Book Three of the Keeneland September yearling sale came to a close early on the evening of Sept. 16 with a day full of heavy traffic at the barns and heavy action in the sale pavilion. The sixth day of the 11-day marathon sale saw 281 yearlings sell for $21,625,00, good for an average of $76,957 and a median of $60,000.
The gross was up 5.1% from 2011 when 292 horses brought $20,575,000. The average was up 9.2% from $70,642 ande the median by 20% from $50,000 in 2011.
With a day off from selling Sept. 14 , the activity over the weekend has been brisk.
One farm manager noted that if you wanted to look at some of the yearlings on offer the morning before the sale, "you can forget it. There are too many people at the barns. You have to go back to the barns during the sale if you want to look at the horses."
Keeneland's Tom Thornbury concurred.
"We used to bring horses in here to show on Friday and sell on Saturday and Sunday," he said. "They moved in Thursday afternoon and show all day Friday. They (shoppers) wore the horses out. The consignors asked to come in a little earlier, so we moved it back to Wednesday afternoon this year so they could start showing Thursday and they still wore them (the horses) out. When I go down and there is dust rising on the walk rings because they don't have time to water them down, I know they're busy. That's translating now in the ring."
Bret Jones of Airdrie Stud was a busy man during the session. "There are lots of lookers and we're getting it done," he said. "There are also a lot of people getting on horses at the back ring, which is encouraging."
The session topper was a bay son of Elusive Quality out of the stakes-placed Awesome Again mare Distinctively that brought $370,000. Consigned by KatieRich Farms, the colt went to Winchell Thoroughbreds. Distinctively is out of champion Heavenly Prize, a top mare from the Phipps family. Third in the Ladies Stakes, Distinctively is a half sister to grade I winner and sire Good Reward and grade II winner and sire Pure Prize.
A son of Sky Mesa brought $350,000 from Donato Lanni, agent, deep in the session. Out of the Silver Deputy mare Mettle, the dark bay or brown colt is a full brother to stakes winner Arch Traveler. He was consigned by Monticule.
The top-priced filly in the session was a daughter of Empire Maker out of the multiple stakes-winning Wacky Patty. Sold by Mulholland Springs, Bluewater, agent for GEM Stable, went to $270,000. GEM Stable was the fourth leading buyer during the session, buying three yearlings for $635,000.
The top buyer was Jay Em Ess Stable, buying five yearlings for $810,000. Pinhooker Nick de Meric, agent bought seven yearlings for $750,000. Ben Glass, agent, spent $670,000 for three yearlings.
On the day, Taylor Made Sales Agency was the top consignor, selling 38 horses for $2,496,000, good for an average of $65,684. Sky Mesa was the session's top sire, with 10 yearlings bringing an average of $120,000.
"This is the meat of the market where most of the breeders have horses that are bred by stallions people can afford," Thornbury said. "They're not going for stratospheric numbers. These are 'meat and potatoes' horses and we've always concentrated on the physical horse for Book Three. When you get a top physical horse, you get people excited and you can get $200,000-$300,000. These are racehorses."
Through six days, 1,232 horses have been sold for $180,269,000, for an average of $146,322 and a median of $100,000. Last year through seven sessions (includes two select sessions in 2011 versus one in 2012), 1,325 horses were sold for $186,405,000, for an average of $140,683, and a median of $100,000.