09/09/2014 6:31PM

Keeneland September: Oxbow half-brother headlines bountiful second session

Keeneland photo
Hip No. 345, a half-brother to Oxbow by Unbridled's Song pictured during the bidding process, was bought by Mandy Pope for $1.6 million Tuesday at the Keeneland September yearling sale.

Tuesday’s second session of the Keeneland September yearling sale expanded on the good start established at Monday’s opener, posting gains in gross, average, and median compared with last year’s second session.

Keeneland reported 121 horses sold Tuesday for revenues of $37,788,000. That figure is an 8 percent improvement compared with the second session in 2013, when 139 horses brought $34,886,000.

The average sale price rose 24 percent, from $250,978 to $312,298, while the median jumped 40 percent, from $200,000 to $280,000.

The buyback rate for Tuesday’s session finished at 27 percent, holding steady with last year’s second-day figure of 26 percent.

“The day from start to finish was very strong,” said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s director of sales. “As we saw, it was a continuation of yesterday. It was a very strong, competitive market, a good cross-section of buyers. That’s what we try to do with this new format, to get buyers on the ground, get them to look at all the horses, get through all the horses and find out the ones they like and the ones to break loose, and the ones that are affordable.”

A half-brother to 2013 Preakness Stakes winner Oxbow became the new sale-topper late during Tuesday’s session, selling for $1.6 million to Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm.

The colt, from the penultimate crop of the late Unbridled’s Song, was consigned by Burleson Farms, as agent.

"I'm usually after a filly," said Pope, who is known for her purchases of high-profile mares such as champions Havre de Grace and Groupie Doll. "I thought I'd try to venture out a bit and try something different. ... He's absolutely gorgeous. Everybody always says these things, but he's tremendous. Unbridled's Songs tend to go on and run and hopefully become stallions, so we're hoping. With Oxbow in [the bloodlines], hopefully ... we'll follow in Oxbow's trail and maybe win the Derby on the way there.

"It's definitely very overwhelming for me to spend this much money on a colt," Pope reiterated. "Fillies, okay – but colts, it's a very risky business."

Pope said that the colt would be shipped to GoldMark Farm in Ocala, Fla., to wind down from the sale before moving to her Whisper Hill Farm in nearby Citra, where two new barns are under construction.

The colt is out of the unraced Cee’s Tizzy mare Tizamazing, a full sister to Horse of the Year Tiznow who is the dam of three winners from as many starters, led by millionaire Oxbow. Tizamazing is also the dam of Grade 3-placed stakes winner Awesome Patriot. Both runners are by Awesome Again.

“[This colt is] a little different from [Tizamazing’s] other foals,” consignor Lyn Burleson said. “Being by Unbridled’s Song, he’s a little larger than the Awesome Agains have been, but we think he’s a really nice colt and hopefully he’ll show himself well. He’s always been a horse that takes real good care of himself and he’s got a lot of sense. We think he’s pretty nice.”

Burleson has experience with sale-topping horses, having consigned the highest-priced offering in the history of the Keeneland September sale – the $11.7-million Meydan City in 2006.

Gainesway finished the session as the leading consignor by gross, with 12 horses sold for a combined $4,680,000. Leading the way were two $700,000 Tapit foals: a filly whose second dam is champion Winning Colors, who went to Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm; and a colt out of the Carson City mare Seeinsbelieven, bought by Conquest Stables.

M.V. Magnier, representing the Coolmore partnership, was Tuesday’s leading buyer, with three purchases totaling $2,350,000. Magnier signed the ticket on the second-highest-priced horse of the day, a $1.3 million War Front colt out of the A.P. Indy mare Score, whose dam is millionaire Educated Risk.

Tapit was the leading sire in terms of both gross and average (from more than one yearling sold) on Tuesday, as 10 of his yearlings sold for $6,095,000, averaging $609,500. He also leads overall in those categories through the first two days of trading, with 19 yearlings sold for $10,900,000, and an average of $573,684. The third seven-figure horse sold on Tuesday, a Tapit filly out of Grade 3 winner Super Espresso, brought $1 million from Robert Krembil and Chiefswood Stables.

After two days of selling, a total of 241 yearlings have changed hands in the Keeneland auction ring for revenues of $70,953,000. That marks a 2 percent improvement compared with the same point in 2013. Through two sessions last year, 269 yearlings sold for $69,621,000.

The average sale price of $294,411 marked a 14 percent improvement compared with last year’s two-day average of $258,814. The median rose 25 percent, from $200,000 to $250,000.

The buyback rate through two days was down 1 percent, slipping from 28 percent in 2013 to 27 percent this year.

A total of 32 horses sold for $500,000 or more during the first two sessions of this year’s sale, besting last year’s 24. However, the five horses to command seven figures through Tuesday’s final drop of the hammer trails the eight that did so after two days in 2013.

Book 1 of the Keeneland September sale continues through Thursday, Sept. 11, with sessions beginning each day at noon Eastern. After a dark day on Sept. 12, the auction will continue daily until Sunday, Sept. 21, beginning each day at 10 a.m.

For hip-by-hip results, click here.

- additional reporting by Nicole Russo

Keeneland September yearling sale, second session results:

Year Sold Gross Average Median Buyback
2014 121 (-13%) $37,788,000 (+8) $312,298 (+24%) $280,000 (+40%) 27%
2013 139 $34,886,000 $250,978 $200,000 26%