Keeneland's November sale continued its upward trend Nov. 7, producing more gains across the board as the market for mares and mixed stock showed renewed strength.
Led by the $410,000 Dixie Union mare Little Bug, Thursday's session sold 255 horses for $28,168,500, an increase of 26.4% over last year's gross for 234 horses. The session's average price of $110,465 and median price of $90,000 were ahead of last year's figures by 16% and 20%, respectively.
Cumulatively, the 2013 auction's first three sessions were running well ahead of last year. Through Thursday, three sessions had grossed $114,700,500 for 497 horses, more than the first five days grossed in 2012 and 36.9% ahead of last year's first three days. The 2013 cumulative average was $230,786, up 22%, and the $140,000 median advanced 40% from last season's figure for the first three sessions.
For both the session and the first three days, the buyback rate also was down significantly. The rate for Thursday's session alone was 20%, down from 30.3% a year ago; the cumulative buyback rate was 20.2%, lower than the 2012 figure of 30.7%.
Twin Creeks Farms picked up session-topper Little Bug. Bedouin Bloodstock consigned the 8-year-old mare, who is in foal to Tiznow , on behalf of Edward and Theresa DeNike. Little Bug is a half sister to the grade II winner Tizfiz and the grade I-placed Fury Kapcori , both by Tiznow, and a full sister to stakes winner Dixie Commander.
Twin Creeks announced Thursday that its Donn Handicap (gr. I) winner Graydar , by Unbridled's Song, will stand at his late sire's farm,Taylor Made Stallions.
Baccari Bloodstock bought the day's top weanling, a Harlan's Holiday colt whose sire died at age 14 Nov. 1 while on southern hemisphere duty in Argentina. VanMeter Sales, agent, consigned the April 5 foal, a son of the winning Tiznow mare Indivia. The bay colt is a half brother to this year's two-time winner Cowboy Legacy and, importantly, his dam is a half sister to Payton d'Oro. The family also features the name of graded-placed stakes-winner Emery Board.
The auction enjoyed a late burst of activity that produced Thursday's highest prices including the session-topper, who sold as Hip 750 at about 6:15 p.m. Less than an hour later, the Seeking the Gold mare My Friend C. Z.—fashionably in foal to Malibu Moon —brought $375,000 from Forging Oaks Farm. Taylor Made Sales consigned the 11-year-old daughter of Glitter Woman. A half sister to grade I winner Political Force,My Friend C. Z. already is the dam of graded-placed Welcome Guest, who, like Political Force, is by Unbridled's Song.
Another expensive mare was the Mr. Greeley winner Ingenue, who ended up bringing $330,000 from Hargus and Sandra Sexton's agent, Arch Bloodstock. Ingenue was carrying a Union Rags foal from her first mating, and Union Rags was the session's leading covering sire by gross after five of his mares sold for a combined $1,060,000.
The 4-year-old Ingenue is out of the Meadowlake mare Meadow Breeze, a grade I winner who's also a half sister to another grade I winner in Overanalyze . Hunter Valley was the consigning agent.
Adena Springs' Intangaroo appeared to pass Ingenue's price minutes later when the auctioneer hammered her down at $375,000, but that price failed to reach the triple grade I winner's reserve. The 9-year-old Orientate mare was cataloged in foal to Discreet Cat.
New Vinery owners Haras Don Alberto, which led all buyers at the Keeneland November select sessions Tuesday and Wednesday, continued stocking its broodmare band at Keeneland's third session as it relaunched Vinery as Don Alberto Farm.
The Chilean breeding operation, which purchased Vinery last month from Tom Simon, racked up another six horses at Thursday's third session. It remains the 11-day auction's leading buyer overall by gross after purchasing 22 horses for $8,435,000, an average of $383,409 per horse.
American-based buyers were highly active at Thursday's session. Both Dixiana Farm and the revitalized Calumet Farm spent frequently, with Dixiana taking home six for $1,075,000, Twin Creeks buying three for $770,000, and Calumet spending $695,000 for eight.
Twin Creeks led by average (three or more purchased) with an average spend of $256,667.
Among consignors, the Taylor Made agency led by gross with 34 horses bringing $5,620,000, but Bedouin Bloodstock led by average price (three or more sold) after selling five for $231,000.
Thursday's leading sire by gross was Unbridled's Song, who also died earlier this year. His progeny grossed $1,170,000 for seven sales. By average price (three or more sold), Thursday's leader was Harlan's Holiday with an average of $247,500 for four horses sold.
Among covering sires, Union Rags held sway by gross after five of his mares totaled $1,060,000. Malibu Moon led by average sale price (three or more sold) with three averaging $228,333.
Keeneland's November sale will run through Nov. 14. Sessions start daily at 10 a.m. in the Keeneland sale pavilion.