The ceiling for top prices dropped as Keeneland's September yearling sale ended its penultimate session Sept. 20, but overall figures for the 12-day auction stayed on course to beat last year's returns.
Friday's 11th session was the first not to feature a six-figure session-topper, but sales generally remained strong as compared to last year. The Friday session-topper was an $85,000 Broken Vow filly whose second dam, grad I winner Preach, produced Claiborne Farm's late sire Pulpit. Claiborne, as agent, consigned the Feb. 9 filly, who sold to Michonne Farm.
The session's highest-priced colt, and second most expensive lot of the day, was a $75,000 son of First Defence out of the Officer mare Major Allie, a daughter of grade II winner Nervous Baba. Agent Federico Barberini bought the Feb. 10 foal from the Eaton Sales agency.
At Friday's session, 236 yearlings grossed $4,103,000 for a $17,386 average and a $12,000 median. The gross was more than double the total for 2012's comparable session, when 146 yearlings sold, while the average and median gained 40.6% and 20%, respectively.
Friday's buyback rate was a mere 7.8%, essentially level with 2012's rate of 7.6% on day 11.
Keeneland reformatted the September sale this year, extending its select sessions from one to four, rendering year-to-year comparisons of individual sessions inexact. A better comparison is to examine the cumulative figures through each year's first 11 days.
Through Friday, the 2013 auction overall has grossed $277,578,100 for 2,549 yearlings, well ahead of last year's total of $219,723,000 for 2,516 yearlings at the entire 11-day auction.
This year's average price of $108,897 is up 24.6% from last year's 11-day average of $87,354. The sale's cumulative median also is up, climbing 26.6% from last year's $45,000 to $57,000 today.
Through Friday, the cumulative buyback rate was 20.1%, slightly ahead last year's 19.2% at the same point.
Claiborne, which consigned the session-topper, was the leading seller by average price (three or more sold) with four yearlings averaging $51,750. The Hill 'n' Dale Sales agency was Friday's leading consignor by gross after selling 19 horses for $342,500.
The leading buyer by total expenditures was Michael Yates, who picked up six horses for a total of $165,000. By average (three or more purchased), the session leader was Florida-based pinhooking operation Eisaman Equine, which bought four for an average of $33,750.
Oklahoma stallion Latent Heat was the day's top sire by gross sales. The River Oaks stallion had 10 yearlings at the session that sold for a combined $145,000, enough to brush past Hill 'n' Dale's first-crop sire Concord Point's $141,000 total for five yearlings.
Three Chimneys Farm's stallion Yes It's True was the session's leading sire by average (three or more sold) with three youngsters bringing an average price of $41,333.
The Keeneland September yearling sale will continue through Saturday. the final session will begin at 10 a.m. in Keeneland's sale pavilion.