09/16/2010 6:16PM

Smart Strike colt, filly top Keeneland day

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - A pair of $550,000 Smart Strike yearlings were the peak of the market Thursday at during a lively fifth session at Keeneland's September yearling sale.

The session ended Thursday evening with 197 yearlings grossing $23,234,000. The average price for the session was $117,939, and the median was $100,000. Session buy-backs were 30 percent.

Overall, the two-week sale's first five days have grossed $118,690,000 for 724 yearlings. The average is $163,936 and the median is $110,000. Both average and median figures are up from last year's session and cumulative figures from 2009. Buybacks were slightly lower at 32 percent.

At last year's equivalent day, under a different format and a larger catalog, the fifth session sold 238 horses for $18,439,500 for a $77,477 average and a $60,000 median. Buy-backs for the session were 34 percent. Through day five last season, the auction had sold 941 horses for $136,099,000, resulting in a $144,632 average and a $100,000 median. The cumulative buy-back rate was 34 percent.

The two Smart Strike yearlings who sold for a session-topping $550,000 were a colt out of the Deputy Minister mare Madame Thor that Ahmed Zayat bought and a filly out of My Miss Storm Cat, by Sea of Secrets that George Bolton purchased. Both were consigned by the Gaines way agency.

The day's second-highest price was the $435,000 that Demy O'Byrne paid for a Street Sense colt out of Priceless Storm. Taylor Made, agent, was the consignor. The bay colt is from the family of multiple graded winner and sire Master Command and of Grade 3 winner Aurora Lights. O'Byrne represents Cool more Stud, which, unusually, was buying a yearling by a stallion that stands at Sheikh Mohammed al-Mattoon's Darley Stud. The purchase marked a rare event, because for the last several years, Coolmore and Darley have engaged in a seeming mutual boycott of each other's stallions.

Below Zayat, Bolton, and Coolmore on the buyers' list were several American-based buyers purchasing horses for $300,000 or more. Those included trainer Todd Pletcher, acting as agent, who paid $370,000 for an Empire Maker colt out of Perfect Solution from Ashview Farm, agent; Reynolds Bell, agent, who picked up a $350,000 Lion Heart-Lifeinthefastlane colt from Lakland Sales; Scott Ford's Westrock Stables, buyer of a $350,000 Tiznow-Lajitas filly from the Taylor Made agency; and Ann and Jerry Moss, buyers of a $305,000 Bernstein-Moonstar colt, a full brother to Grade 1 winner Miss World, from the Three Chimneys agency.

Ben Glass, agent, paid $300,000 for two yearlings: a Pulpit colt out of Just a Ginny from Lakland Sales and a Tapit colt out of Mississippi Madam consigned by the Paramount agency. Also spending $300,000 on Thursday was Sheikh Hamdan al-Maktoum's Shadwell Estate Co., which bought a Hard Spun-Mayfield colt from Dromoland Farm's agency.

Northwest Stud Stable, a Venezuelan group that recently bought a farm in Ocala, Fla., bought Hip No. 989, a $350,000 Street Cry colt out of Magical Meadow. Consigned by the Betz Thoroughbred agency, the chestnut colt is a full brother to Grade 3 winner Street Magician.

The Keeneland September yearling sale was to continue through Sept. 26. Sessions continue daily at 10 a.m. except for Saturday, which is the auction's dark day.