09/18/2009 12:00AM

Storm Cat, Medaglia d'Oro stay hot at sale

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Spirited bidding for yearlings by Storm Cat, Medaglia d'Oro, and Candy Ride livened up the action Thursday at the Keeneland September yearling sale's second of 12 open session. But it did not prevent the auction from posting a fourth consecutive day of hard declines.

After the fourth session, the auction has sold 703 yearlings for $117,659,500, a drop of 43 percent from last year's gross for 837 horses. The $167,368 average price was down 32 percent, and the $110,000 median fell 39 percent.

The session-topper was a $675,000 Storm Cat filly that Scott Ford's Westrock Stable bought.

The filly, Hip No. 926, is out of the Grade 2-placed stakes winner Winendynme by Dynaformer. The dark bay or brown filly was part of the late W.T. Young's Overbrook Farm dispersal, consigned through Eaton Sales.

On Wednesday, the first of 12 open sessions saw gross plummet 36 percent, with 270 yearlings selling for $50,807,000. Average fell 24 percent to $188,174, and median dropped 38 percent to $100,000. Those results were mixed as compared to the select session returns, with gross and average off less than at the select sessions, but with median taking a harder fall than on the select days. Buybacks were 38 percent as compared to 25 percent at the equivalent session last year.

A million-dollar yearling livened Wednesday's proceedings. Hip No. 570, a Medaglia d'Oro filly out of Beaties for Real, became the 2009 auction's fourth seven-figure horse when Charlotte Weber's Live Oak Plantation bought her for $1.3 million. It was a best-ever price for consignors Barbara and Francis Vanlangendonck's Summerfield agency. They offered the filly, a half-sister to graded winners Friel's for Real and Ryan's for Real, on behalf of Florida breeders Gilbert and Marilyn Campbell.

In addition to the $675,000 session-topper, Thurysday's session also sold a $630,000 Candy Ride-Heaven's Gate colt that Let's Go Stable bought from Padraig Campion's Blandford Stud agency, and a $600,000 Medaglia d'Oro-Bashful Charmer colt that Westrock Stables bought from Dave Parrish's Indian Creek agency.

Hip No. 910, a Paramount Sales colt by first-crop sire Pomeroy, provided some levity in the tough market. The strapping gray colt refused to enter the auction ring despite being led from the front and pushed from behind. As valuable minutes ticked by and the sale ring remained empty, auctioneer Cris Caldwell observed that the colt would be worth the wait. Then he added: "Maybe he'd follow a filly in here."

That idea had occurred to horsemen, too, and a moment later a handler from the Mill Ridge agency obligingly led a pretty bay Malibu Moon straight through the auction ring, with the Pomeroy colt walking very happily behind. The filly, Hip No. 911, kept walking right out the other side of the ring, and when they shut the door behind her selling promptly began for the Pomeroy colt. He brought $100,000. The filly, sold immediately afterward, brought $10,000.

The auction was to continue through Sept. 28 with sessions starting daily at 10 a.m., except on Sept. 18, a dark day.

Agents have interest in Super Derby

Beth and Greg Burchell of the Crossroads Sales agency have been busy showing their consignment to prospective buyers, but on Saturday they'll take a break, find a TV somewhere on the sale grounds, and root for two of their former sale yearlings in the Super Derby. Crossroads Sales bred Uno Mas, 8-1 on the morning line, and consigned Red Lead, a 15-1 shot. Both went through the 2007 Keeneland September auction, where Uno Mas brought $150,000 and Red Lead was a $20,000 buyback for the Burchells's client, Joe Davis.

"Uno Mas sold for $150,000 in Book 6," Greg Burchell said, referring to the catalog that covered the 2007 sale's 11th and 12th sessions. "That was a lot of money that late in the sale. But he was always a special horse, and it wasn't a big surprise that he could run. He's one close to our hearts, obviously, and we're especially happy with him."

Burchell said Uno Mas's dam, the Regal Classic mare Queen Majesty, will go through the auction ring in November. She is carrying a Songandaprayer foal. Uno Mas is by Macho Uno.

Red Lead, a Red Bullet gelding, didn't spend long with the Burchells. Davis bought him for $10,000 at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's winter mixed sale before attempting to pinhook him at Keeneland September.

"We weren't fortunate enough to be able to sell him," Burchell said. "I worked for Frank Stronach for seven years in the breeding shed. I was close to Red Bullet, so I'm glad to see his progeny doing well.

"Mr. Davis always liked this horse, so when we couldn't sell him, he had no problem keeping him. It was a smart move."

2008 breeding stats show decline

The Jockey Club's 2008 breeding statistics show an expected decline in breeding activity in North America.

With an estimated 90 percent of annual live-foal reports in, the Jockey Club reported Sept. 17 that the number of reports for 2009 foals bred in 2008 are down 8.2 percent from last year. The registry organization has received reports for 31,727 foals, as compared to 34,561 reported by the same point last year.

The number of active stallions and broodmares also fell last year, with 3,439 stallions covering 56,901 mares. The number of sires fell 5.5 percent from 3,638 reported in 2007, and the broodmare number dropped 7.1 percent from the 61,262 reported two years ago.

"As we announced, the North American foal crop projection for 2009 has been revised downward to 34,000, and the live foal returns to date reflect that," said Matt Iuliano, the Jockey Club's vice president of registration services.