A bay son from the only crop sired by grade I winner Booklet brought the top price of $500,000 Tuesday at the Keeneland September yearling auction in Lexington. John Brocklebank, agent, purchased the colt from Vinery. The colt is out of the unraced 9-year-old Wavering Monarch mare Fees Waived. Booklet died as the result of colic during his first year at stud and only sired six registered foals."This has been a really solid sale," said Tom Thornbury, Keeneland assistant director of sales. "Today is again indicative of the strength in the middle market."In all Tuesday, 294 yearlings were sold for a gross of $15,115,500, which was an increase of 17% from a year ago, when the total was $12,917,500 for the 283 horses sold. Meanwhile, the average increased 12.6% from $45,645 last year to $51,413, and the median increased 8.1% from $37,000 to $40,000. The buy-back rate saw a decrease this session, with 19.2% of the yearlings failing to meet their reserves. Last year, 20.3% of the eighth session yearlings failed to find new homes."We are impressed by the strength of the European buyers that have hung in here and are still buying," said Thornbury. "We think it is probably due to the fact that there are a couple of new 2-year-old sales in Europe next year and the strength of the exchange rate."All of the American buyers are also really going strong, and the pinhookers are still excited and are still here."Through eight sessions, the gross, average, and median have been ahead of last year's pace while the number of horses sold is down. So far, the 2,023 horses that have been sold have grossed $365,071,000 and averaged $180,460. In 2005, the 2,058 yearlings that found new homes during the first eight sessions grossed $352,576,500 and averaged $171,320. The median was $80,000 in 2005 and is $90,000 this year.A Petionville filly and a Posse colt were the second-highest priced yearlings of the day when they both brought $250,000. Taylor Stables purchased the Petionville filly from Pope McLean's Crestwood Farm, agent. The chestnut filly is out of the Nijinsky II mare So Unusual and is a full sister to stakes winner Haitian Vacation, who won the 2000 Selima Stakes. The chestnut Posse colt is the first foal out of the unraced Sultry Song mare Hot Blooded and was purchased by O & H Bloodstock Partners from Burleson Farms, agent."I think it is going to be a good sale for several more sessions," said Thornbury. "We are going to reach the end of this plateau some day soon, but not just yet."The Keeneland sale runs through Sept. 25.
William and Corinne Heiligbrodt, who campaigned grade II winner Posse in the name of Heiligbrodt Racing Stable, have sold the majority of their shares in the leading first-crop stallion to Posse Partners.