Keeneland's First Session: Down, But Not Out

Keeneland's First Session: Down, But Not Out
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Twenty Eight Carat, the dam of A P Valentine, brought Monday's top price of $4-million.
The market didn't collapse during the first session of the Keeneland November breeding stock sale. But it was clear from the early results the auction would not keep pace with last year's edition, which established a November record for average price and piled up gross revenues of more than $300 million for the second time in its history.

The 152 horses that sold on Nov. 5 grossed $48,735,000 and averaged $320,625. The median price was $180,000. The figures paled in comparison to the statistics for the first Monday of last year's sale, when 226 horses were sold for a gross of $102,450,000 (a single-session record for a Keeneland auction), an average of $453,319, and median of $220,000. The 2000 sale opened on a Sunday with four dispersals that grossed $28,095,100, averaged $140,476, and had a median of $55,000. In addition that day, 10 stallions seasons grossed $2.5 million.

There are significantly fewer horses catalogued to the 2001 November sale, which runs for 11 days (compared to 14 last year). There also is a significant reduction in the quality of the stock. Mare reproductive loss syndrome and declining prices for weanlings last year were the biggest factors in the changes for the worse, according Keeneland's director of sales, Geoffrey Russell. The struggling American economy and the uncertainty created by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks also will hurt business at this year's auction.

"The sale is going to be way, way down from last year," Russell predicted.

The buy-back rate for 2001's opening session was 36.7%, with 88 of the 240 horses offered failing to find new homes. Nine horses sold for $1 million or more. The most expensive, at $4 million, was Twenty Eight Carat, who is carrying a foal by 2000 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Fusaichi Pegasus. The 11-year-old minor stakes-placed daughter of Alydar is the dam of 2000 Champagne Stakes (gr. I) winner A P Valentine (by A.P. Indy), who finished second in this year's Preakness (gr. I) and Belmont Stakes (gr. I). She also is the dam of stakes winner Summer Bet (by Summer Squall).

William S. Farish's Lane's End consigned Twenty Eight Carat as agent. Her buyer was Elizabeth Moran's Brushwood Stable. Moran fought off a challenge from British bloodstock agent John Ferguson, who usually represents Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai. Both made their bids from the back of the sale pavilion, where a crowd gathered as the price rose higher and higher.

Moran bred Twenty Eight Carat and sold her for $325,000 at the 1991 Keeneland July yearling sale. Moran's desire to own the mare again was not fueled by sentiment.

"I didn't buy her because I had an attachment to her," she said. "I bought her because I thought she was the best mare in the sale." Asked if she would have any partners in Twenty Eight Carat, Moran declined to comment.

Klaus Jacobs' Newsells Park Stud was the opening session's biggest spender, paying $9,387,000 for 20 horses. They included the French group I winner Volvoreta (in foal to Giant's Causeway), who sold for $2.4 million, and the 2000 Beverly D. Stakes (gr. IT) winner Snow Polina ( in foal to Danzig), who sold for $2.1 million.

Jacobs is a Switzerland-based entrepreneur. His farm is located in England. According to Jacobs' son, Andreas, Newsells is seeking stock with "international pedigrees" in its quest to build a 60-member commercial broodmare band. Newsells' marketing strategy will focus on sales in England. The farm will offer all the colts it breeds at auction, but some of the fillies will be retained, Andreas Jacobs said.

Heeremandi, the only mare in the sale in foal to Storm Cat, went to John Sikura of Hill 'n' Dale Farms for $2,150,000.

"I bought her for myself and a couple of partners," Sikura said. "She's got a great family, and she's in foal to the right horse. I hope we get lucky."

A six-year-old daughter of Royal Academy, Heeremandi raced for Michael Tabor. She won the 1997 Silver Flash Stakes in Ireland and finished third in the 1997 Prix Morny Piaget (Fr-I). Heeremandi is a half-sister to four stakes winners. One of Heeremandi's half-sisters, La Confidence, produced the two-time champion Flawlessly. Stanley Gumberg's Skara Glen Stables bred Heeremandi's first two offspring, a yearling filly by Danehill and a weanling filly by Sadler's Wells.

Skara Glen spent $1,450,000 for European stakes winner Majestic Role, who sold in foal to Kingmambo. She is the dam of French group III winner Aiglonne (by Silver Hawk).

Wertheimer Et Frere bought North of Neptune, an unraced Mr. Prospector filly, as a broodmare prospect for $1,950,000. Pete Whitman purchased grade I winner Jostle, who was offered as a racing or broodmare prospect, for $1.7 million. Charlotte Weber's Live Oak Stud bought grade I winner Dreams Gallore as a broodmare prospect for $1.6 million. And Ted Burnett of Josham Farms purchased a Storm Cat -- Better Than Honour weanling filly for $1.5 million. The price was the second highest ever for a November weanling. However, the transaction was not an outright sale because Sikura, the filly's breeder and consignor, said he kept a half-interest.

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