11/08/2012 8:40PM

Keeneland sale takes downturn on day three

Photos by Z / Keeneland
Tell It, a 15-year-old Storm Cat mare in foal to Candy Ride, brings a winning bid of $540,000 at the Keeneland November sale.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Keeneland's November breeding stock sale ended its third session Thursday with declines despite some strong prices from a mix of domestic and international buyers vying for the session's best picks among mares and weanlings.

England-based Blandford Bloodstock picked up the $540,000 session-topper, the 15-year-old Storm Cat mare Tell It, a half-sister to Claiborne Farm stallion Pulpit. Claiborne, as agent, sold the mare in foal to Candy Ride. Aisling Duignan signed the ticket on behalf of Blandford's Tom Goff.

Tell It is the dam of stakes winner Dream Nettie, and she's also a half-sister to group-placed Urban Poet and to Convent, the late dam of stakes winner Nunnery.

Thursday's third of 11 sessions grossed $22,278,500 for 234 horses, a 31.1 percent decrease from sales of $32,347,000 in the same session last year for 257 horses sold. The average and median prices also fell in a downturn that could be blamed in some measure on the lack of the large, prestigious dispersals that marked last year's sale. The average price of $95,207 and $75,000 median were down 24.4 percent and 16.7 percent, respectively. Buy-backs climbed from 24 percent in 2011 to 30 percent on Thursday.

Complete hip-by-hip results.

Last year's equivalent session featured the lucrative Edward P. Evans estate's dispersal, which peppered the results with high-priced horses and by itself grossed more than $8.9 million during 2011's third session.

Cumulatively, the 2012 auction's first three sessions so far have sold 443 horses for $83,783,500, a 43 percent decline from last year's aggregate for 542 horses. The $189,128 average was down 30 percent, and the $100,000 median was down 29 percent. Cumulative buy-backs, like the session rate, were up to 31 percent as compared to 21 percent last year.

Tell It was one of two broodmares to sell for more than $500,000. The other was $525,000 Spring Party, a 6-year-old half-sister to Grade 1 winner Emcee who was in foal to that runner's sire, Unbridled's Song. Barbara Banke of Stonestreet Stables bought the 6-year-old Smart Strike mare, and Taylor Made Sales was the consignor.

Thursday's last horse through the ring, the Storm Cat winner Eyeofthehurricane, generated some late fireworks when she went for $475,000. Agent Ben Glass made the winning bid and signed the ticket for Eyeofthehurricane, who sold in foal to Smart Strike as part of the Lane's End consignment. A daughter of graded winner Profit Column, she is a full sister to Grade 3 winner and Grade 1-placed Final Round.

Although overseas interests still appeared on the buyers' list, domestic purchasing appeared to strengthen as commercial breeders, American-based pinhookers, and some racehorse-campaigning end-users gained prominence. Brian Graves, buying for a weanling-to-yearling resale partnership, bought Thursday's most expensive weanling, a $295,000 Bernardini half-brother to Grade 2 winner Real Cozzy. Taylor Made also sold that lot.

The sale was to continue through Nov. 16 at Keeneland's sale pavilion in Lexington. Sessions start daily at 10 a.m.