11/06/2014 9:02PM

Keeneland November: Weanlings top third session


A pair of high-priced weanlings led the proceedings during Thursday’s third session of the Keeneland November breeding stock sale, which upheld a steady pace in the market as it headed into Book 2.

A total of 271 horses changed hands on Thursday for revenues of $29,701,000, up five percent from last year’s third session, when 255 horses brought $28,168,500

The session’s average price finished at $109,598, down 0.78 percent from $110,465 in the comparable session last year, while the median dipped six percent from $90,000 to $85,000. The buyback rate remained steady at 20 percent.

When comparing figures between Thursday’s session and last year’s third day of selling, it is important to note that day three of the 2013 auction included 15 horses from the dispersal of E. Paul Robsham Stables, which accounted for seven six-figure horses. This year’s renewal does not feature any high-profile dispersals.

At the end of Thursday’s session, four horses had surpassed the $410,000 high-water mark of last year’s third day. Ten horses brought $300,000 or more, bettering the nine to do so on the same day last year.

“Obviously, the top end of the foal market’s very strong,” said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s director of sales. “It’s great to see those two horses break loose. The comment we got from a couple buyers is that they were probably going over their comfort level, but they knew that’s what they had to do to get them. If that’s what the market is, that’s what you have to pay. We had a great buoyancy all day, so let’s hope that continues.”

Topping the session was a weanling War Front colt who sold to Clear Ridge Stables for $850,000. The price tied him for the second-highest by a weanling through the third session of the sale, behind only the North American-record $3 million Tapit filly sold Wednesday.

The dark bay or brown colt is out of the winning Grindstone mare Stone Hope, whose three foals to race are all winners, including Grade 2-placed stakes winner Street Life. The hammer price made the colt the most expensive foal out of his dam.

Brian Graves of Gainesway, who signed the ticket for Clear Ridge Stables, said the auction performance of the colt’s sire made him an attractive purchase and suggested that he could be targeted as a pinhooking prospect.

“The stallion averages $550,000 [at yearling sales] and he had a high horse of $2.2 million, so there’s a possibility you’ll see him back in the auction,” Graves said. “Nice horses with that kind of stallion average, I could see having to pay that much. He was one of the nicest horses in the sale, by a very good stallion. That costs money.”

The colt was bred and consigned as agent by Nursery Place. He is from the family of Grade 1 winner Furiously, and Grade 2 winners Brilliant, Tights, and Scherzinger.

Earlier in the session, bloodstock agents Alex Solis and Jason Litt secured a weanling Malibu Moon filly for $750,000, finishing as Thursday’s second-highest price.

The chestnut filly is the second foal out of the stakes-placed Unbridled’s Song mare Life Lesson, whose first foal is a winner. She is from the family of champion Serena’s Song and Grade 3 winners Vivid Imagination and Wander Mom.

The filly was bred in Kentucky by Tom VanMeter and Ricky Stivers, and was consigned as agent by VanMeter Sales.

A pair of first-time broodmares topped that segment of the market, each selling for $450,000.

Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm acquired the placed Tapit mare Hummingbird Hill via phone bid.

The 4-year-old sold in foal to Blame after a racing career in which she went winless in five career starts for earnings of $18,265. A $575,000 yearling purchase, Hummingbird Hill is out of the winning Dehere mare Shop Here and she is from the family of Grade 1 winners Miss Shop and Power Broker, as well as Grade 2 winner and popular young sire Trappe Shot. The latter is a son of Tapit.

“She’s a beautiful mare,” said Walker Hancock of consignor Claiborne Farm. “Trappe Shot foals have been selling like crazy, so it’s no wonder she sold so well. She’s a direct descendent from that family, in foal to Blame, who we love. I’m very proud of her.”

Later in the session, Stonestreet Farm secured I’m Mom’s Favorite, a 4-year-old Indian Charlie mare who sold in foal to Union Rags.

I’m Mom’s Favorite won four of 10 starts during her racing career for earnings of $178,373, highlighted by a win in the Miss Preakness Stakes. She is out of the unraced Storm Cat mare Charming Toutsie, and her extended family includes Grade 1 winner Tout Charmant, as well as Grade 3 winners Forest Grove and Charm a Gendarme.

“She looks like the kind that’ll be a good addition to our broodmare band,” said Stonestreet bloodstock adviser John Moynihan. “We like Union Rags, she’s carrying a good package. We’re excited. Indian Charlie’s such a good broodmare sire, she’s really pretty, and with that mare, what was on the page was probably not indicative of her true ability. She could really run fast. She won the Miss Preakness Stakes, which is a hard race to win, and it’s a good indicator of quality.”

I’m Mom’s Favorite was sent through the ring as agent by Taylor Made Sales Agency, which was the session’s leading consignor with 47 horses sold for $6,713,000.

McMahon and Hill Bloodstock finished the day as the session’s top buyer with seven purchases totaling $917,000. Six of those purchases were weanlings.

After three days of selling, a total of 544 horses have been moved for revenues of $125,553,000, up nine percent from last year’s three-day gross of $114,700,500. The average was virtually even, raising 10 dollars from $230,786 to $230,796, while the median fell 11 percent from $140,000 to $125,000.

The buyback rate following the third session was up two percentage points, from 20 percent to 22 percent.

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

For hip-by-hip results, click here.

Year Sold Gross Average Median Buyback
2014 271 (+6%) $29,701,000 (+5%) $109,598 (-0.8%) $85,000 (-6%) 20%
2013 255 $28,168,500 $110,465 $90,000 20%