Gross, Average Rise in Keenland's Seventh Session; Pinhookers Busy

Gross, Average Rise in Keenland's Seventh Session; Pinhookers Busy
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Keeneland sale takes upturn on day seven.

The Keeneland sale continued to produce strong numbers early during its second week in Lexington, with the gross revenue and average price increasing from the previous year for the fifth session in a row on Monday. The median remained the same, ending five consecutive sessions of growth.

"There are still nice horses to be found, and it's still hard to buy a good horse," said California bloodstock agent Gayle Van Leer. "When you try to buy a good one, there are always three or four people bidding against you."

The 288 horses sold during the auction's seventh session grossed $20,517,500 and averaged $71,241. Compared to last year, when 284 yearlings were sold, the gross rose 5.9% from $19,377,000. The average advanced 4.4% from $68,229. The median stayed the same at $55,000 while the buy-back rate fell from 22.8% last year to 21.5% this year.

"It was another good day at the sale," said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland's director of sales. "It was very strong all the way through, and it had a 2-year-old feel to it, with a lot of (yearling-to-juvenile) pinhookers buying horses."

Pinhookers who purchased horses Monday included Crupi's New Castle Farm, Eisaman Equine, David Scanlon, and Nick de Meric.

Gulf Coast Farm, a pinhooking and breeding operation headed by Florida horseman Jerry Bailey and Utah horseman Lance Robinson, bought the session's two highest-priced horses, a $325,000 Cherokee Run colt and a $300,000 son of Awesome Again  .

The Cherokee Run colt is out of the 9-year-old winning Tabasco Cat mare Informative, who finished third in the 2000 Jersey Jumper Stakes at the Meadowlands. The bay yearling is a half-brother to 2-year-old Reckless Redhead (by El Corredor  ), who finished second this year in her first career race. Other members of the family include grade I winner Virginia Rapids and Venezuelan champion Alighieri.

Robert Clay's Three Chimneys Sales consigned the colt as agent. He was bred by Silver Springs Stud Farm and Randy and Judy Roberts.

The Awesome Again colt is the second foal out of the 8-year-old winning Matty G mare Divine Angel, who finished third in the 2001 Sorority Stakes (gr. III). Other members of the gray or roan yearling's family include grade I winner winners Goodbye Halo, Squander, and Val's Prince.

Taylor Made Sales Agency consigned the colt for his breeder, Jess Jackson's Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings.

Gulf Coast also purchased the session's top-priced filly, spending $230,000 for a daughter of Cape Town out of the 10-year-old Southern Halo mare Taba Star. The dark bay or brown yearling is a half-sister to the winner Transit of Venus (by Coronado's Quest), who equaled the course record for 1 1/16 miles (1:40.93) at Laurel Park this year. Peter O'Callaghan's Woods Edge Farm consigned the filly, whose family members include Argentine champion Taba and her Eclipse Award-winning son, Turkoman, along with Argentine champion and Argentine Triple Crown winner Telescopico.

The September sale's cumulative figures through seven sessions were 1,697 yearlings sold and a gross of $324,091,200. The average was $190,979, and the median was $120,000.  Compared to 2006, when 1,729 horses were sold, the gross was down 7.4% from $349,955,500. The average declined 5.6% from $202,403, but the median grew 20.0% from $100,000. The buy-back rate rose from 23.5% last year to 25.4% this year.

The auction continues through Sept. 25, with selling beginning each day at 10 a.m.

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