09/12/2012 8:12PM

Keeneland September: Wednesday session maintains upward trend

A Bernardini colt led the third day of the Keeneland September sale, selling for $1,550,000.

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Led by a $1.55 million Bernardini colt that Coolmore bought, the Keeneland September sale’s third session (the second session of auction’s four-day Book 2 segment) rang up across-the-board gains.

The Wednesday session ended with 196 yearlings bringing $34,573,000, a five-percent increase over the total for 215 yearlings at last year’s Wednesday session. Average climbed 16 percent, from $152,649 to $176,393, and median also increased by double digits, rising 12 percent from last season’s $130,000 to $145,000 on Wednesday.

Session buybacks also stayed on an upward trend, going from 24 percent at last year’s equivalent session to 27 percent Wednesday.

Year-to-year comparisons this year are complicated by the fact that Keeneland reformatted the auction this year, cutting the select sessions down from two days to one. That made direct comparisons difficult. The most equivalent comparisons are between day two of Book 2 this year, today’s Wednesday session, with day two of last year’s Book 2, last year’s fourth session.

Cumulatively, the auction so far has sold 457 horses for $97,103,000, a decline of 13 percent that was expected due to a 20-percent smaller catalog. The three-day average is running four percent ahead of last year’s at the same point, session two of Book 2, at $212,479. Median was running behind by 12 percent at $150,000 versus $170,000 through last year’s second Book 2 session. Overall buybacks, like today's session buybacks, also were up through Wednesday. The three-day 2010 buyback rate was 27 percent, as opposed to 30 percent last year.

(For Keeneland September sales results, click here)

Catherine Parke’s Valkyre Stud consigned the session-topper, a half-brother to My Best Brother, on behalf of her longtime clients, Bill and Betty Currin. The Currins also were on hand for the best-ever yearling price both for them and for Parke. In making the purchase, Coolmore supported a fashionable young stallion that longtime Coolmore rival Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum stands at his Darley Stud. 

The bay colt, foaled Feb. 22 last year, is a half-brother to Grade 1 winner Stormello, a homebred that Bill Currin, now 76, also trained. 

The yearling’s other half-brother, My Best Brother, won the Del Mar Derby the week before the sale. The Currins’ partner in both My Best Brother is Al Eisman, who also partnered with the couple in Stormello.

The seven-figure price for Stormello’s half-brother scored a notable double for Parke, who sold another million-dollar Bernardini here a year ago. That one, a daughter of Silk n’ Sapphire, brought $1.2 million from Besilu Stables.

Five other horses sold above the $500,000 mark, including another, later purchase by Coolmore. That was an $825,000 colt, a half-brother to Illinois Derby winner Recapturetheglory, from 2008 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown’s second crop. The dark bay colt, a May 11 foal, is out of the stakes-placed Dehere mare Cold Awakening. Warrendale Sales sold him on behalf of Whitechurch Bloodstock. He was the session’s second most expensive yearling. Late in the session, Sheikh Hamdan al-Maktoum’s Shadwell Estate Co. picked up a Dynaformer half-brother to recent Spinaway third Teen Pauline for $650,000. Three Chimneys, which stood Dynaformer until his death in April, consigned the filly for Stonestreet Stables.She’s out of the Carson City mare Effectual, a Grade 3 winner.

Japan’s J. S. Company bought the Lane’s End agency’s $600,000 Medaglia d’Oro-Weekend Whim colt from the family of Any Given Saturday and Todd Pletcher, acting as agent, purchased Siena Farm’s $550,000 Empire Maker-Back Bay Dixie colt from the family of Lakeway and Mushka’s dam, Sluice. 

Shadwell also bought Wednesday’s most expensive filly, a $525,000 Tapit half-sister to Canadian champion Ginger Brew, multiple graded winner Bourbon Bay, and stakes-winner Booyah. Vinery Sales, agent, sold the chestnut filly, a Feb. 25 foal. 

The two yearlings that sold for $500,000 were a Distorted Humor-Capote’s Crown colt from the family of champion and sire Smoke Glacken that the Sweezey and Partners consignment sold to Martin Anthony and a Tapit-Christmas Star colt, a half-brother to Cuvee and Will He Shine, that Pletcher bought as agent from Gainesway’s agency.

The Keeneland September sale’s Book 2 section was to continue through Thursday with sessions starting each day at 11 a.m. After a dark day on Sept. 14, the auction was to resume with Book 3. Book 3 and the remainder of the sale sessions, running through Sept. 21, will begin at 10 a.m.