02/02/2006 1:00AM

New Zealand sale prices dip


New Zealand Bloodstock's premier yearling sale ended Wednesday with declines after posting a near-record top price. But company officials remained satisfied with the returns, pointing out that last year's auction featured the last yearlings by world-class sire Danehill.

The 2006 premier auction ended with 390 lots sold for about $34,145,462, for an average price of about $87,553 and a median of about $55,120. Considered in local currency, those figures were down 7 percent, 8 percent, and 11 percent, respectively.

"Leading into the sale, we knew that the absence of Danehill, and the reduced number of yearlings by Zabeel that we had to sell, would likely prevent the final statistics from reaching the record-breaking heights of last year, which saw the sale average up 23 percent on the previous year," said New Zealand Bloodstock's marketing manager, Petrea Vela, in a statement following the last of three premier sessions.

Still, the 2006 auction sold its second-most expensive yearling ever when a Stravinsky colt, a half-brother to New Zealand champion juvenile Darci Brahma, brought $2.2 million in New Zealand currency, or about $1,508,319 U.S. The record is $3.6 million (New Zealand) for a Zabeel colt, later named Don Eduardo, in 2000.