The strong pace continued Sept. 15 at the Keeneland September yearling sale, with double-digit gains in gross, average, and median. Helping lead the way Sept. 15 were six individuals that sold for $300,000 or more, including an Empire Maker colt that commanded the top price of $430,000.
Keeneland sold 296 horses for $25,791,000, an increase of 25.12% over 2011 when 280 horses brought $20,613,500. Average price for the day of $87,132 rose 18.35% from last year's session average of $73,620. The median price of $70,000 was up 37.25% from the $51,000 posted in 2011. The buy-back rate on Saturday was 21.07%, down 10.34% compared to 23.5% at the comparable session last year.
"The session started strong and stayed strong all the way through," said vice president of sales Walt Robertson. "Every number was right."
The $430,000 Empire Maker colt was bought by Mike Ryan, agent, from Lane's End, agent. The colt, Hip 1402, is the second registered foal from the stakes-winning Pulpit mare Katerbug, whose second dam, grade I winner Dream Deal, is a half sister to Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Creme Fraiche. Empire Maker, who formerly stood at Juddmonte Farms near Lexington, now stands at Shizunai Stallion Station in Japan.
Gainesway as agent consigned four of the other five highest-priced yearlings. The most expensive was a Birdstone colt out of the winning Grand Slam mare Grand Portege. Consigned as Hip 1367, the colt sold for $385,000 to Live Oak Plantation.
Grand Portgege is a half sister to three graded stakes winners including Preakness Stakes (gr. I) winner Shackleford and Alabama Stakes (gr. I) winner Lady Joanne. Grand Portege's dam, Oatsee, was 2011 Kentucky Broodmare of the Year.
A Candy Ride colt, Hip 1438, brought the next next highest price. Consigned by Gainesway, the colt, a half brother to grade II winner Al Khali, was sold to Justice Family Racing for $360,000. The colt's dam is the winning Capote mare Maya. Candy Ride stands at William S. Farish's Lane End Farm near Versailles, Ky.
Right behind Hip 1438 in price was a Tapit filly out of English group II-placed Art Princess (by Officer). Consigned by Gainesway, agent, as Hip 1242, the filly was bought by Ben Glass, agent, for $340,000.
The other two highest-priced offerings were also by Tapit. Hip 1340, a colt out of stakes-placed Free the Magic and a half brother to stakes-placed Bamboo, was sold to West Point Thoroughbreds and St. Elias for $310,000. He was consigned by Gainesway, agent.
Hip 1347, a filly whose dam, Game Show, is a half sister to grade I winner Pike Place Dancer, was bought by Green Hills Farm for $300,000. The filly was consigned by Select Sales, agent.
After five days, 951 yearlings have been sold for $158,644,000, for an average of $166,818 and a median of $120,000. Last year through six sessions (includes two select sessions in 2011 versus one in 2012), 1,033 horses had been sold for $165,830,000, an average of $160,532 and a median of $110,000. The average and median rose 3.92% and 9.09% respectively.
The sale continues through Sept. 21. Sessions begin at 10 a.m. ET.
The entire sale is streamed live at Keeneland.com.