Keeneland September Sale

Keeneland September Sale

Anne M. Eberhardt

Keeneland Sale Continues to Soar on Day 7

Gross sales exceed entire 11-day Keeneland auction in 2012.

Propelled by continuing demand for yearlings, the 2013 Keeneland September yearling sale ended its seventh session Sept. 16 with more gross sales than the entire sale achieved in 11 days last year.

By 12:30 p.m. on Monday at the 2013 sale's seventh session, the gross had zoomed past last year's 11-day total of $219,781,500. When the final hammer fell on the session at 7:54 p.m. (EDT), the 2013 auction's total sales stood at $236,874,000and there are still five days' worth of horses yet to enter the auction ring.

Two yearlingsa Stormy Atlantic  colt and an Afleet Alex  fillybrought more than $300,000 on Monday as the auction entered its second week with Book Three. Conquest Stables bought the Stormy Atlantic colt, a son of the Ascot Knight winner Swanky Bubbles, for the session-topping price of $330,000. Hill 'n' Dale Sales agency consigned the March 16 colt, a half brother to Canadian stakes-placed Bubbles to the Top. The Ontario-bred colt also is from the family of grade I winner Schossberg.

The top-priced filly was an Afleet Alex half sister to Broken Spell, who was second in last year's Alcibiades (gr. I) at Keeneland. Gainesway, which stands Afleet Alex, purchased the March 31 foal for $320,000. Upson Downs Farm, agent, consigned the filly, a daughter of the stakes-winning Exploit mare Rich Find. That mare is a half sister to Away, the graded-placed stakes-winner who produced Eight Belles.

The $300,000-plus pair were among eight yearlings who sold for $200,000 or more Monday. The session kicked off the auction's second week of selling with even more strong figures to open Book Three. The session, the seventh overall, sold 292 horses for $19,952,000. The day's average price was $68,329 and the median was $57,000.

The buyback rate was 19.5%, up from 12.5% at the seventh session in 2012.

Gross sales for the day were up 46.3% from last year's seventh session when 309 yearlings sold, and the average and median were up by 51.9% and 54.0%, respectively. But Keeneland reformatted the September sale this year, extending the Book One select portion from one day to four, a move that makes year-to-year comparisons of individual sessions inexact. The cumulative figures provide a somewhat more apt comparison, and by that measure the 2013 auction is clearly running ahead of last year.

Cumulatively, Keeneland September's first seven days have grossed $236,874,000 for 1,408 yearlings. That's a 21.9% improvement over last year's aggregate, thanks partly to a catalog that was 8%  larger in 2013. But a stronger overall market also swelled the seven-day average by 33.5%, plumping it up from $125,998 to $168,234. Perhaps more significantly, the cumulative median figure also shot up by 43.7%, from $80,000 a year ago to $115,000 this time around.

Cumulative buybacks stood at a moderate 24.9% at the close of business Monday night, but that was up from 2012's seven-day rate of 23.5%.

Gainesway, buyer of Monday's most expensive filly, led all consignors by gross at the session with 20 horses bringing $2,290,000. The session's leading consignor by average (three or more sold) was Baccari Bloodstock with seven yearlings averaging $128,571.

Among buyers, the leader by gross was Garry Simms, who spent $645,000 for five yearlings for client James Driver. Agent Ben Glass led by average (three or more purchased), with three buys averaging $150,000.

The day's leading sire by gross was WinStar's 2010 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Super Saver , a first-crop sire, whose 13 yearlings sold totaled $1,161,000. The leader by average (three or more sold) was another WInStar stallion, the veteran and champion sprinter Speightstown , whose four yearlings sold Monday averaged $120,000.

The Keeneland September yearling sale will continue through Sept. 21 with sessions starting each day at 10 a.m. in Keeneland's sale pavilion.