11/10/2006 12:00AM

Middle keeps Keeneland sale rolling


LEXINGTON, Ky. - As the first week of Keeneland's November breeding stock auction drew to a close Friday, buyers were still ponying up six-figure sums for both mares and weanlings.

Prices usually come down from million-dollar heights by the end of the two-week auction's first week, and that was true again this year. But the market remained remarkably robust Friday, with 33 horses bringing $150,000 or more - and 13 bringing more than $200,000 - by 5:30 p.m.

Friday's session-topper was the $450,000 broodmare Quad's Melody. Cecil Seaman, agent, purchased Quad's Melody, a 7-year-old Spinning World mare, from the Taylor Made agency. Quad's Melody is a French Group 3 winner out of the Devil's Bag mare Fab's Melody, who also is the dam of Grade 2 winner Bonapartiste and stakes winners Go Got and Sablier Noir.

Quad's Melody sold in foal to Action This Day.

At Thursday's fourth session, traditional middle-market buyers combined with some big players and international pinhooking interests to create an unusually strong market. The session sold 257 lots for gross receipts of $31,626,000, up 27 percent from last year's fourth day. Average price soared 24 percent to $123,058, and median soared 34 percent to $90,000.

Thursday's top price of $600,000 was for the racing or broodmare prospect Pretty Proud, a 3-year-old Mr. Greeley filly. The purchasers were Irish bloodstock agent Brendan Gallagher and his partners Willie and John Browne, who operate Frankfort Park Farm on the former Old Frankfort Stud property. The trio purchased the farm last month and will use it to expand the American side of their trans-Atlantic bloodstock operation. Pretty Proud will retire to the breeding shed.

International buyers like the Frankfort Park team have been a notable feature at the November sale. For example, through Friday afternoon, Newmarket-based bloodstock agent and pinhooker Margaret O'Toole had signed the tickets for 11 lots, most in the $100,000 to $200,000 range. And the names of agents from Japan, South America, and France, among others, were also sprinkled liberally through the first week's sale results. That continued a trend from Keeneland's September yearling sale and also buoyed the sales figures in a crucial part of the market, the $75,000 to $250,000 range.

Also helping are buyers whose names usually appear only on the sale's Monday and Tuesday results sheets, when the most expensive lots sell. Jess Jackson's Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings and other major owners such as B. Wayne Hughes and Tracy Farmer were buying horses as late as Thursday.

The Keeneland sale was set to continue through Nov. 19, with daily sessions starting at 10 a.m.

Declines at Adena Springs sale

Fasig-Tipton hosted the annual Adena Springs broodmare sale Thursday night. Prices were down overall from last year's figures, but making a year-to-year comparison for this sale is difficult, because the number and quality of lots on offer can vary sharply from season to season.

The single-session auction offers mares in foal to Adena stallions, and the purchase price includes a 2007 season to another Adena stallion, a marketing technique that has proven successful for Frank Stronach's Kentucky breeding operation. This year, the sale sold 88 mares for a total of $2,313,500, resulting in an average of $26,290 and an $18,500 median. The gross was up 5 percent from last year, when 56 mares went through the ring, but average fell 5opercent to $26,290 and median fell 40 percent to $18,500.

But even with declines in average and median, the sale sold all but three lots. Last year, 12 of 68 lots failed to reach their reserves.

The auction's highest-priced mare was $230,000 Inspirational, who was cataloged in foal to Sligo Bay and sold with a 2007 season to North Light or Milwaukee Brew. Jackson's Stonestreet operation was the buyer.

Giacomo's stud fee set at $12,500

Giacomo, upset winner of the 2005 Kentucky Derby, has retired to Adena Springs and will stand his initial season in 2007 for a $12,500 fee.

Giacomo, a 4-year-old son of Holy Bull, last ran in the Nov. 4 Breeders' Cup Classic, finishing fourth behind Invasor. Campaigned by Jerry and Ann Moss and trained by John Shirreffs, Giacomo won the Derby and the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap. During his three-season career, Giacomo also placed in five graded stakes, most notably finishing third in the Preakness and second in the Hollywood Futurity. He retires with three wins in 16 starts and $2,537,316 in earnings.

Giacomo is out of the Stop the Music mare Set Them Free.

Pletcher to auction stallion seasons

Trainer Todd Pletcher has offered 26 stallion seasons to such sires as Speightstown, Bluegrass Cat, and Flower Alley for the Thoroughbred Charities of America's upcoming stallion season auction.

From Nov. 27 to Dec. 1, TCA will host an auction by telephone for about 280 seasons. An additional live season auction will take place at the Keeneland Entertainment Center on Dec. 1, conducted by Fasig-Tipton's auctioneers. The live auction will include seasons to stallions such as Mr. Greeley, Songandaprayer, Unbridled's Song, and Vindication, among others. Proceeds will benefit about 150 organizations devoted to racehorse rescue and retraining, equine research, backstretch aid, and other horse-related humanitarian causes such as riding for the handicapped.

More information is available at