09/24/2009 11:00PM

Price decline persists at sale

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - The top prices hadn't yet hit the six-figure mark by 4 p.m. Friday at the Keeneland September yearling sale's 11th session. At least by that hour, Friday was the first day that a six-figure horse hadn't yet sold at the two-week auction. The session-leader was Hip No. 3919, an $80,000 Stormy Atlantic colt that the Taylor Made agency sold to Just For Fun Stables.

As at several of this week's sessions, yearlings out of young mares early in their breeding careers seemed to be among the more desirable offerings. Hip No. 3919 is out of Emptythetill, a 9-year-old Holy Bull mare who was second in three starts. Her first foal is 4 and unraced, but her 3-year-old Songandaprayer colt, Yukon Bull, is a winner.

On Thursday, a $140,000 Malibu Moon filly topped the 10th session, but prices continued to fall as the 14-day auction wound toward its Sept. 28 conclusion. SGV Thoroughbreds purchased the Malibu Moon filly from Peter O'Callaghan's Woods Edge Farm agency. The bay filly, Hip No. 3636, is out of the stakes-placed Quiet American mare My American Girl. So far, the mare has produced three winners from as many starters.

The Malibu Moon filly was one of four yearlings to bring six-figure bids Thursday, but the session's financial results lagged behind those for the equivalent day in 2008, continuing the slides seen since opening day, Sept. 14. Thursday's session sold 271 horses for $5,229,200, resulting in an average of $19,296 and a $13,000 median. The gross was down 29 percent, average fell 32 percent, and median dropped by 35 percent. Buybacks dipped from last year's figure of 29 percent to 24 percent as sellers cut losses or simply accepted the declining market.

The sale was to continue through Monday at the Keeneland sale pavilion. Sessions begin 10 a.m. daily.