09/15/2015 6:09PM

Keeneland September: Market remains steady in second session

Keeneland photo
A Distorted Humor colt sold for $1,525,000 to take over as the sale leader during the second session of the Keeneland September yearling sale.

A new sale leader provided some early fireworks, but the overall scope of the market remained fairly even at the end of Tuesday’s second session of the Keeneland September yearling sale.

After two days of selling, a total of 292 horses have sold for revenues of $87,607,000, up 23 percent from last year’s two-day gross of $70,953,000 from 241 sold.

The cumulative average sale price rose is up 2 percent from $294,411 to $300,024, while the median remains unchanged at $250,000. The overall buyback rate is currently 31 percent, up slightly last year’s figure of 27 percent at this point.

:: KEENELAND SEPTEMBER: Complete coverage from DRF Breeding ::

Five yearlings have sold for $1 million or more after two days, tying the number to do so by this point last year. However, the 39 horses to sell for $500,000 or more show an improvement over the 32 who achieved the same feat through two sessions last year.

“The proven stallions, the stallions that can get you a stallion prospect, were rewarded at the top,” said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s director of sales. “You have top stallions producing top-quality yearlings.”

This year’s renewal introduces a condensed Book 1 format, in which the select sessions were cut from four days to three, with more horses offered each day. Because of the new setup, the figures for the select sessions are not be directly comparable from year-to-year on a gross level, but the quality of horses on offer remains similar to last year’s first book.

A colt by Distorted Humor sold to Three Chimneys Farm for $1,525,000 to take over as the sale leader early in Tuesday’s session. The purchase price surpassed the $1.45 million paid for a War Front filly during Monday's opening session as the top price of the sale thus far.

"We liked the pedigree, the looks, everything, and hopefully he'll be our next stallion," said Three Chimneys chairman Goncalo Torrealba.

The colt was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, as agent for his breeder, Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Farm, who Torrealba indicated would remain a partner on the horse during his racing career.

"We're discussing everything, but we think that's how it's going to be,” Torrealba said after signing the ticket. “Three Chimneys is all about trying to build good partnerships, so we always go in with the idea of a partnership. Partnering with good people is what we're all about. [Banke] doesn't get any better than that. We're very excited."

For her part, Banke has moved to purchase and campaign several colts in partnership in recent years with stallion operations including Spendthrift Farm and Gainesway.

"I went through the barn and I kept four fillies," Banke said. "I don't like partners on fillies because they're going to go to the broodmare band, but I tend to try and sell the colts and try to stay in. I think Torrealba said I could stay in on some of this horse, so that's basically it. This one is one I'd be happy to own."

The colt is out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Forest Music, whose 11 stakes wins or placings included scores in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss Handicap and Grade 3 Miss Preakness Stakes. She was also multiple Grade 1-placed. Forest Music is now the dam of two winners from as many starters, led by Kentuckian, winner of the Grade 3 Lazaro Barrerra Stakes. Maclean’s Music, a full brother to this seven-figure colt, won his only career start by 7 ¼ lengths with a Beyer Speed Figure of 114. He is now a well-regarded first-year yearling sire.

"I love this colt. I love the mare," Banke said. "I have a painting of her in my dining room, and she gets runners. She was super fast, she raced every two weeks going around the country. [This colt] looks like a runner, acts like a runner. He worked hard every day and does everything right."

Out of the stakes-winning Gone West mare Defer West, Forest Music is a half-sister to stakes winner Shooter and stakes producer Wonderously. It is the family of Grade 1 winner and sire Mining.

Taylor Made is the leading consignor by gross through the first two sessions, with 44 horses sold for $13,940,000, including the current sale-topper. John Ferguson, representing Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum, is the sale’s leading buyer thus far, with 20 purchases totaling $7,440,000, led by a $900,000 War Front colt purchased Monday.

Claiborne Farm stallion War Front is the leading sire by average after two sessions, with 11 sold for an average of $643,636. WinStar Farm stallion Distorted Humor leads the way by gross, with 18 sold for $7,490,000.

Tuesday’s session ended with 142 horses sold for revenues of $42,965,000, up 14 percent from last year’s second day of selling when 121 yearlings brought $37,788,000.

While bulk figures were up, the average sale price for the corresponding sessions fell 3 percent from $312,298 to $302,570. The median finished at $245,000, down 13 percent from last year’s day two figure of $280,000. The buyback rate finished at 32 percent on Tuesday, up from 27 percent last year.

Led by the Distorted Humor colt, three horses sparked seven-figure transactions on Tuesday, tying last year’s second session. The 21 horses to bring $500,000 or more were one better than the 20 to do so at this session last year.

Taylor Made once again finished as the session’s leading consignor by gross, with 17 horses sold for a combined $5,245,000.

Spendthrift Farm was Tuesday’s leading buyer, with four purchases totaling $2,125,000. Leading the group was a $1-million Fastnet Rock filly out of the Group 1-placed Sadler’s Wells mare Maryinsky, whose siblings include European champion Peeping Fawn and Group 1 winner Thewayyouare.

Gainesway sire Tapit led the session by average sale price, with six yearlings sold for an average of $580,833. Distorted Humor was the top sire by gross, with 11 horses sold for $5,285,000.

Book 1 of the Keeneland September sale concludes with its third session on Wednesday, beginning at 11 a.m. Eastern. Following the traditional ‘dark day’ on Thursday, the sale continues through Sept. 26, starting each day at 10 a.m.

To view hip-by-hip results from Keeneland September, click here.

- Additional reporting by Nicole Russo

Keeneland September yearling sale, session 2 results

Year Sold Gross Average Median Buyback
2015 142 (+17%) $42,965,000 (+14%) $302,570 (-3%) $245,000 (-13%) 32%
2014 121 $37,788,000 $312,298 $280,000 27%