A striking son of El Prado sold for $750,000 to keep the train moving on the fourth day and the close of second catalog of the massive 15-day Keeneland September yearling sale. For the day, the sale company realized increases in gross, average, and median despite a drop in the number of horses sold.
For the session, Keeneland reported 259 horses sold to gross $45,078,000. The average was $175,403 and the median $150,000. There were no seven-figure horses.
The buy-back rate was 29.8%, an increase of 19.2% from last year's session rate of 25%.
Compared to the same session one year ago, the gross increased 7.9% when the 273 horses sold grossed $41,744,500. The average jumped 14.6% from last year's mark of $153,020. The median increased 25% from $120,000. During the same session last year, two horses sold for seven figures or more.
"I was very pleased with today's results," said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland director of sales. "It is still selective, make no mistake. It is still not easy. There is lots of money there for the right horse. With the selection that is on-tap here the buyers can be very selective, so there are some weaknesses there that need to be addressed."
Russell said the performance of the horses cataloged for book two met his expectations. "Book two ended up a little stronger than I thought," he said. "I want to attribute that to a psychological block some people had for book one."
Over the first three days, 854 hips sold for $243,290,500. The average was $284,883 and the median $200,000.
Compared to the same numbers from 2006, the number of horses sold decreased nine-tenths of one percent from 862 to 854. The gross fell 10.9% from $272,909,500 to $243,290,500. The average decreased 10% from $316,600 to $284,883. The median grew 10% from $185,000 to $200,000.
The cumulative buy-back rate was 27.1%, an increase of 6.3 % from last year's rate of 25.5%
British bloodstock agent Charlie Gordon-Watson purchased the top-selling horse of the session, a bay colt, from the consignment of Mill Ridge Sales, agent for Golden Eagle Farm, in phase one of a major reduction.
"I had four horses on my final list for the day and obviously this colt was one of them," Watson said. "This is the right sort of horse to go to Europe. He was an extremely good-moving horse and I love the stallion."
Watson, who credited a healthy exchange rate for the pound compared to the dollar, noted the lack of European-style pedigrees offered at American sales.
"From a European point of view, there are fewer and fewer opportunities for us pedigree-wise," he said. "I used to (take chances on American pedigrees to race in Europe), but I don't do it anymore. In years gone by, we used to have all of those Roberto-line horses and Kris S. pedigrees, Now there seems to be a bit of a shortage of stallions with pedigrees that could go to Europe. We are a bit restricted as to what we can buy.
"Mr. Greeley has become very popular in Europe and Dynaformer works in both America and Europe. We are here but we are not buying the numbers we used to buy, not because we do not like the horses but because their pedigrees are not suitable for European racing."
Bred in Kentucky by Betty Mabee and her son, Larry, owners of Golden Eagle Farm, the colt was produced from the Golden Eagle-homebred grade I winning Seeking the Gold mare Favorite Funtime. He is from the family of grade I winner Beau's Eagle, grade III stakes winner Man From Eldorado, and stakes winner Promising Girl.
"For an El Prado he stood over a lot of ground and he was correct with a very athletic walk. A true two-turn looking horse," said Bayne Welker, Mill Ridge director of stallion marketing and sales development. "He had a lot of interest at the barn and we were pleased with the result."
Watson said he was also interested in the son of Dynaformer who sold to Don Little's Centennial Farms for $700,000 earlier in the day. Centennial Farm ended the day as the session's leading buyer, spending $1.45 million for three hips.
The Dynaformer son was also consigned by Mill Ridge and shares the session's co-highest price.
Also bringing $700,000 was a son of Hennessy-Sacred Promise by Blushing John purchased by Demi O'Byrne on behalf of Coolmore and associates. The colt, bred in Kentucky by Highclere, was originally purchased by Blanford Bloodstock for $275,000 at the 2006 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November mixed sale and was consigned to the September sale by Eaton Sales, agent.
There is no sale Sept. 14. The fifth session will resume at 10 a.m. Sept. 15.