11/20/2010 4:49PM

Keeneland's 13-day sale ends with double-digit declines


LEXINGTON, Ky. – Keeneland’s 13-day November breeding stock auction ended Saturday with the market between 10 and 15 percent below last year’s levels, a sign that commercial breeders, hampered by tight credit, remain hesitant to expand their holdings aggressively.

The auction closed with 2,979 horses sold for a total of $147,392,900, down 8 percent from last year’s gross for 2,779 horses. Average price declined 12 percent to $50,322, and the $17,000 median was down 15 percent. Buybacks were 23 percent, up slightly from 22 percent last season.

A difference in catalogs played a role in the downturns. In 2009, the auction featured Overbrook Farm’s dispersal, accounting for more than $20 million. In 2010, even without that group of horses, buyers maintained almost throughout the sale that each session’s choicest horses were attracting competitive bids. But, for many sellers, the story was different. Many noted their better horses only scraped past their reserves in a market consignors feel has thinned considerably, particularly below the upper crust.

That level retained some strength, although the powerful first two days still saw average fall 11 percent and median by 16 percent, as compared to the Overbrook-rich 2009 opening sessions. Frank Stronach purchased the Keeneland sale-topper, $2.55  million Dreamtheimpossible, just two days after paying a sale-topping $2.3 million for Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Awesome Feather at Fasig-Tipton’s November sale, where average fell 13 percent and median 24 perecent.

Dreamtheimpossible is a 4-year-old daughter of Storm Cat’s son Giant’s Causeway and out of the great racemare Spain. She was in foal to Galileo. Dreamtheimpossible was one of eight horses, all mares, to bring $1 million or more this year. There were five last year.

The top weanling price was $450,000 for each of three horses. They were a Henrythenavigator-Versailles Treaty colt that an anonymous buyer signing as D.M.I. purchased from the Paramount Sales agency; a Street Sense-Time for a Crown colt that Sheikh Hamdan al-Maktoum’s Shadwell Estate bought from Paragon Farms, agent; and a Dynaformer-Sometime filly that M.V. Magnier, son of Coolmore boss John Magnier, purchased on Coolmore’s behalf from Pauls Mill, agent.

Blackberry Road, a half-brother to champion juvenile Vindication and Grade 3 winner Scipion, topped Saturday’s final session on Jose Luis Miglietti’s $46,000 bid. Three Chimneys was the consigning agent.