09/20/2011 7:31PM

Keeneland sale's strong Tuesday session keeps ball rolling

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The Keeneland September yearling sale remained strong on Wednesday, its ninth session, posting solid gains when compared to a similar session last year and pushing the gross receipts well beyond last year’s gross for the entire sale.

The double-digit increases to average and median for the ninth session were posted one day after the auction’s cumulative sales receipts surpassed the gross for the entire 14-day sale last year. Combined with Tuesday’s gross of $9,579,400, the auction house has sold 1,933 yearlings for $208,217,600, whereas last year’s sale in total sold 3,509 horses for total receipts of $198,254,900.

Two horses were sold Tuesday for a session-topping $200,000. The first, a Medaglia d’Oro colt out of the Seeking the Gold mare Delve, from the family of Bosra Sham, was bought by Bob Baffert. The second, a War Front filly out of the Housebuster mare Dominica, was bought by Glen Hill Farm.

For Tuesday’s session, 302 horses sold for an average of $31,720 and median of $25,000. Keeneland officials have said that they prefer this year’s later sessions to be compared to the sessions that took place one day later last year because of a format change to this year’s catalog. Under that comparison, the average on Tuesday, the ninth session, was up 26 percent compared to the final average for the 10th session last year, and the median was up 31.5 percent.

Most major financial indices for the racing industry remain in decline, and the reasons for the strength of the September sale have been hard to divine. Whatever the cause, breeders and consignors are welcoming the comeback after weathering the bust of a market that was in full froth when the recession hit in 2008.

So far for the sale, cumulative average has been $107,717, a 19.4 percent increase over the average through the first nine days last year. Cumulative median has been $60,000, a 20 percent increase over last year’s sales.