09/13/2017 7:31PM

Keeneland September: Trio of seven-figure colts leads cracking session

Keeneland photo
A colt from the final crop of Scat Daddy sold for $1.1 million to M.V. Magnier of the Coolmore partnership to lead Wednesday's session at the Keeneland September yearling sale. He was one of three yearlings sold for seven figures on the day.

The level of competition among buyers at Book 2 of the Keeneland September yearling sale jumped to the next level on Wednesday, featuring a trio of seven-figure transactions.

Wednesday’s session was the second of three comprising the bellwether auction’s Book 2 as part of an overhauled catalog. Books 1 and 2 of this year’s renewal are arranged with an ultra-select, single-session first book followed by three Book 2 sessions before the auction’s traditional dark day. By comparison, last year’s sale featured a three-day Book 1, followed by the dark day, then two Book 2 sessions.

At the end of Wednesday’s trade, a total of 194 yearlings changed hands for revenues of $47,018,000.

The average sale price closed at $242,361, while the median checked in at $180,000. Wednesday’s average marked a 79 percent gain from the second session of last year’s Book 2, which landed at $135,638. It also displayed a 63 percent rise from last year’s cumulative Book 2 average of $148,672.

The buyback rate finished at 33 percent on Wednesday, compared with 35 percent during the second session of last year’s second book and 33 percent for Book 2 of 2016 at large.

Led by the three yearlings that brought seven figures, a total of six horses sold for $750,000 or more, and 22 sold for $500,000 or more.

“Book 2 started off strong yesterday and continued on today,” Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s director of sales operations, said. “I think [the new format] has done what we’ve wanted it to do, and it continues to show the results we’d hoped and expected to get. Buyers have been involved all the way through, and prices have been very good.”

The session topper came early in the day, with M.V. Magnier of the Coolmore partnership signing for a colt from the final crop of Scat Daddy for $1.1 million.

The dark bay or brown colt is the first foal out of the placed Tapit mare Orchard Beach, and hails from the family of Grade 1 winner Over All and Grade 3 winners Repletion and Necessary Evil.

Scat Daddy was based at at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky. until his death in December 2015. A colt from his final crop also topped Tuesday’s Book 2 opener, going to Kerri Radcliffe on behalf of Phoenix Thoroughbreds for $950,000.

"It's a lot of money for a horse, but he's by the right sire that everybody wants, so I suppose he's entitled to it,” Magnier said.

After signing the ticket, Magnier said the colt would likely be sent to Europe to train under Aidan O’Brien.

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The colt was bred in Ontario by Anderson Farms, which also consigned him. The operation also bred dam Orchard Beach and owned second dam Song and Danz.

"I'm more than thrilled,” David Anderson said. “It's my first million-dollar horse and I couldn't ask for a better home for him. I hope he goes on and does well for the connections. He's going to one of the greatest trainers in the world. 

"As the momentum built the last day, there were a lot of the proper players in the game that were looking at the horse,” Anderson continued. “I felt like the stars were aligned for a big price. I just didn't know how much.”

The next pair of seven-figure yearlings came near the session’s end, each bringing $1 million.

First came a full brother to Grade 2 winner Blofeld, sold to the partnership of Coolmore and Peter Brant’s White Birch Farm.

Bred in Kentucky by Keats Grove Farm, the Quality Road colt is out of the stakes-winning Storm Cat mare Storm Minstrel, who is the dam of five winners from seven runners. Indian Creek consigned the colt, as agent.

"We thought he was one of the nicest colts all week that we saw, and we're happy to get him,” said trainer Chad Brown, who signed the ticket. “He's got a good pedigree and he's everything we're looking for."

Near the end of Wednesday’s session, Radcliffe and Eric Fein teamed up on an Orb colt out of the stakes-placed Dixieland Band mare Tally Ho Dixie.

The colt is a sibling to three winners from five runners, including Grade 3-placed stakes winner Kyriaki. He was a $175,000 weanling purchase out of last year’s Keeneland November breeding stock sale, and Dromoland Farm consigned the colt as agent on Wednesday.

“I think we liked everything about him,” Fein said. “He’s going down to Stonestreet [Training Center, in Ocala, Fla.], and we’ve decided on Todd Pletcher as the trainer.”

Darley’s Medaglia d’Oro finished the day as the leading sire by gross, with 10 yearlings sold for $3,710,000. Leading the way was a $625,000 filly who sold to White Birch.

The top sire by average among those with three or more sold was Curlin, whose six yearlings sold brought an average of $425,833. The resident of Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm was led on Wednesday by a $725,000 colt who sold to Juddmonte Farms.

Lane’s End Farm was the session’s leading consignor by gross, with 19 horses sold for $4,345,000, led by a $430,000 Super Saver filly who sold to Mike Ryan, as agent.

Ryan was also Wednesday’s top buyer, with eight purchases totaling $2,575,000.

At the end of three sessions, a total of 483 horses changed hands for revenues of $149,414,000. The average sale price sat at $309,346, the median was $220,000, and the buyback rate closed at 34 percent.

Book 2 of the Keeneland September sale concludes Thursday, beginning at 11 a.m. Eastern, followed by the auction’s dark day on Friday. The sale picks back up with Book 3 on Saturday and runs daily through Sept. 23, beginning each day at 10 a.m.

For hip-by-hip results, click here.