01/13/2016 7:28PM

Ready for Romance sells for $240,000 at Keeneland auction

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The third session of the Keeneland January horses of all ages sale on Wednesday kicked off the auction’s second book by carrying on the trends set in Book 1 – less fireworks at the top of the market and a lower gross, but consistent gains in average and median sale prices.

Wednesday’s session closed with 220 horses sold for revenue of $3,817,300, down 6 percent from last year’s third session, when 242 horses brought $4,074,300.

The average sale price rose 12 percent from $16,836 to $17,351, while the median increased 9 percent from $8,250 to $23,000. The buyback rate finished at 23 percent, up slightly from 21 percent during last year’s third session.

At the top of the market, two horses commanded six-figure prices. Fifteen horses sold for $50,000 or more.

Ready for Romance, a stakes-winning racing or broodmare prospect, led the session, going to South Florida-based Fifth Avenue Bloodstock for $240,000.

The 4-year-old More Than Ready filly sold as property of Sam-Son Farm, which campaigned Ready for Romance as a homebred during her first two seasons on the track, in which she won three of four starts, including the Ontario Damsel Stakes. Malcolm Pierce trained the filly during her time with Sam-Son Farm.

Mike Ryan, who signed the ticket as agent for the buyer, said the filly would be put back into training, with a trainer to be decided later.

“She’s only had four starts, and her only start on the grass [the Ontario Damsel] was very impressive,” Ryan said. “She led gate to wire in a nice stakes in Woodbine at a mile, which in the third start of her life is pretty impressive. If she stays healthy and sound, there’s no reason she shouldn’t run this year and next year.”

Ready for Romance is out of the winning Mr. Greeley mare Strange Romance, who is the dam of three winners from four foals to race. Her extended family includes Grade 3 winner Matt’s Broken Vow.

The day’s top yearling and second-most-expensive offering was a colt from the first crop of Shanghai Bobby who sold to Blue Sky Stables for $105,000.

The dark bay or brown colt, born May 14, is out of the winning Cape Town mare Six Ribbons, whose three winners from as many runners includes stakes winner Prayforthesoldiers.

Bred in Kentucky by Jenny Mills, the colt’s extended family includes champion sprinter Benny the Bull, Canadian champion Blue Finn, Grade 1 winner Shotgun Gulch, and Grade/Group 3 winners Fancy Ribbons, Jolie Rafaela, Maysville Slew, and Shotgun Kowboy. Catalyst Bloodstock consigned the colt as agent.

“He was a well-balanced, really nice-moving colt, half to a stakes horse,” said Brian Graves of Gainesway, who signed the ticket. “It’s a little more than we thought we’d give for him, but we’ll bring him back next year and make a little money. We’ve been getting outbid, so we hung in there.”

Taylor Made Sales Agency finished the day as the leading consignor by gross, with 35 horses sold for $727,400 and four of the top 10 prices. The most expensive of the group was a yearling Exchange Rate colt out of the winning Forest Wildcat mare Falconess who sold to Carolyn Vogel for $90,000.

Fifth Avenue Bloodstock was the session’s leading buyer with the lone purchase of the session-topper.

After three days of the Keeneland January sale, a total of 595 horses changed hands for $30,468,900, trailing last year’s sale, where 694 brought $31,872,700, by 4 percent. The average sale price outpaced last year’s renewal by 12 percent, going from $45,926 to $51,208, while the median of $22,000 trailed last year’s figure of $23,000 by 4 percent. The buyback rate remained steady at 27 percent.

Thursday’s sale session closes the auction’s second of three books, and the sale concludes Friday, beginning each day at 10 a.m. Eastern.