09/21/2008 11:00PM

Late session sales decline sharply

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Keeneland's September yearling sale entered the homestretch Monday still running well behind last year's auction with only one day left to go.

Monday's session, the 14th of 15 days, sold 211 yearlings for $1,585,700, down 40 percent. The session average of $7,515 was down 31 percent, and the median of $4,500 was off 36 percent.

Monday's top price was the $52,000 that Albatroz Bloodstock spent to buy a Candy Ride-Wise Love filly for client Haras Cifra. Stony Point, agent, consigned the bay filly. Her dam is a Dixieland Band mare and hails from the family of Mystical Mood, the second dam of champion Stevie Wonderboy.

Sunday's session also posted losses versus last year's figures for the equivalent session. Topped by a $95,000 Graeme Hall colt out of Divine Rockette, the day's selling grossed $2,577,00 for 229 horses, as compared with $3,664,200 for 249 horses in 2007. The session's average price fell 24 percent to $11,253, while median dropped 11 percent to $8,000. The buyback rate, the percentage of horses who failed to reach their sellers' minimum bid, at Sunday's session was 28 percent, up sharply from last year's 20 percent.

Leighton Brooke Racing purchased Sunday's session-topper from the Gainesway agency.

The running tally for the entire sale showed a less steep drop-off, though that was little comfort for sellers offering horses in late sessions marred by larger declines. Through Sunday, 13 sessions had sold 3,245 yearlings for $325,277,800, a decrease of 15 percent from last year's total for 3,384 horses. The 13-day average was $100,240, down 11 percent, and the $47,000 median was down by 6 percent.

A convergence of factors were contributing to 2008's comparatively softer market, including weakness in many of the world's main Thoroughbred-buying economies, such as England and Japan, and a record catalog of 5,555 yearlings that created an oversupply of product.

High quality broodmares at Fasig-Tipton

Kentucky's Fasig-Tipton auction house scored a major coup earlier this year when it secured Better Than Honour for its November select breeding stock sale. The dam of back-to-back Belmont winners Jazil and Rags to Riches undoubtedly is the catalog's centerpiece and will sell as the auction's final lot of the day. But there also are 18 other broodmares or prospects that are either Grade 1 winners or the dams of Grade 1 winners, according to Fasig-Tipton executive Terence Collier.

The catalog for the Nov. 2 auction has 188 horses, with about 80 racing and/or broodmare prospects, 50 mares in foal, and 52 weanlings.

In addition to Better Than Honour, Hill 'n' Dale Farms and Southern Equine Stable also will sell Grade 1 winners Madcap Escapade (in foal to A.P. Indy) and Point Ashley (in foal to Distorted Humor).

Among them are Grade 1 winners Zoftig, who is the dam of Grade 1 winner Zaftig, in foal to Hard Spun; Pure Clan, Stardom Bound, Backseat Rhythm, and Dearest Trickski, all offered as racing or broodmare prospects; Honey Ryder, in foal to Giant's Causeway; and Panty Raid.

Producers of Grade 1 winners include Blushing Ogygian, dam of record-setting 2008 Grade 1 winner Street Boss, in foal to Half Ours; and High in the Park, the dam of Divine Park, in foal to Medaglia d'Oro.

The catalog also features 15 Grade 2 winners and 18 Grade 3 winners, Collier said.

The auction will take place at Fasig-Tipton's Newtown Paddocks in Lexington starting at 3 p.m.

* The charity event Fatty's Four Star Blowout, hosted Sunday by Four Star Sales in Lexington, raised more than $5,000 for Central Kentucky Riding for Hope in honor of the late Kentucky horseman and longtime CKRH supporter David Mullins. Four Star Sales is continuing to accept donations on behalf of CKRH at its Lexington, Ky., office. For more information, contact (859) 252-4800.