09/11/2011 10:24PM

Keeneland September: A.P. Indy colt brings $1.4 million on opening night of sale

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Keeneland/Coady Photography
This son of A.P. Indy out of the mare Malka brought a sesson-topping $1.4 million on Sunday night.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - A pair of seven-figure colts by A. P. Indy and Street Cry lifted the market Sunday night at the Keeneland September yearling auction’s opening select session, which saw significant gains across the board.

A. P. Indy’s son out of Malka brought $1.4 million from a partnership including Robert “Shel” Evans and John Amerman, and Street Cry’s colt out of Forest Music went for $1.2 million to George Bolton.

KEENELAND SEPTEMBER: Live updates from Lexington, video reports, hips to watch »

Sunday night’s session sold 67 yearlings, two less than last year, for a combined $25,260,000. That was up 5  percent from last year’s equivalent sessions. Average rose 9 percent, from $347,319 last year to $377,015, and median shot up by an astonishing 40 percent, from $250,000 to $350,000.

But the buyback rate climbed from last season’s 26 percent to 32 percent. 

The first of two nighttime select sessions saw avid competition for the top lots, led by the $1.4 million colt by the now-pensioned A. P. Indy and out of the Deputy Minister winner Malka.

A trio of men bough the colt, who will be trained by Neil Drysdale, but only Evans and Amerman put their name on the ticket; the third, agent Shawn Dugan said, would remain anonymous for now. Dugan and fellow-agents Bob Feld and Patrick Wakelin all signed the ticket on behalf of “Amerman, Evans, and Co.” A beaming Feld put the partnership’s goal simply: “Neil’s training the colt, and the plan is to win the Kentucky Derby.”

Hill ’n’ Dale Sales, agent, consigned the bay colt. His family already includes one Derby winner, Super Saver, as well as Bluegrass Cat, Girolamo, Rhythm, and numerous other high-class runners.

Earlier, Bolton placed the winning bid by phone from San Francisco to get the $1.2 million Street Cry colt out of Grade 1-placed Forest Music. The gray or roan colt’s breeder was Stonestreet Stables, owned by Bolton’s sometime racing partner Barbara Banke, and he sold through the Gainesway agency’s consignment. 

“I’m speechless, for the first time ever!” joked Gainesway’s always loquacious stallion marketer, Michael Hernon, who pronounced himself “blown away” by the purchase price. “But, you know, he’s a super nice-moving horse, and this is the sort of thing that can happen at Keeneland.”

Street Cry also had a $925,000 seller when his son of champion Hollywood Wildcat sold to Benjamin Leon of Besilu Stable. Taylor Made’s agency consigned that colt, a half-brother to War Chant, Ivan Denisovich, and Ministers Wild Cat.

Leon was the night’s leading buyer by gross, with four purchases totaling $3 million; Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum’s Shadwell Estate Co. ranked second with six totaling $2,880,000. 

Leon also bought a pair of $775,000 fillies: an Indian Charlie daughter of Lu Ravi from seller Nagako Fujita (Woods Edge Farm, agent) and an A. P. Indy daughter of Private Gift (a three-quarters-sister to Secret Status) from Mt;. Brilliant Farm, agent. He also paid $525,000 for a Distorted Humor-Words of War colt, a half-brother to E Dubai and to No Matter What, the dam of European champion Rainbow View and Just as Well. Taylor Made also consigned that one.

Leon bought last year’s sale-topper, the A. P. Indy colt Mr. Besilu, for $4.2 million.

And A. P. Indy’s influence extended beyond the session-topper. His son, Bernardini, sired an $875,000 colt out of Brandy Rose. The three-quarters-brother to Grade 1 winner Sweet Symphony sold to Coolmore’s agent, Demi O’Byrne, from Meg Levy’s Bluewater Sales agency.

“There were a number of good, solid outcomes from today’s session,” Keeneland vice president of sales Walt Robertson said. “We had two horses sell for more than a million dollars, compared to one that sold in this session last year. the top two buyers are domestic, yet several of the top hips sold to international buyers, indicating a depth within the buying bench. the average was up, as was the median. Clearly, the buyers remain discerning in this market. All in all, we’re pleased with how this session went.”

The second session, the completion of Book 1, will  take place Monday starting at 7 p.m. in the Keeneland sale pavilion.