09/15/2009 11:00PM

Medaglia d'Oro filly shines at $1.3M

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Photos By Z/Keeneland
Hip 570, a filly by Medaglia d'Oro, the sire of Rachel Alexandra, sold to Live Oak Plantation for $1.3 million.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - After two days of severe declines at its Monday and Tuesday select sessions, the Keeneland September yearling sale started its open sessions Wednesday with a million-dollar session-topper amid sellers' continuing concern over the slumping Thoroughbred market.

Hip No. 570, a filly by sizzling hot sire Medaglia d'Oro, brought a $1.3 million bid from Live Oak Plantation as the day's most expensive horse. Consigned by Barbara and Francis Vanlangendonck's Summerfield agency, the dark bay filly was what Live Oak manager Bruce Hill called a standout at a session that many bidders felt was stronger than the select sessions.

But the market continued its slide on Wednesday. Gross plummeted 36 percent, with 270 yearlings selling for $50,807,000. Average fell 24 percent to $188,174, and median dropped 38 percent to $100,000. Those results were mixed as compared to the select session returns, with gross and average off less than at the select sessions but median taking a harder fall than on the select days. Buybacks were 38 percent as compared to 25 percent at the equivalent session last year.

Monday and Tuesday s select sessions posted a 48-percent loss in total gross after 222 horses brought $58,756,000. The two-day average of $264,667 and median of $215,000 were down 30 percent and 28 percent, respectively. Buybacks stood at 38 percent at the close of business Tuesday evening, up from last year s rate of 31 percent.

Medaglia d'Oro, sire of filly phenom Rachel Alexandra and a host of female stakes winners this year, was the major attraction about Hip No. 570.

"She was an obvious filly, and you had to like her," Hill said. "She's what we're looking for as end-users: race and long-term broodmare investment. It was probably fair price. The market is what it is, but for us, it was our max. That was as far as we could go. We pushed."

That push benefitted breeder Marilyn Campbell.

"You're always concerned," she said. "You're concerned about getting them safely to the sales ring. The market didn't look too good the first couple of days, but it seemed to pick up a little on Tuesday and then a little more today. She was worth every penny of it. The market hasn't been too great, but we're thrilled."

The filly is out of stakes-placed Beaties for Real and is a half-sister to graded winners Friel's for Real and Ryan's for Real and stakes winner Little Thunder.

Other high-priced yearlings Wednesday included Hip No. 744, a $725,000 Bernardini-Listen Now filly that Brushwood Stable bought from Legacy Bloodstock, selling on behalf of Spruce Lane Farm and Samuel G. Nappi; Hip No. 674, a $625,000 Awesome Again-Forest Secrets colt that Bob Baffert, agent, bought from the Gainesway agency Hip No. 493, a $610,000 Dynaformer-Stirring colt that Alex Solis and Jason Litt bought from Claiborne Farm, agent; Hip No. 522, a $475,000 a Medaglia d'Oro-Vanty Flair colt that agent Richard O'Gorman bought from Eaton Sales, agent; and Hip No. 562, a $400,000 First Samurai-Ava Knowsthecode colt that Zayat Stables bought from Valkyre Stud, agent for Oakbrook Farm.

While many consignors still struggled Wednesday, a new selling partnership had enough success with their one yearling to reinvest in the business. Phil Hager, 21-year-old son of Idle Hour Farm owner David Hager, struck out on his own this year with a pinhooking partnership that sold Hip No. 510. The seven-man group was made up of young men whose families are in the Thoroughbred business. One was Griffin Mayer, whose family owns the Nursery Place farm near Lexington and consigned Hip No. 510. Back in November, the partners paid $52,000 for the son of War Front out of To Be Approved, by With Approval. That makes him a half-brother to graded winner Church Service.

Church Service obligingly improved between the Keeneland November sale and the September yearling auction, placing in the Grade 1 Hollywood Turf Cup and Grade 2 San Luis Obispo Handicap. Credentials burnished, the partnership's War Front ridgling brought a profitable $85,000 Wednesday.

"A lot of people in November thought the market wouldn't turn around by the time we had to sell him," said Phil Hager. "The market's not great, but you can still sell a horse for good money and make a profit. But people are really picking on X-ray issues. What sold our horse was his big walk, and his catalog page was very versatile. We cut it close, but we're very happy."

The sale was to continue through Sept. 28 with the remainder of the auction's open sessions. Sessions start daily at 10 a.m., except on the dark day of Friday.

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