01/12/2007 12:00AM

Young broodmares continue to top sale


LEXINGTON, Ky. - The Keeneland January all-ages sale continued to yield six-figure horses on Friday, its fifth of eight sessions. The afternoon's top price was $150,000 for the broodmare prospect Truart.

John and Martha Jane Mulholland, owners of Grade 1 winner Malibu Mint and a small but highly successful commercial breeding operation in Lexington, purchased Truart. The Hill 'n' Dale agency sold the 4-year-old Yes It's True filly.

Truart was one of eight horses to bring $100,000 or more, and her session-leading price emphasized yet again the demand for young fillies with black type in their race records and with their breeding careers ahead of them.

Truart is a Grade 2-placed runner, having finished third in the 2005 Adirondack Stakes, and she won once in five lifetime starts. She is a daughter of the Copelan mare Artistic One, which makes her a half-sister to two stakes-placed runners, Niko the Greek and Yasou Daniel.

The Friday session grossed $4,390,100 for 221 horses sold, yielding an average price of $19,865 and a $10,000 median. The gross was down 18 percent from that of the equivalent session last year, when 234 horses sold. The 2007 average was also down, by 14 percent, but the median rose 18 percent.

The sale was to continue through Jan. 15, with sessions beginning daily at 10 a.m.

Hughes focusing on breeding

When he bought Spendthrift Farm in Lexington in 2004, B. Wayne Hughes already had two stallions at stud just down Iron Works Pike at Castleton Lyons. Those two - 2003 juvenile champion Action This Day and Malibu Moon, sire of 2004 juvenile champion Declan's Moon - still stand at Castleton, but now Hughes has launched his own stallion roster at Spendthrift, too. Earlier this month, he announced the arrival of Osidy and Don't Get Mad, who will stand for $4,000 and $3,000, respectively. They will join Teton Forest ($5,000) at Spendthrift.

Hughes is relishing his transition from yearling buyer to breeder and farm owner, and he was on hand at the Keeneland January sale to oversee purchases of new mares to go to his stallions. By Friday afternoon, he had acquired 15 mares. That selection included $330,000 stakes winner More Than Pretty, his most expensive of those purchases.

"I have about 80 mares at Spendthrift now, and I'll probably buy about 20 to 25 more," he said. "Most of those will go to our own stallions."

Hughes said he's spending more and more time at Spendthrift and finds himself increasingly interested in the breeding game.

"I like it better than the racing game," he said. "It takes longer to get the bad news. I think it's more intellectually interesting."

And it's potentially profitable. Hughes says that most of the horses he breeds will head to the auction ring.

Survey: Disclosure most important

A recent survey of Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club members found that more than 90opercent of respondents believe that dual agency fees should be disclosed to buyers and sellers in a transaction. But fewer than 60 percent would be in favor of standardizing bloodstock commissions as in other industries, such as real estate.

The survey information was released this week by attorneys representing owner James McIngvale. In September, McIngvale sued agents Kevin and J.B. McKathan and trainer Bob Baffert, alleging that his agents received secret kickbacks from sellers when McIngvale purchased their horses; the McKathans and Baffert have denied wrongdoing.

McIngvale is pressing for increased disclosure in bloodstock transactions and teamed up with another reformer, Jess Jackson of Stonestreet Stables, to conduct the survey from Dec. 4-9. The survey questioned 129 people, 60 percent of whom described themselves as owners.

Respondents describing themselves as managers, trainers, and/or bloodstock agents most strongly favored standardizing commissions, with 51 percent of managers and 54 percent of trainer-agents supporting that move. Fifty-eight percent of all respondents felt dual agency was wrong, as compared to 37 percent who felt it was not wrong.

"It appears that disclosure is the most important factor," the results report noted. "Eliminating dual agency and standardizing commissions are seen by some as worthwhile, but having everything on the table, disclosing dual agency and commission rates, appear to be the most important issues."

Finally, for agents or consignors found to be participating in a dual agency deal, 66 percent of respondents agreed that they "should be prohibited from business at major auction houses for a period of time."

Etc. . . .

The Barretts sale company in Pomona, Calif., will require a certificate of veterinary inspection for every horse coming in for the company's Jan. 22-23 mixed sale. The certificates must include current health data and vaccination information as well as "declarations concerning recent proximity" to known cases of the equine herpesvirus, the Barretts announcement said. California is one of several states with recent outbreaks of equine herpesvirus, which can cause potentially fatal neurologic symptoms. . . . A yearling colt by Sadler's Wells out of Australian Oaks winner Sunday Joy (Sunday Silence) set a sale record of $2 million, or about $1.6 million in U.S. terms, on Friday at the Magic Millions yearling auction on Australia's Gold Coast in Queensland. Trainer Gai Waterhouse purchased the colt on a single bid. The seller was John Singleton's Strawberry Hill Stud.