09/20/2016 8:44PM

Keeneland September: Improved returns carry into Book 4

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The middle market continued to flex its muscles heading into Book 4 of the Keeneland September yearling sale, with another session of increased average and median sale prices, highlighted by a pair of $300,000 colts.

Tuesday’s session saw 275 yearlings sold for revenues of $15,036,900, up 6 percent from last year’s comparable session when 292 offerings brought $14,192,700.

The average sale price increased 13 percent to $54,680 from $48,605, while the median rose 6 percent to $37,000 from $35,000.

Five horses sold for $250,000 or more on Tuesday, bettering the three to do so during last year’s similar session. The number of six-figure horses rose to 43 from 33.

Tuesday’s buyback rate finished at 24 percent, up from 20 percent during last year’s eighth session.

Two horses tied atop the session, each dropping the hammer for $300,000.

Ruis Racing purchased a Midnight Lute colt out of the unraced Johannesburg mare My Crown Jewell, whose first foal to race is a placed runner. He is the first foal out of My Crown Jewell to bring a six-figure price at auction.

“Most of the Midnight Lutes I’ve seen in here look better than most of the horses,” said Ike Green, who signed the ticket for Ruis Racing. “We have Midnight Pleasure in Southern California and to me, he looks like the best 2-year-old out there right now. He ran third in the Del Mar Futurity, but he needs to go a little further. We’re pretty excited about him.”

Bred in Kentucky by the Randal Family Trust, the colt is from the family of Grade 2 winner Tampoy and Grade 3 winner Crown Jewel. He was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, as agent.

Steven Young, as agent, landed a first-crop Violence colt out of the stakes-winning Spanish Steps mare Conway Two Step.

Bred in Florida by Loren Nichols, the colt is the second foal out of Conway Two Step, and was purchased as a weanling for $85,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall selected mixed sale by Sallusto and Albina, as agent. He was offered on Tuesday by Blake-Albina Thoroughbred Services, agent.

The colt is from the family of Grade 1 winner Miss Temple City and Grade 2 winner Pricedtoperfection.

Midnight Lute, a resident of Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms, was Tuesday’s leading sire by gross, with 12 sold totaling $951,500, led by the day’s $300,000 co-topper.

The session’s top sire by average among those with three or more yearlings sold was debuting stallion Oxbow. The Preakness Stakes winner and member of the Calumet Farm roster had four horses sell for an average price of $123,750.

Lane’s End was once again the leading consignor by gross, moving 28 horses for revenues of $2,046,500. The consignment had horses hammer for two of the day’s top three prices, led by a $280,000 Curlin colt who sold to Mike Ryan, as agent.

Young was the day’s top buyer, with three purchases totaling $485,000, including the co-session-topping Violence colt.

After eight sessions, a total of 1,642 yearlings have sold for $248,721,400, trailing last year’s sale at the same point by 4 percent, when 1,796 horses had sold for $259,763,200.

The cumulative average sale price was up 5 percent to $151,475 from $144,634, while the median was down 5 percent to $90,000 from $95,000. The buyback rate was up slightly to 28 percent from 27 percent.

The Keeneland September sale continues daily through Sept. 25, with sessions starting at 10 a.m. Eastern.

For hip-by-hip results, click here.