11/14/2007 1:00AM

Mid-market mares are in demand

EmailLEXINGTON, Ky. - One day after setting a sale record with a gross of $321,774,400, Keeneland's November mixed auction continued to ring up a handful of six-figure prices in a market that buyers and sellers alike generally termed strong and competitive.

As of 5 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, a domestic bidder, Andre and Trish Regard's Occidental Thoroughbreds, held the top-priced horse, the $180,000 broodmare Thunder Bayou. The Regards bought Thunder Bayou, a 4-year-old Thunder Gulch mare, from Hartwell Farm, agent, on behalf of a partnership. Thunder Bayou, who is carrying a Broken Vow foal, will join Occidental's dozen-mare band in Bourbon County, Ky., Andre Regard said.

But foreign bidders remained active, as they have done through much of the two-week auction. The weak dollar has been a boon to American sellers, said Keeneland director of sales Geoffrey Russell.

"We have a very international group at the moment, people from Russia, the Ukraine, Denmark, all the Latin American countries, and Central America, as well," Russell said.

Buyers like Occidental - commercial breeders who did well at the September yearling sales and are reinvesting their profits on new or better mares - also were contributing significantly to the buoyant market, Russell said.

"Middle-market mares are very competitive here because that market did very well in September," Andre Regard said, noting that Occidental generally was spending between $60,000 and $200,000 for November mares. "The whole market is really showing that what you really need to have is a higher-end, middle-market mare."

Regard also said that 2007's relatively small number of first-crop sires with six-figure stud fees had helped create demand among commercial breeders for middle-market mares. That's because foals sired on the lower fees would have a broader audience at future yearling sales than the strictly boutique foals by $100,000-and-up stallions, Regard said.

On Tuesday, the November auction set a sale-record gross of $321,774,400 with 2,141 horses sold and six days remaining in the two-week auction. That total surpassed the gross of $317,666,000 set at the 1999 sale and represented an 8 percent increase from last year's total of $298,422,400 for 2,169 horses at the same point in the sale. The nine-day average of $150,292 is up 9 percent from last year, and the $65,000 median is level with last year's figure at the same stage.

Hip No. 3209, the 3-year-old broodmare prospect Kimmy Potter consigned by the Three Chimneys agency, broke the 1999 gross record when she sold for $90,000 to Glenn Burrows Bloodstock. The stakes-winning filly is by Broken Vow.

Tuesday's session-topper was the $250,000 Go Swiftly, a 2-year-old racing or stallion prospect that Allen Iwinski bought from WinStar Racing, as agent. Go Swiftly is by Gone West out of the Danzig mare Dance Swiftly.