01/11/2012 6:59PM

Keeneland sale posts more gains on third day

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Yearlings were all the rage Wednesday at Keeneland's January all-ages sale on a day that saw more big upswings over last year's figures.

The day's highest price was the $180,000 that Glen Hill Farm paid for a Kitten's Joy yearling filly out of stakes-placed Garden Spot, by Danzig. Taylor Made's agency consigned the bay filly, an April 8 foal.

Wednesday's session grossed $4,255,900 for 263 horses, a total that was up 48 percent from totals for 227 at the same point in 2011. The average price escalated by 28 percent, $16,182 versus $12,679 last year, and the median climbed 7 percent, from $7,000 last year to $7,500. Cumulatively, the first three days have sold 750 horses for $34,371,200. That's 53 percent more than 619 had brought by day three last year. The three-day average price, $45,828, is up 26 percent, and the $20,000 median was a 54-percent improvement over last year.

Buy-backs both for the session and the three days combined also improved. Session buy-backs Wednesday were 17 percent, down from 2011's figure of 25 percent, and cumulative buy-backs fell this year to 20 percent from last year's 28 percent.

Three other yearlings brought $100,000 or more at the third of four sessions. A Candy Ride colt, a May 17 foal out of Princess Consort, by Dixieland Band, brought $140,000 from Coolmore associate and Camas Park Stud owner Tim Hyde. The Taylor Made agency also consigned that bay colt, a half-brother to two-time winner Arcina.

Acorn Equine spent $110,000 for a Harlan's Holiday colt out of the Grindstone winner Grandstone. An April 30 bay foal, the colt was part of Allied Bloodstock's consignment and sold for the partnership of Don Ameche, Don Ameche, Jr., and Prancing Horse Enterprise.

And a More Than Ready yearling son of Classic West went to buyer Marshall Trivarch for $100,000. Blackburn Farm consigned the dark bay or brown colt for Dunwoody Farm. He's from the family of Grand Slam and is a Feb. 3 foal.

Yearlings came to the fore as yearling-to-juvenile resellers and end-user racehorse owners emerged after two days when breeders' broodmare purchases led upper-market selling. But one horse that bucked the yearling trend was Hip No. 1145, a 6-year-old broodmare prospect named Honimiere who sold to Dell Ridge Farm. An Irish-bred mare, she is a Canadian stakes winner by Fasliyev. She's also a Group 3- and Grade 3-placed runner, having finished third in England's Dahlia Stakes and, most recently, in the 2011 Bewitch Stakes. The Three Chimneys agency consigned Honimiere, who earned $197,392.

Several notable horses also sold at the end of the session as racing or stallion prospects. E Z's Gentleman, winner of the 2010 Triple Bend Handicap, sold for $37,000 to Milestone Farm. Grade 1-placed runners Coronet of a Baron and Desert Key brought $6,500 and $5,000, respectively. James E. Hunt signed for Coronet of a Baron, and Steve Williams signed for Desert Key. And El Caballo, an El Corredor graded winner with more than $408,000 in earnings, was hammered down for $5,500 to Roger Pelster.

Indian Ocean, already a sire, went to Black Rushin' Farm for $30,000.

The sale was to continue through Thursday. The final session has a start time of 10 a.m. at Keeneland's sale pavilion in Lexington.