Offspring of Distorted Humor led the third session of the Keeneland September yearling sale Sept. 12 at the Central Kentucky auction house on a day that saw the number of horses sold decrease, while the gross, average, and median for the session increased.
The son of Distorted Humor was purchased for $1 million and the daughter brought a final price of $675,000.
For the session, Keeneland reported 260 horses sold to gross $52,835,000. The average was $203,212 and the median $160,000.
The buy-back rate was 27.8%, an increase of 7.8% from last year's session rate of 25.8%.
Compared with the same session in 2006, the gross decreased 1.9% when the 265 horses sold grossed $48,275,000. The average jumped 11.6% from last year's mark of $182,170. The median increased 6.7% from $150,000.
Over the first three days, 597 hips have sold for $198,212,000. The average is $332,013 and the median $230,000.
Compared with the same numbers from 2006, the number of horses sold increased 1.4% from 589 to 597. The gross fell 14.2% from $231,135,000 to $198,212,000. The average decreased 15.4% from $392,419 to $332,013. The median remained constant at $230,000.
The cumulative buy-back rate is 25.9%, an increase of .08% from last year.
"I am very much encouraged by today," said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland director of sales. "It had a great feel from the start and had a strong international feeling from the beginning with eight of the 12 horses on the first results sheet going to overseas buyers."
Russell added the resurgence of the market on the first day of the open sessions could be credited to a psychological block some buyers have about the type of powerful buying competition often found for book one.
"There might be a little of a psychological block for some buyers," Russell said. "That idea has been floated around a little. I don't know."
While Russell credited overseas buyers for helping to strengthen the third session, the day's top price went to a domestic partnership.
Consigned by Don Robinson's Winter Quarter Farm, the son of Distorted Humor was bred in New York by the partnership of Waterville Lake Stable and was produced from the Saint Ballado mare Santa Croce. The colt is from the family of stakes winner Broad Dynamite.
Maverick Racing, the buyer, is a Texas-based partnership of WinStar Farm owners Bill Casner and Kenny Troutt, along with a couple of their friends, according to Elliot Walden, WinStar's vice president.
"He was a lovely colt," said Walden. "He's by Distorted Humor and obviously we are fond of him and we are going to support him anyway we can."
Walden said this colt ranked among the top five sons of Distorted Humor in the sale and resembled grade I winner Any Given Saturday, also by Distorted Humor and who races for WinStar and Satish and Anne Sanan's Padua Stable.
"We tried on a couple of other ones and this is the only one that we have gotten. We are very excited to have gotten him," he said. "This colt has some scope and a great balance."
It was announced recently that Sheikh Mohammed's Darley had purchased a number of shares in the son of Distorted Humor, who will continue to stand at WinStar near Versailles, Ky. His 2007 stud fee was $225,000.
Any Given Saturday was purchased by Darley in mid-August. The Todd Pletcher-trainee will continue to race for WinStar and Padua through the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I).
The top-priced filly was bought by Kentucky bloodstock agent Mike Ryan from the consignment of Threave Main Stud.
Produced from the Dynaformer mare Abita, the filly was bred in Kentucky by James Heyward and is from the family of French group III winner Majuscule and grade III stakes winner Royal Cielo.
The day's second-highest priced colt was an $800,000 son of Mr. Greeley who was purchased by Sheikh Hamdan's Shadwell Farm. Rick Nichols, vice president and general manager of Shadwell signed the ticket for the purchase.
The colt, who was consigned by Peter O' Callaghan's Woods Edge Farm, was bred in Kentucky by Green Gates Farm, and was produced from the Lure mare Mastsue, who raced in Europe. He is from the family of European champion Kooyonga.
“His mama ran in Europe and we’re concentrating more on Europe," Nichols said. "We’re trying to buy some for both the American and European stables but this one particularly will probably be programmed for the European stable. Mr. Greeley's done very well there."
O' Callaghan said, "Mr. Greeley seems to have gone to the next level over the last year or so. We thought he had a shot to bring a lot of money," he said of the price. "But you never think a horse is going to bring that kind of money. I knew he’d come in here and make $350,000 or $400,000, but $800,000 you can't expect."
For the day, Shadwell purchased six horses for $3,390,000, including a $600,000 son of Mr. Greeley.
Nichols said both sons of Mr. Greeley would likely race in Europe.
Speaking of offspring by Mr. Greeley, Nichols said, "He is a sire that can get a runner who can go a distance of ground,. With us, we can look for turf horses and dirt horses. Our primary focus is on Europe, so anything we find that can go to the turf we are very interested in it."
The sale continues Sept. 13, with the session beginning at 10 a.m.