09/10/2014 6:34PM

Keeneland September: Financials decline in third session

Keeneland photo
Flaxman Holdings bought a Dubawi filly for a session-topping $1.45 million Wednesday at the Keeneland September yearling sale.

A late duo of seven-figure offerings was not enough for Wednesday’s third session of the Keeneland September yearling sale to finish ahead of last year’s comparable session, though cumulative average and median prices continue to outpace 2013.

Keeneland reported 103 horses sold for revenues of $29,615,000, down 29 percent compared with last year’s third session gross of $41,890,000 from 135 sold. The average sale price dipped 8 percent, from $310,296 to $284,760, while the median fell 17 percent, from $240,000 to $200,000.

The buyback rate finished at 32 percent on Wednesday, up from last year’s third session figure of 26 percent.

“Book 1 is done in alphabetical order, so you never know where they’re going to fall,” said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s director of sales. “Last year, the third session was the strongest session of all, so this year, they didn’t fall as strong. The peaks and valleys meet together, so that’s where it counts.”

A filly by standout young European sire Dubawi and out of an English classic winner sold for $1.45 million to the Niarchos Family’s Flaxman Stables to become the session leader and the highest-priced filly of the sale through Wednesday.

The filly was bred in Great Britain by William S. Farish, and was consigned by his operation Lane's End, as agent. She was the only Keeneland September yearling on offer by her sire, a son of Dubai Millennium who is based at Darley's European headquarters.

“We’re pleased to get her," Flaxman agent Charlie Vaughan-Fowler said, adding that the filly would be shipped to Europe. "She’s a big filly, and she handled the sale very well. ... For a filly by Dubawi out of an Oaks winner, you’re thinking [the price] will be a big number. It’s obviously a high number, but we’re happy to get her.”

The filly is out of the Red Ransom mare Casual Look, whose career was highlighted by a victory in the 2003 Epsom Oaks; she also finished third in the Irish Oaks. Later sent to the U.S., Casual Look finished third in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland.

Casual Look, a full sister to stakes winner and producer Shabby Chic, is the dam of three winners from six starters, including stakes-placed Casual Trick.

"Dubawi is obviously a phenomenal sire and we thought she'd sell well," said Bill Farish of Lane’s End. "She's always been a really special filly physically. She was actually raised with two other Dubawis in the same field. The three of them are just three exceptional individuals, so it's going to be fun to see what she does in the racetrack – she's always been really correct, [has a] great mind. This whole sale experience, she just took it all with a grain of salt and never turned a hair.”

Lane’s End was the leading consignor by gross during Wednesday’s session, with nine horses sold for a combined $3,380,000, including the day’s highest-priced offering.

Flaxman Stables, whose lone purchase was the session-topper, led all buyers.

Unbridled’s Song led all sires by gross on Wednesday, with eight offspring sold for a total of $2,535,000. The group was topped by a colt out of the stakes-winning Distorted Humor mare Bubbler, who went to Juddmonte Farms for $560,000.

The leading sire by average sale price with three or more sold on Wednesday was Tiznow, whose three foals brought an average price of $481,667. His foals were led by the second-highest-priced offering of the day, a filly out of the Grade 3-placed Storm Cat mare Countess Lemonade who went to Stonereath Stud for $1.1 million.

Gainesway sire Tapit remained the cumulative leading sire by both gross and average with three or more sold, with 23 sons and daughters selling for a combined $12,705,000 and an average of $552,391.

While figures were down across the board on the day, the overall figures remain competitive with last year, with 345 horses sold for a total of $100,568,000. That marked a 10 percent decrease compared with the 2013 sale, when 404 horses brought $111,511,000 through three days of selling.

Meanwhile, the average sale price was up 6 percent, from $276,017 to $291,501. The median price was up 25 percent, from $200,000 to $250,000, while the buyback remained fairly consistent, up 2 percentage points, from 27 percent to 29 percent.

After three days of selling, a total of 45 horses have changed hands for $500,000 or more, two better than the 43 to do so last year. Seven horses hammered for seven figures, trailing 2013 when 13 hit the mark by the end of the third session.

Book 1 of the Keeneland September sale concludes with a session Thursday, beginning at noon Eastern. After a dark day on Sept. 12, the auction will continue daily until Sunday, Sept. 21, beginning each day at 10 a.m.

For hip-by-hip results, click here.

- additional reporting by Nicole Russo and Matt Hegarty

Keeneland September yearling sale, third session results:

Year Sold Gross Average Median Buyback
2014 104 (-33%) $29,615,000 (-29%) $284,760 (-8%) $200,000 (-17%) 32%
2013 155 $41,890,000 $310,296 $240,000 26%