07/27/2004 12:00AM

Record Keeneland catalog

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The Keeneland September yearling auction will have a record 4,891 entries this year, Keeneland announced Tuesday. That total is 239 more than the previous record, cataloged in 2000.

The September sale is set to run from Sept. 13 through Sept. 27 in Lexington, Ky., with no selling on Friday, Sept. 17. The catalog will include yearlings by 367 stallions. Among those are 13 colts and 14 fillies by the highly successful sire Storm Cat.

Last year's September sale was a record breaker, setting marks for average price, at $92,329, and a median of $34,000, as well as for number of yearlings sold with 2,969. It also produced the second-highest gross, with $274,125,300 in 12 days of selling. In 2003, the highest-priced horse at the sale was a $3.8 million Gone West filly out of Touch of Greatness that Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum bought from Three Chimneys, agent. The auction's top colt was a $3.6 million Danzig colt out of Queena that John Magnier and Michael Tabor purchased from Middlebrook Farm, agent. The top pair were among 27 yearlings sold for $1 million or more.

There are high hopes for the auction again this year, following on a strong opening to the yearling market at Fasig-Tipton's July sale. That auction, held last week, saw gains across the board and a dip in the buy-back rate, prompting optimism for the boutique yearling sales to come.

The Keeneland September auction has gradually gained prominence as a globally important yearling sale, even replacing the now-departed Keeneland July sale as a source of blue-blooded young horses. But the sale's long duration also brings less expensive stock to the marketplace.

Sessions will begin at 10 a.m. in Keeneland's sale pavilion.