01/14/2010 12:00AM

Mare tops sale's third day at $220K

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - A $220,000 broodmare in foal to Elusive Quality was the peak of the market Wednesday at the Keeneland January all-ages sale's third session in Lexington. One day after the sales of $1.085 million Miss Isella and $950,000 Bon Jovi Girl pushed Tuesday's session to gains against last year's figure, Wednesday saw more severe declines.

Thoroughbred Advisory Group, agent, bought the day's most expensive horse when they paid $220,000 for Rachel's Star, an 11-year-old Seeking the Gold mare who already has produced the stakes-winner and $111,321 earner Citizen, by City Zip. The Taylor Made Sales agency consigned Rachel's Star, who is out of Grade 1-placed Brave Deed, by Alydeed.

But the session ended with 211 horses sold for $2,560,100, a drop of 42 percent from last year's third day, which sold 230 horses. The 2010 day-three average price of $12,133 was down by 37 percent, and the $5,500 median represented a fall of 45 percent. But buy-backs dropped slightly, from 23 percent in 2009 to 22 percent.

Cumulatively, the first three days of the 2010 auction have sold 617 horses for an aggregate $20,553,900. That is 20 percent lower than last year's total for the same time frame. the cumulative average price this year, $33,313, is down by 16 percent, and the $14,000 median is 30 percent lower than last year's figure at the same point. Buy-backs rose, but only very slightly, from 24 percent in 2009 to 25 percent this season.

Southern Equine Stables, whose broodmare Last Song was a $775,000 buy-back at Tuesday's session, scratched two other prominent offerings in the Four Star Sales consignment, Grade 1 winners Point Ashley and Spoken Fur. But Four Star announced Wednesday that it had sold both privately. Point Ashley, in foal to Ghostzapper, sold for $1 million to Katsumi Yoshida in a deal facilitated by Nobu Araki of Polo Green Stable and by The Stallion Company's Jamie Lamonica and Greg Harbut. Naohiro Hosoda signed on behalf of Yoshida.

Narvick International bought Spoken Fur for $500,000 on behalf of Japan's Symboli Stud. She also was in foal to Ghostzapper.

The sale was to continue through Jan. 15, with sessions starting daily in the sale pavilion at 10 a.m.