the family. I’m excited about the foal in her belly, but most of all, I think this mare would be perfect for Graydar.”

Bred in Kentucky by Diamond A Racing Corp., Little Bug is out of the winning Go for Gin mare Gin Running, and is a sibling to Grade 2 winner Tizfiz, Grade 1-placed stakes winner Fury Kapcori, and stakes winner Dixie Commander. She is from the family of Horse of the Year Favorite Trick.

Baccari Bloodstock secured the top-priced weanling of the session and the third overall highest price of the day. That horse was a Harlan’s Holiday colt out of the winning Tiznow mare Indivia, purchased for $350,000.

Bred in Kentucky by T/C Stable and consigned as agent by VanMeter Sales, the colt lists among his notable family members Grade 2 winner Payton d’Oro and Grade 3 winners Cosmic Tiger and Chilito. Chris Baccari said he was taken by the colt’s stature and presence despite the fact that he was an April 5 foal.

“In my opinion, he’s the best one I’ve seen from that sire ever,” Baccari said. “[The colt] had me at hello. He walked by once, twice, and I said, ‘We’re leaving, because I don’t need to see him anymore.’ To me, it’s like watching a horse breeze. Once they show it to me one good time, I don’t need to see them breeze fast anymore.”

Harlan’s Holiday, ranked seventh on the North American general sire list as of Nov. 7, died last week while standing the Southern Hemisphere breeding season in Argentina.

Taylor Made Sales agency was Thursday’s leading consignor by gross, with 34 horses sold for a combined $5,620,000. Don Alberto Corp., Wednesday’s leading buyer by gross, led Thursday’s bidding as well, with six purchases for $1,310,000.

Through three days of selling, a total of 497 horses have sold for $114,700,500, an increase of 37 percent compared with last year at the same point when 443 lots sold for $83,783,500. The cumulative average was up 22 percent, from $189,128 to $230,786, while the median increased 40 percent, from $100,000 to $140,000.

The second and final session of Keeneland November’s Book 2 section will commence Friday at 10 a.m. Eastern, and the sale continues through Nov. 14.

For hip-by-hip results, click here.