The huge Keeneland September auction Sept. 8-23 provided the yearling selling season’s biggest and stiffest test of the commercial appeal of new stallions’ progeny. Because many young sires had a large number of offspring offered, their success depended less on a few carefully-selected top individuals and more on their ability to pass along good conformation consistently to their offspring.
Among the handful of new sires with inaugural stud fees of $40,000 or more, champion and dual classic winner Afleet Alex stood out in the marketplace. The 51 progeny from his first crop that sold brought an average price of $129,627, a figure that was 3.2 times his fee of $40,000. His most expensive yearling sold for $725,000.
A yearling sale progeny average that is 2.5 times a stallion’s stud fee traditionally has been considered a sign of commercial success in the Thoroughbred industry, and many breeders would prefer to see it quite a bit higher.
Rock Hard Ten, winner of the 2005 Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) and the 2004 Malibu Stakes (gr. I), was represented in the Keeneland September auction by 38 yearlings that sold for an average of $129,684, which was 2.6 times the stallion’s fee of $50,000.
Other young stallions with expensive fees didn’t fare so well. Ghostzapper, the 2004 Horse of the Year, had a $925,000 yearling and his 28 progeny that sold brought the highest average, $267,786, for any first crop sire. But that average was only 1.3 times Ghostzapper’s fee of $200,000, which was the most expensive among the new stallions.
The late Saint Liam, the 2005 Horse of the Year, had 39 offspring from his first and only crop that sold during the Keeneland September auction. They averaged $100,359, which was two times his fee of $50,000.
Among new sires that stood for more than $10,000, but less than $40,000, Powerscourt and Forest Danger stood out. Powerscourt’s seven offspring that sold averaged $63,643, which was 5.1 times his stud fee of $12,500. Forest Danger’s 19 progeny that sold averaged $86,195, which was 4.3 times his fee of $20,000. Other stallions in that stud fee price range whose first-crop offspring brought averages that were high multiples of their fees were:
--Southern Image (18 averaging $48,428, 3.2 times his $15,000 fee);
--Eurosilver (44 averaging $35,891, 2.8 times his $12,500 fee);
--Eddington (38 averaging $56,618, 2.8 times his $20,000 fee);
--Consolidator (29 averaging $52,810, 2.6 times his $20,000 fee).
Among new stallions with inaugural stud fees of $10,000 or less, Closing Argument enjoyed the most impressive September sale. His eight progeny that sold brought an average of $76,063, which was 7.6 times his $10,000 fee. Other stallions in that stud fee price range whose first-crop offspring brought averages that were high multiples of their fees were:
--Taste of Paradise (nine offspring averaging $28,889, 4.8 times his $6,000 fee);
--Mingun (10 averaging $26,320, 3.5 times his $7,500 fee);
--Woke Up Dreamin (seven averaging $26,071, 3.5 times his $7,500 fee);
--Value Plus (23 averaging $33,704, 3.4 times his $10,000 fee);
--Wildcat Heir (seven averaging $22,857, 2.9 times his $8,000 fee).