09/12/2016 5:03PM

Keeneland September: Medaglia d'Oro colt leads opening session


The first session of the Keeneland September yearling sale proved to be an improved refrain from last year’s opener, with results led by a $1-million Medaglia d’Oro colt.

Monday’s session, the first of the three days of selected Book 1 offerings that open the sale, saw 108 yearlings sold for revenues of $34,531,000, down 23 percent from last year’s first-day gross of $44,642,000 from 150 sold.

However, the session-to-session average sale price rose 7 percent from $297,613 to $319,731, while the median increased 1 percent from $265,000 to $267,500.

“I thought today’s session started off the September sale very well,” Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s director of sales, said. “There’s good strength at the top of the market. Selective bidding, as we’ve anticipated and seen in other markets, has continued on.”

At the top of the market, the lone horse to eclipse seven figures was the session-topper, trailing two to do so during last year’s comparable session. However, at the next level, the number of offerings to meet or exceed the $500,000 mark rose from 19 to 25.

“We were all hoping that we would get a breakout and get some to bounce over, but a million dollars is a lot of money,” Russell said. “There seems to be more of a comfort level just underneath that million-dollar range than above it.”

The buyback rate finished at 36 percent on Monday, up from 31 percent during last year’s similar session.

The Coolmore partnership secured the $1-million Medaglia d’Oro colt out of the stakes-winning Smart Strike mare Spring Party.

The dark bay or brown colt is the third foal out of Spring Party, who is herself a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Emcee, U.A.E. Group 2 winner Surfer, and Grade 3-placed Baffled. The latter is the dam of Grade 1 winner Constitution, English Group 2 winner Boynton, and Grade 3 winner Jacaranda. Third dam Horns Gray produced Grade 1 winner Awesome Humor.

"He was a very nice horse. He reminded the lads a lot of Vancouver,” M.V. Magnier, who signed the ticket for Coolmore, said, referencing Coolmore Australia’s champion son of Medaglia d’Oro. “He's an exceptional-looking horse.

"It's a lot of money to give for a horse, but he's very good-looking and was a great mover, and the lads really liked him,” Magnier continued. “We'll see in a year or two if he runs.”

Magnier indicated the colt would remain in the U.S. to race for the international operation.

Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings bred the session-topper after purchasing Spring Party for $525,000 at the 2012 Keeneland November breeding stock sale. Taylor Made Sales Agency consigned the colt, as agent.

"We said someplace in our estimates $600,000 to $800,000, but we knew he could do that,” said Duncan Taylor. “You hardly ever get a horse that well-bred that actually walks like that. He looked like he was gliding on air, with all the muscle in the world to go with it.

“You knew he was a special horse,” Taylor said. “I think that's a Medaglia d'Oro colt that might be standing in Kentucky for a lot of money one day, because he sure looks the part."

Claiborne Farm sire War Front was the top sire by average sale price, with seven horses sold for an average of $532,143. His top offering was a filly out of Irish Group 3-winning Galileo mare Aloof, who sold to John Ferguson, bloodstock adviser for Sheikh Mohammed Al-Maktoum’s Godolphin operation, for $900,000. It was Monday’s second-highest price and the most paid for a filly.

Commercial powerhouse Tapit was the session’s leading sire by gross, with 11 yearlings sold for $5,420,000. The resident of Gainesway had two of the day’s top four offerings, led by a colt out of Grade 2 winner Afleeting Lady, sold to Courtlandt Farm for $850,000.

Taylor Made was Monday’s leading consignor, with 15 horses sold for a combined $5,552,000, led by the session-topper.

Courtlandt Farm was the day’s leading buyer, with four purchases totaling $2,520,000, including the Tapit colt out of Afleeting Lady.

Book 1 of the Keeneland September sale continues through Wednesday, beginning each day at 11 a.m. Eastern. Following the auction’s traditional dark day on Thursday, the remainder of the sale runs daily through Sept. 25 with a 10 a.m. start time.

For hip-by-hip results from Monday's session, click here.

--Additional reporting by Nicole Russo

Keeneland September yearling sale, session 1 results

Year Sold Gross Average Median Buyback
2016 108 (-28%) $34,531,000 (-23%) $319,731 (+7%) $267,500 (+1%) 36%
2015 150 $44,642,000 $297,613 $265,000 31%