09/15/2010 5:56PM

Malibu Moon filly tops fourth session at $700,000

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Keeneland/Coady Photography
Craig Lavin Bernick (left) talks with a Keeneland representative Wednesday, the day he paid $700,000 for a Malibu Moon filly.

LEXINGTON, Ky.  -  A $700,000 Malibu Moon filly led selling Wednesday at the two-week Keeneland September yearling sale's fourth session on an afternoon that saw much upper-market activity from domestic shoppers.

Craig Lavin Bernick of Glen Hill Farm in Ocala, Fla., bought the session-topping daughter of Grade 3-placed Erhu from the Elm Tree Farm agency.

Wednesday's fourth session sold 196 yearlings for $23,859,000 from an initial catalog offering of 325. The average price was $121,730 and the median was $85,000. Cumulatively, the four sessions so far have sold 527 horses for $95,456,000, with a four-day average of $181,131 and a $120,000 median.

The buyback rate for Wednesday was 33 percent and the cumulative buyback rate was 32 percent.

Last year's fourth session sold 252 yearlings from a significantly larger catalog of 397 grossing $26,185,500 for a $103,911 average and a $75,000 median. Buybacks were 31 percent. Cumulatively, the first four sessions of 2009 sold 703 yearlings for $117,659,500, yielding an average of $167,368 and a $110,000 median; buybacks were 35 percent.

Wednesday's highest-priced colt was Hip No. 655, a $500,000 Dynaformer-Ensenada colt that Sheikh Hamdan al-Maktoum's Shadwell Estate Co. bought from the Mill Ridge agency. Other high-priced yearlings at the session included Hip No. 554, a $475,000 Giant's Causeway-Crowning Touch filly that Mandy Pope's Whisper Hill Farm bought from Cloverleaf Farms (Woodford Thoroughbreds, agent); Hip No. 802, a $450,000 Distorted Humor-Heat Lightning filly that G. Watts Humphrey Jr., purchased from Bluegrass Thoroughbred Services, agent; and Hip No. 695, a $400,000 Lemon Drop Kid-Panthera colt that Robert LaPenta's Whitehorse Stable bought from Middlebrook Farm, agent.
Maktoum-owned entities purchased five horses totaling $1,430,000 on Wednesday. In addition to his $500,000 Dynaformer colt, Sheikh Hamdan also acquired Hip No. 820, a $300,000 son of his former Horse of the Year and stallion Invasor. The dark bay or brown colt is out of the Pulpit mare Holly Kid, a full sister to Grade 1-winning millionaire Rutherienne. Peter O'Callaghan's Woods Edge Farm agency consigned the colt. Earlier, he also paid $300,000 to buy Hip No. 551, a Pulpit colt out of Grade 1 winner and millionaire Critical Eye, from the Taylor Made Sales agency.

Hamdan's brother, Sheikh Mohammed al-Maktoum, bought a pair of colts, a $250,000 Bernardini-Dundrummin' colt from Audley Farm (Brookdale Sales, agent), and an $80,000 Elusive Quality-Duchess Kiss colt from the Liberation Farm and Brandywine Farm partnership.
The Keeneland September yearling sale was to continue through Sept. 26, with sessions beginning daily at 10 a.m. in the sale pavilion. Saturday, Sept. 18, is a dark day.