11/07/2006 1:00AM

Ten seven-figure buys highlight 2nd session

The session-topper was the $2.8 million broodmare Because, a 5-year-old daughter of Sadler's Wells who sold in foal to Kingmambo.

The session sold 178 lots for gross returns of $65,880,000, which resulted in an average price of $370,112 and a $250,000 median. Gross was up 11opercent, average was up 20 percent, and median climbed 12 percent from last year's equivalent session, despite a 7 percent drop in number sold.

Ten horses sold for $1 million or more on Tuesday, bringing the two-day total to 27. Last year, only four sold for seven figures on the second session.

The buyback rate stayed almost the same. It was 24 percent this season, as compared to 23 percent in 2005.

English bloodstock agent Hugo Lascelles signed the ticket for session-topper Because but would not disclose his client, saying only that the buyer was an "international breeder" whose operation is not commercial. He said that Because was likely to stay in Kentucky.

"I expect she'll probably go back to Kingmambo," he said of the mare's 2007 breeding plans.

"This is about the most outstanding family there's been in a long, long time," Lascelles added. "The pedigree is really alive. There's a lot happening in the family, and the mare's got about three Sadler's Wellses coming along. She's exciting.

"She's one to keep forever. Hopefully, they'll get a few daughters out of her."

The auction's top-priced weanling, a North American record $2.7 million Montjeu colt, also illustrated the value of an "alive" pedigree. Hip No. 385, a son of the stakes-producing Arazi mare Elbaaha, last went through the auction ring in utero in January. Dave "Shack" Parrish's Indian Creek agency tried to sell the pregnant Elbaaha then, but she failed to reach her reserve on a final bid of $1.175 million, despite being the dam of Group 1 and Grade 1 winner Electrocutionist. Since then, Electrocutionist got better with a victory in March in the Dubai World Cup.

Parrish, who consigned the colt on behalf of Ballymore Properties owner Sean Mulryan, said that, in retrospect, "We're very happy the mare didn't sell."

Parrish said Elbaaha's Montjeu weanling was popular from the moment he hit the sale ground, attracting prospective bidders from both sides of the Atlantic.

"I think through yesterday he had 136 individual looks," Parrish said.

The winning bidder was Japanese bloodstock agent Nobutaka Tada, who declined to identify his client. But he said the colt was bound for Japan and that his new owner "dreams of the Arc de Triomphe."

The price the Japanese buyer paid to chase that dream surprised consignor Parrish, who said he'd expected the colt to sell in the $750,000 to $1omillion range. At more than twice that, the Montjeu colt was the top seller for Indian Creek's six-horse consignment for the November sale's first two days.

"It feels very good," Parrish said. "Strike another one for the small consignors."

A weanling Gone West filly out of champion grass mare and Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf winner Islington also brought an eye-popping price and Keeneland sale record for a filly of $2.4 million.

Offered as Hip No. 432, the filly was purchased by the M. A. B. Agency's Marc-Antoine Berghracht.

Paramount Sales consigned the filly on behalf of Ballymacoll Stud Farm, although the filly was foaled and raised at Indian Creek. Ballymacoll's decision to switch consignors deprived Parrish and his team of credit on the sales results, but Indian Creek's staff still received congratulations from horsemen on the grounds for their part in the sale-ring payoff.

The previous North American weanling record was $2.5 million for Magic of Life, who sold at the 1985 Newstead Farm dispersal at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky.

Two other lots sold for $2 million or more. The first was Hip No. 489, the $2.2 million Storm Cat broodmare Penny's Fortune, a half-sister to Old Trieste in foal to his sire, A.P. Indy. Three Chimneys, agent, bought her from the Paramount Sales agency. That was followed by Hip No. 520, the $2 million broodmare Saree, a Barathea three-quarter sister to 2006 Irish Oaks winner Alexandrova in foal to Kingmambo. Ballygallon Stud of County Kilkenny, Ireland, purchased her from the Denali Stud agency.

The Tuesday catalog also offered a season to 2005 Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Afleet Alex. The season, sold to benefit the pediatric cancer charity Alex's Lemonade Stand, brought $45,000, from Chuck Zacney. Zacney was managing partner of the Cash Is King partnership that raced Afleet Alex. The stallion stood his first season in 2006 for a $40,000 fee at Gainesway Farm in Lexington.

The Keeneland November breeding stock sale was to continue through Nov. 19, with sessions starting daily at 10 a.m.