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Keeneland sale: Fourth day rebounds with gains in average and median
By Joe Nevills
After a noticeable cooling off period during days two and three of the Keeneland November breeding stock sale, Friday’s fourth session rebounded with gains on a steady day of selling.
While comparative figures were helped by the fact that one of the two major dispersals of last year did not reach into day four, that of the late Prince Saud bin Khaled’s Palides Investments N.V. Inc., both the average and median sales figures finished higher than last year’s fourth session. This is the first session of the November sale to stake that claim without removing the dispersals from consideration, also including last year’s record-setting dispersal of the late Edward Evans’s Spring Hill Farm.
“It was a good day, all in all,” said Walt Robertson, Keeneland’s vice president of sales. “Weanlings held up good and mares with good pedigrees sold really well.”
Revenues on day four totaled 224 horses sold for $18,567,500, down 8.4 percent from last year, largely due to the increased volume of the Spring Hill dispersal that was missing in 2012. However, the 12.8 percent decrease in horses sold helped drive the average sale price up 5.1 percent to $82,891, while the median price of $70,000 was a 40 percent improvement.
The buyback rate rose slightly from 23.7 percent to 29.3 percent. Again, the Spring Hill dispersal affected those figures, as those horses sold without reserve.
“If you’ve got the goods and you’ve got what they want, there’s plenty of money, in mares or babies,” said Jody Huckabay of Elm Tree Farm. “There’s tons of money here if you’ve got one that checks all the boxes, but if not, there’s nobody home.”
While numbers were up during the fourth session, Huckabay said the number of weanlings that have sold following their dams in this year’s November sale might have a residual effect on the market.
“This is a little skewed, because every other page is a baby,” he said. “We’re over-supplied with babies in this market. Everybody thought they could bring babies in here, and bring yearling prices, and some of them that check all the boxes are [doing that]. There’s a little bit of over-supply of babies right now. The nice mares are selling very strong, I think.”
The top price of the fourth session came from Stormy Atlantic filly American Lady, who was purchased by Lexington-based Castleton Lyons for $350,000.
The four-year-old mare is out of winning Rubiano filly Comfort Zone, who has produced six winners from as many to start, including multiple Grade 3 winner and young sire The Pamplemousse.
“She was an unbelievable physical,” said Gabriel Duignan, former president of Castleton Lyons, who signed the ticket. “She goes back into a very nice family. We’re trying to get a nice broodmare band.”
Though American Lady was sold as a racing or broodmare prospect, Duignan said the filly probably would be retired, with the plans for her first mating to be determined.
Bred in Kentucky by Clarkland Farm, American Lady won three of eight starts for owner Kaleem Shah, including a win in the 2012 Reminiscing Stakes, for earnings of $151,866. She was consigned at the November sale by Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, agent.
“American Lady was a beautiful mare,” said Donato Lanni of Hill ‘n’ Dale. “Good people bought her. She was big and pretty and she could run. She brought a lot of money.”
This is the second time that American Lady has sold, previously bringing $230,000 at the 2009 Keeneland September yearling sale.
The top-priced weanling of the session was purchased by Stonestreet Stables, a $210,000 Eskendereya colt out of the winning Carson City mare Kit’s Girl. A dam of three winners from as many to start, Kit’s Girl’s progeny includes Grade 2 winner and sire Eaton’s Gift and Mexican stakes winner Badajoz. The colt is from the family of Canadian champion Knights Templar and Grade 3 winner Religiosity.
Bred in Kentucky by Reiley McDonald, the colt was consigned as agent by Eaton Sales, of which McDonald is managing partner.
Through four sessions, Keeneland reported 667 horses sold for $102,351,000, a 38.9 percent decline from last year, when 799 horses sold for $167,294,200. The average of $153,450 has declined 26.8 percent and the median of $80,000 has dropped 20 percent. With the two major dispersals removed, however, total sales have risen 4.7 percent through four sessions, with a 2.9 rise in average and a 11.1 decline in median.
The sale resumes Saturday and will run through Nov. 16, with sessions beginning at 10 a.m. EST.