09/18/2016 7:49PM

Keeneland September: Large gains to open Book 3

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The sixth session of the Keeneland September yearling sale was a strong day of trade open Book 3 at its halfway point, posting double-digit gains across the board, led by a $700,000 Pioneerof the Nile colt.

Sunday’s session saw 269 yearlings sold for revenues of $23,243,000, up 18 percent from last year’s sixth-session gross of $19,618,000 from 266 sold.

The session’s average sale price rose 17 percent to $86,405 from $73,752, while the median increased 27 percent to $70,000 from $55,000.

Thirteen yearlings sold for $250,000 or more on Sunday, surpassing the six to do so during last year’s comparable session. The number of six-figure sales rose to 82 from 66.

The buyback rate closed at 26 percent, improving from last year’s day-six figure of 28 percent.

The session-topper went through the ring as the second-to-last offering of the day, as the Pioneerof the Nile colt went to Tom, Paula, and Kaitlin Haughey’s PTK for $700,000.

The bay colt is out of the unraced Cape Town mare Running Creek, whose five foals to race are all winners, including stakes-winner Softly Lit and stakes-placed Venice Queen. The Haugheys owned Softly Lit and multiple winner Flickering out of the dam.

He is from the family of Grade 1 winner M One Rifle, Grade 3 winners Palliser Bay and He Loves Me, and Grade 2-placed stakes winner For Kisses.

“He’s a spectacular-looking horse,” Tom Haughey said after signing the ticket. “He looks the part and looks really smart. We just loved him.”

The colt was bred in Kentucky by Clicquot Bloodstock, and was consigned by Woods Edge Farm, as agent. He is the first foal out of Running Creek to sell at auction for six figures.

Based in Charlottesville, Va., PTK has evolved in recent years from a Mid-Atlantic-based operation in the claiming ranks to one that races primarily in Kentucky and Florida. Part of that shift has been focusing on a higher level at auction, as evidenced by this year’s Fasig-Tipton Saratoga select yearling sale, when PTK bought a half-sister to champion Songbird by Ghostzapper for $800,000.

“We bought enough $5,000 ones and some of those turn out, and some $20,000 ones turn out, but we thought we needed to get an eye for a better-bred horse, particularly fillies,” Haughey said.

Dane Kobiskie trains PTK’s runners, and the Haugheys house their broodmare band at Fallbrook Farm in Versailles, Ky.

Curlin was the session’s leading sire by gross, with eight horses sold for $1,240,000. Pioneerof the Nile was the leading sire by average sale price among those with three or more sold, with four changing hands on Sunday for an average price of $238,750.

Lane’s End finished as Sunday’s leading consignor, with 26 yearlings sold for $3,296,000, headed up by a Mineshaft filly that sold to Martin Anthony for $410,000 to finish as the day’s second-most-expensive offering. Mike Ryan, as agent, was the leading buyer, with six purchases totaling $1,320,000.

At the end of six sessions, a total of 1,081 horses have sold for $212,749,000, down 5 percent from the same point in 2015, when 1,234 horses brought $224,536,000.

The cumulative average sat at $196,808, up 8 percent from $181,958, while the median was unchanged at $130,000.

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

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