Boosted by horses from the conclusion of the Conquest Stables dispersal, the Nov. 15 session of the Keeneland November breeding stock sale soared past the comparable day a year ago, bringing the cumulative numbers to nearly even terms with 2015.
Keeneland reported 287 head sold Tuesday for $10,833,700, which was 49.6% above the $7,242,300 for 253 horses during the comparable session a year ago. The average rose 31.9% to $37,748 from $28,626 and the median declined from $22,000 to $20,000. The 65 horses not sold represented an RNA rate of 18.5%.
After eight of the 13 sessions, Keeneland has sold 1,695 horses for $204 million, an average price of $120,360 with a median figure of $52,000. Through the same period a year ago, 1,715 head had averaged $119,637 on gross receipts of $205.2 million, with the median at the same $52,000.
The two-day complete dispersal of the Conquest Stables of Ernie Semersky and Dory Newell handled by Lane's End sold beyond expectations, with 96 horses grossing $11,113,000, for an average price of $115,760 with a median of $50,000.
Trainer Mark Casse, who helped build the Conquest Stable into a leading racing entity in North America over the course of four years, said he thought the horses sold well, but it was a sad occasion. Semersky announced in August he was dispersing the stable for personal reasons.
"I knew tonight would be sad," Casse said. "I was proud watching them go around, with how many good horses we had bought."
Casse said five or six of the horses would return to him to continue to train.
Casse and Lane's End's Bill Farish said the dispersal was positive and credited Lane's End sales director Allaire Ryan and bloodstock agent Jared Hughes for helping to coordinate the complicated planning involved with getting more than 100 horses in training from their various locations into Kentucky for the sale.
"Overall it went better than we anticipated," Farish said. "Our team did a super job with the logistics of it. Thanks to (former Conquest Stables trainer) Mark (Casse) and his team. It ended up grossing a couple million more than we thought. You always tend to be a little low when you're guessing on (sales figures from) a dispersal."
"The session was very, very good," Keeneland director of sales operations Geoffrey Russell said. "From start to finish the Conquest Stables' dispersal went very well. Full credit goes to Lane's End (agent for the dispersal) and (sales director) Allaire Ryan, who did a spectacular job coordinating the dispersal. The prices were great across the board. Obviously the top-priced horses are exciting, but middle- and lower-tier horses sold well, too, and that's very gratifying.
Top price Tuesday of $785,000 was paid by Ron Paolucci's Loooch Racing for Conquest Enforcer, a stakes-winning Into Mischief colt. A three-time stakes winner, the colt most recently finished third in the Nearctic Stakes (Can-II) at Woodbine.
Produced from the Victory Gallop mare Keen Victory, Conquest Enforcer is a half brother to multiple stakes-winning Conquest Vivi, who was purchased by Adena Springs for $480,000 during the Nov. 14 session.
"He's an unbelievably talented horse," said agent Zach Madden, who signed the ticket for Paolucci. "The only time he's really lost is when he's running against older horses and even then he doesn't get beat by much. He's so talented and it's kind of a rare opportunity to buy something like him."
The day's second-highest price of $735,000 came from Rockingham Ranch for Conquest Farenheit, a 2-year-old son of Scat Daddy who finished second in Woodbine's Summer Stakes (Can-II) Sept. 18.
"He's a gorgeous horse," said David Meah, who signed the ticket, adding that the colt would likely be sent to trainer Peter Miller in California. "He's an amazing horse. I think he can win a grade I and go on to be a stallion."
The 2-year-old son of Smart Strike bred in Kentucky by My Meadowview, was bought by Conquest for $425,000 from the Darby Dan offerings at the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale. Produced from the stakes-place El Gran Senor mare Forty Gran, the colt's half brother, Square Eddie, won the Lane's End Breeders' Futurity (gr. I) and finished second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), in addition to other graded stakes placings.
Conquest Smartee finished second in his career debut at six furlongs Oct. 10 at Woodbine.
"He's a lovely colt; we've watched him run," Ingordo said. "He ran well first time out and we put a star next to his name. He's got a very good pedigree, and he is by Smart Strike. This is one we have been following. We'll try him on the dirt. It was a very fair price. If he had broken his maiden (on Oct. 10 at Woodbine) that could add a couple hundred thousand to his price with his pedigree and looks."
The top price Tuesday for a non-Conquest horse was the $210,000 bid from Lauren and Ralph Evans for Diversify, a 3-year-old gelded son of Bellamy Road who has won both of his starts and has earned $73,200. He will return to trainer Rick Violette Jr.'s barn after being purchased from WinStar Racing's consignment.
"I've had him since early summer and he's two-for-two," Violette said. "He's a really nice horse and WinStar had a partnership and the agreement was to just get out. He's a gelding and wasn't going to be a stallion (for WinStar) and we're lucky we're taking him home. I'm thrilled to death."
Produced from the Street Cry mare Rule One, Diversify was bred in New York by Fred W. Hertrich III and John D. Fielding and was purchased by WinStar's Maverick Racing for $150,000 from Taylor Made Sales Agency at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga August yearling sale.
The sale continues through Nov. 20 with daily sessions beginning at 10 a.m. (ET).