09/16/2016 6:50PM

Keeneland September: Book 2 opener continues sale's momentum

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The opening session of Book 2 of the Keeneland September yearling sale carried over the momentum set by the auction’s opening select sessions, led by a $1-million Curlin colt.

A total of 242 yearlings sold during Friday’s session, the sale’s fourth overall, for revenues of $38,898,000, up 1 percent from last year’s comparable session when 258 horses sold for $38,462,000.

The average sale price rose 8 percent to $160,736 from $149,078, while the median also increased 8 percent, from to $130,000 from $120,000.

The session-topper was the first seven-figure offering to change hands in Book 2 since 2011, when two horses hit that mark. By comparison, last year’s Book 2 topper brought $700,000.

Six horses sold for $500,000 or more, already bettering the five to do so during last year’s entire second book.

“Book 2 started off very well,” said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s director of sales. “Having a million-dollar horse in Book 2 was a nice surprise. He was a beautiful colt and was obviously well-regarded by two very sharp people.

“We’ve used the adage all the time, ‘A good horse sells,’” Russell continued. “Book 2 isn’t that far away from Book 1.”

The buyback rate finished at 30 percent on Friday, up slightly from 28 percent during last year’s fourth session.

E5 Racing, a relatively new player to the Thoroughbred industry, purchased the session-topper, a Curlin colt out of the Grade 2-placed stakes-winning Hard Spun mare Glinda the Good.

The seven-figure colt is the second foal out of Glinda the Good, following a Ghostzapper colt who sold at last year’s Keneland September sale for $250,000.

He is from the family of Grade 1 winners Magican Maiden and Miss Houdini, Grade/Group 2 winners Avies Copy, Papa Clem, Moviesta, and Magical Mile, and Grade 3 winners Take the Ribbon, Exfactor, and Ready Intaglio.

"He's the complete package,” said bloodstock agent Mike Ryan, who signed the ticket. “He'll be a 2-year-old but also train on. He's just such a free-moving horse, great mind on him. He's as good a colt as you might find.”

E5 Racing, owned by Bob and Cassidy Edwards, is a Florida-based operation that races primarily on the New York circuit. Their other holdings include E5 Pharma, a Florida-based pharmaceutical company for companion animals, Old Everglades Distillery, and Boca Life Science Holdings. Rudy Rodriguez trains the stable’s runners.

The colt is a second-generation product of the Stonestreet breeding program, and was consigned as agent by Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, agent. The stallion wing of Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms stands Curlin in partnership with majority owner Stonestreet Farm.

"He was a beautiful horse,” said Stonestreet bloodstock adviser John Moynihan. “We put him in Book 2 hoping he would be an absolute standout, and it kind of worked out that way. He was a phenomenal horse. I think honestly, he would have been a standout in Book 1, just a really good horse." 

Thursday’s session was a massive day of trade for Hall of Famer Curlin, who led all sires by gross and average among those with three or more yearlings sold. The son of Smart Strike saw eight offspring change hands for $3,085,000 and an average of $385,625. Curlin accounted for two of the session’s top three prices, and three of the day’s top 10 prices.

Taylor Made Sales Agency finished as Friday’s leading consignor by gross, with 37 horses sold for a combined $5,247,000. Zayat Stables was the day’s leading buyer, with five purchases totaling $1,395,000.

After four days of trade, a total of 588 horses have sold for $159,123,000, down 8 percent from the same point last year, when 701 yearlings had brought $172,823,000.

The cumulative average is trending up 10 percent from $246,538 to $270,617, while the median is at $200,000. The buyback rate is up slightly from 30 percent to 31 percent.

The Keeneland September sale continues daily through Sept. 25, beginning each day at 10 a.m. Eastern.

For hip-by-hip results, click here.