11/05/2015 8:25PM

Keeneland sale: Book 2 concludes with overall gains

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With slightly fewer horses sold in a selective market, the Keeneland November breeding stock sale’s Book 2 portion nevertheless continued the auction’s momentum with overall gains.

Thursday’s second and final Book 2 session took a slight drop in the total gross, as 224 horses sold for $25,013,000, down 1 percent from 245 sold for $25,351,500 during the corresponding session in 2014. However, the session’s average price, $111,665, and median, $90,000, were gains of 8 and 6 percent, respectively, from $103,476 and $85,000 last year.

Led by $1.15-million filly Royal Obsession on Wednesday, a pair of horses sold for half a million or more in the two days of Book 2, down from the three to do so last year. However, the upper end of the middle market helped to fuel the gains, as 21 horses sold for $300,000 or more over two days, a significant jump from the 15 to do so last year. The market continued its selectivity, as the session’s buyback rate rose slightly to 28 percent from 26 percent.

“Overall, I thought this session was very good,” said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s director of sales. “Nine horses [today] over $300,000 compared to five last year, showing consistent strength there at the top of the market. We’re starting to see a different buyer profile coming up [as the market transitions], but the major players are still here buying horses. … that bodes well for the continuation.”

Leading trade in their respective categories on Thursday were racing or broodmare prospect Don'tforgetaboutme, sold for $675,000 to Claiborne Farm; and a Scat Daddy weanling filly sold for $350,000 to Crupi’s New Castle Farm.

Don'tforgetaboutme, a daughter of Malibu Moon, was consigned by Four Star Sales, as agent for JSM Equine and Greathouse Horse Properties, for whom she raced this year. Trained by Todd Pletcher, the filly won twice from seven starts, most recently finishing eighth in the Grade 1 Cotillion Stakes on Sept. 19. Claiborne's Walker Hancock said the filly will be bred to the farm's leading sire, War Front, in 2016.

Don'tforgetaboutme is out of the Rubiano mare Caroni, whose six winners from seven starters include stakes winners Beautician, Bella Castani, and Mo Tom. Beautician's multiple Grade 1 placings included a runner-up effort in the 2009 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. Caroni is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Kashatreya, and it is the family of Grade/Group 1 winners Taisez Vous, Snappy John, Bint Pasha, and Sis City.

The Scat Daddy filly was consigned by Eaton Sales, as agent. She is out of the multiple Grade 3-placed Fusaichi Pegasus mare Obsequious, a full sister to Group 3-placed Cumin. The filly’s third dam is European Horse of the Year and group stakes producer User Friendly.

Through Books 1 and 2 at Keeneland November, a total of 732 horses have sold for gross receipts of $164,679,000, a gain of 9 percent from this point in 2014, when 789 had sold for $150,904,500.  The cumulative average price is $224,971, tracking 18 percent up from $191,260 last year, while the median of $137,500 is up 31 percent from $105,000. The buyback rate at this point is 28 percent, up from 23 percent.

The sale continues with daily sessions through Nov. 13.

For complete results, click here.