Anne M. Eberhardt

Keeneland January Loses Bit of Momentum

Bernardini broodmare prospect Mahkama topped session four at $145,000.

Strong numbers from the first three sessions of the Keeneland January horses of all ages sale will assure improved total sales and average price compared with last year's totals, but the five-day sale saw a slight drop in figures Jan. 10.

While not a perfect comparison with 2012, which offered a four-day sale, fourth session total sales declined 6.38% to $3,389,600. Average was off 4.49% to $13,668, and median was down 17.65% to $7,000.

"Session to session it was a little less, nothing much," said Keeneland vice president of sales Walt Robertson. "If they have a reason to buy them they do; and if they don't, it's pretty tough sledding."

Fourth-session buybacks declined slightly from 19.17% last year to 18.69% this year. Russell said that is encouraging going into the sale's fifth and final day Jan. 11.

"We're still seeing great trade; horses are moving," said Keeneland director of sales Geoffrey Russell. "That's important."

The fourth session also wrapped up the Fares Farm Dispersal, for which Lane's End served as agent. Dispersal horses were offered in the second and fourth sessions and 78 horses sold for a total of $7,313,000, an average of $93,756. The median price was $56,000.

That dispersal and strong interest in the top of both the yearling and broodmare markets helped Keeneland January surpass last year's four-day total sales figures in the first three days of the 2013 sale. Through the fourth session this year, 924 horses have sold for $43,688,600, up 14.99% compared with last year. Average is up 24.83% to $47,282 and median is up 33.33% to $20,000.

The fourth-session top price was the Bernardini  broodmare prospect Mahkama at $145,000. Consigned by Brookdale Sales, agent, as Hip No. 1211, Mahkama was purchased by Blandford Bloodstock (Tom Goff and Richard Brown). Bred in Kentucky by Mt. Brilliant Farm, 4-year-old Mahkama won a race in England and is a half sister to grade III winner Summer Raven (by Summer Squall), dam of grade III winner Winslow Homer  (by Unbridled's Song).

Through the first four sessions, Blandford had purchased three horses for a total of $655,000. The other buys included a $200,000 yearling daughter of Giant's Causeway  (Hip 213) and the 12-year-old Carson City mare Sweet Trip (Hip 608), dam of grade I winner Rail Trip (by Jump Start ). Purchased for $310,000, Sweet Trip is believed to be pregnant to Harlan's Holiday.

The fourth day ended with 22 males passing through the ring offered as racing or stallion prospects. This stretch generated the day's second-highest price when Night Site, a 4-year-old Giant's Causeway  colt, was purchased by Gennadi and Irina Dorochenko's Raut. Consigned by Mill Ridge Sales, agent, Night Site is out of multiple grade I winner Sightseek, who also has produced grade III-placed colt Raison d'Etat  (by A.P. Indy).