09/11/2013 8:36PM

Keeneland September: New sale-topper highlights Wednesday’s session

Keeneland photo
A filly by Indian Charlie and out of Grade 1 winner and producer Take Charge Lady sold for $2.2 million at the Keeneland September yearling sale.

By the end of this year’s second session of the Keeneland September yearling sale on Tuesday, eight seven-figure horses had sold, eclipsing last year’s Keeneland sale total of seven. By the end of Wednesday’s third session, a flurry of fevered bidding had left last year’s high-end numbers in the dust.

Another five yearlings sold for $1 million or more on Wednesday, bringing the three-session total to 13 – nearly double the total amount sold in 2012. Moving down to the next level of buyers, the 43 horses to bring $500,000 or more through the first three days of selling moved ahead of last year’s final total of 42 half-million-dollar yearlings.

A total of 135 horses sold on Wednesday for receipts of $41,890,000, making it by far the highest-grossing session of the first three. The average sale price of $310,296 and median of $240,000 were also the strongest performances of the sale thus far. The buyback rate remained fairly steady at 26 percent.

“We were hoping to get as many buyers in here as possible to be able to sort through these horses and establish their value,” said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s director of sales. “Every day has accomplished that and today exceeded that. It was just very impressive today.”

After three days of selling, 404 yearlings have been purchased for a total of $111,511,000. Revenues are up 15 percent compared with the first three days of last year’s Keeneland September sale. The average sale price through the first three days is $276,017, an increase of 30 percent from last year’s three-day average of $212,479.

“We told people that our goal was to meet or exceed last year’s numbers, and that was before we even saw the horses,” Russell said. “Our goal was to replicate all of week one last year to all of week one this year. We’re conservative here, we’re not bullish, but we anticipated we would get a bump, so we’re happy we have.”

A highly anticipated filly out of Grade 1 winner and producer Take Charge Lady lived up to the hype Wednesday afternoon, selling to Mandy Pope for $2.2-million, the highest-priced offering through the first three sessions.

The bay filly, from the final crop of sire Indian Charlie, is a half-sister to Take Charge Indy, winner of last year’s Florida Derby, and this year’s Travers Stakes winner, Will Take Charge. Take Charge Lady won three Grade 1 races and earned over $2.4 million on the track before starting a productive broodmare career.

“She’s absolutely beautiful,” Pope said of her new acquisition. “A stellar pedigree and stellar family. She’s by Indian Charlie, who produced [champion] Indian Blessing, another wonderful filly. [We’re hoping to] run in the footsteps of her, and her daddy, and her mother, and her brothers.

“She’ll be a delight to have, and something to go along with [2011 Horse of the Year] Havre de Grace and [Grade 1 winner] Plum Pretty,” Pope continued, referencing two top-class performers she bought last year as broodmare prospects. “After she’s become a famous racehorse, she’ll fit right in with those two!”

The purchase made the filly the second-most expensive foal to sell at public auction out of Take Charge Lady behind Charming, who brought $3.2 million at the 2006 Keeneland September sale. Wednesday’s $2.2 million filly was consigned by Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, agent.

“She’s top-class,” said Hill ‘n’ Dale’s John G. Sikura. “She’s very correct, really pretty, good angles, moves well, and has a great side profile. She’s a really attractive filly.”

Pope said the filly will go to her Whisper Hill Farm in Citra, Fla., to be broken before shipping to GoldMark Farm in nearby Ocala to continue her training. A decision had not been made as to which trainer the filly would be sent to once she begins her on-track career.

Making noise early in the day was a half-sister to champion and leading sire Speightstown, who sold to Borges Torrealba Holdings for $1.75 million, the second-highest price of the session and the sale.

The Tiznow filly is out of the Storm Cat mare Silken Cat, a Canadian champion. After finishing a racing career in which he was named champion sprinter of 2004, Speightstown now stands at WinStar Farm in Versailles, Ky.

“We liked her,” Goncalo Torrealba said after signing the ticket for the filly. “She comes from an outstanding-pedigreed family, and that’s what we’re trying to build at Three Chimneys Farm. … Borges Torrealba became partners with Three Chimneys [late last year], so we’re looking forward to having her at Three Chimneys after her racing career.”

Taylor Made Sales Agency consigned the filly as agent for breeders Aaron and Marie Jones, and led all consignors by gross during Wednesday’s session with 17 horses sold for $5,575,000.

Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum’s Shadwell Estate Company Ltd. led all buyers for a third straight day with six purchases for a total of $3,025,000. Shadwell’s purchases were led by two $600,000 yearlings: a Distorted Humor colt out of the Grade 1-placed winning A.P. Indy mare Soul Search, and and a Tapit colt out of two-time Ogden Phipps winner Take D'Tour.

Tapit led all sires by gross on day three with seven yearlings sold for $4,375,000, including a $1.55 million colt that sold to the partnership of Nat Rea’s Regis Farms and Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Thoroughbred holdings. The top sire by average was the late Indian Charlie, with an average of $780,000 from five horses sold.

Book 1 of the Keeneland September sale concludes on Thursday at noon, Eastern. After a dark day on Friday, selling resumes with the first of two Book 2 sessions on Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m.

For hip-by-hip results, click here.

--additional reporting by Matt Hegarty and Nicole Russo