11/14/2012 10:34PM

Keeneland sale: Average, median decline during ninth session of 11-day sale

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After a day of gains fueled by the sale of young racing prospects on Tuesday, the Keeneland November breeding stock sale posted declines in average and median during its ninth session on Wednesday.

A total of 254 horses sold Wednesday for total receipts of $2,872,300. Both declined compared with the ninth session of the 2011 sale, when 260 horses sold for $4,391,700.

Wednesday’s average price was $11,308, a 33.1 percent decline compared with $16,891 in 2011. The session’s median fell 30 percent, from $10,000 to $7,000.

The session topper was Storm Crossing, who dropped the hammer at $75,000 to Ashview Farm. The unraced 2-year-old Tiznow filly was offered as a racing or broodmare prospect by Lane's End, agent.

Storm Crossing is out of the stakes-winning Storm Cat mare Storm Alert. She is the dam of six winners from seven foals to race, including Grade 3 winner Utopian and stakes-placed winners Indy Trouble and Temper Temper.

Storm Crossing’s second dam is Grade 2 winner Speed Dialer, by Phone Trick. She is a half sister to Canadian champion Wavering Girl and graded stakes winners and sires Tricky Creek, Parade Group, and Parade Leader.

Fueled by the sale of Storm Crossing - as well as the session's top stallion prospect, Machen, and its second-highest priced mare, Bella Bandita - Lane's End finished as the day's leading consignor by total sales, selling 37 horses for $570,500 with an average of $15,419.

Machen became the session's second most expensive horse near the end of the catalog, as J. Michael Baird dropped the hammer at $70,000 to acquire the Grade 3 winner.

Baird, who plans to stand the 4-year-old Distorted Humor colt at stud next year at 6th Street Farm in West Virginia, said he was attracted by Machen's pedigree.

"We were looking for a stallion for West Virginia, and we're looking to bring a better horse there than what they have," Baird said. "He's got a better pedigree than what they're offering. So that's what we were trying to bring."

Machen won three of five career starts, including the Grade 3 Derby Trial Stakes in 2011 at Churchill Downs, for earnings of $216,530. The colt is out of the multiple graded stakes-winning More Than Ready mare Ready's Gal. Notable family members include Grade 2 winner Ready to Please and multiple stakes winner Go Scotty.

Racing or broodmare prospect Bella Bandita sold to Bluegrass Hall LLC for $55,000. The 3-year-old Dynaformer filly, who has a third-place finish from four starts this year, is out of the Cee's Tizzy mare Gourmet Girl, a multiple Grade 1 winner and champion older female in 2001.

The session's highest-priced weanling was a $62,000 Awesome Again colt, purchased by Baccari Bloodstock LLC. The colt, consigned by Terrazas Thoroughbreds, agent, is the first foal out of the winning Mizzen Mast mare Zaraffa. That mare is out of the Grade 3-winning Warning mare Out of Reach, whose full sister, group stakes-placed winner Well Warned, is the dam of three stakes winners, including Group 1 winner Prohibit.

Through nine sessions, Keeneland reported 2,006 horses sold for $140,061,100, a 31.9 percent decline in total receipts compared with last year, when 2,164 horses sold for $205,584,600. The cumulative sale average of $69,821 is down 26.5 percent, while median is unchanged at $30,000.

If you remove last year’s two major dispersals, however - the record-setting Spring Hill Farm dispersal and the dispersal of Saud bin Khaled's Palides Investments, which included $8.5-million Royal Delta - total receipts have risen 5.4 percent through nine sessions compared with the first nine sessions last year. The cumulative average has risen 3.2 percent, while the median has risen 11.1 percent.

The sale resumes on Thursday and concludes on Friday, with both sessions starting at 10 a.m. Eastern.