10/16/2001 12:00AM

Keeneland topper shows loss


LEXINGTON, Ky. - A $400,000 rocket lit up the second and final day of Keeneland's October yearling sale Tuesday, but the sale-topping Pleasant Colony colt was one of the few bright spots in a generally weak market.

Together, the two sessions sold 338 lots for $5,092,900, yielding an average price of $15,068 and a median of $5,200. The buy-back rate was 34 percent at the Tuesday session - an improvement over Monday's 43 percent - and 38 percent for both days.

The sale-topper, whom agent John Moynihan purchased on behalf of Martin Cherry, provided evidence that buyers would pay good money for horses they thought were worth it. The Pleasant Colony colt, a son of La Paz (by Hold Your Peace) and thus a half-brother to the Grade 2 winning Forest Camp (Deputy Minister), was one of the sale's most attractive lots by virtue of his pedigree alone.

The colt initially sold for $500,000 as a weanling last year at the Keeneland November sale, with agent Chad Johnson signing the ticket for an undisclosed partnership; his dam, La Paz, sold in foal to Storm Cat at the same auction for $1.6 million on a final bid from Jane Lyon Equine, LLC.

The Pleasant Colony colt shipped to Fasig-Tipton's Saratoga select sale in August, where he was to be offered through Taylor Made Sales Agency, but he developed a fever and became too ill to sell.

Taylor Made did not have a consignment at the Keeneland October sale, and so the colt arrived here for another attempt at the auction ring via the new Paramount Sales agency, formed by Irishmen Pat Costello and Gabriel Duignan. Though he failed to earn his owners a profit on his weanling price, the price was, Costello acknowledged, a premium in this market, which produced only five six-figure lots.