While the eighth session of the Keeneland September yearling sale may have not had as many six-figure fireworks as last week's sessions, there were still plenty of buyers for quality horses. The session's numbers spoke for themselves, with the average and median showing strong, double-digit increases over last year, while the buy-back rate was down significantly.
In all there were 302 horses sold for $11,648,500 Sept. 18, up 21.6% from the comparable session a year ago when 302 yearlings brought $9,579,400. The day's average of $38,571 increased 21.6% from $31,720 in 2011, while the median surged 20% to $30,000 compared to $25,000.
The RNA rate for the session dropped 21.3% to 16.8%.
A colt by Even the Score was the session topper, bringing a final bid of $260,000 from bloodstock agent John Moynihan on behalf of Barbara Banke's Stonestreet Stables.
Consigned by Penn Sales, agent, the colt is out of the winning Runaway Groom mare Runaway Grey, who is a full sister to stakes winner November Sunset and is also from the family of grade I victor Feel the Beat.
The Even the Score colt is a half brother to the 3-year-old Scat Daddy filly Mystic Mama, who ran second in last year's Miss Grillo Stakes (gr. III).
The second highest priced horse was a $160,000 colt by Parading−Glow Ruby Go, by Rubiano, who was bought by Barry and Joni Butzow. A half brother to King Edward Stakes (Can-II) winner Riding the River (by Wiseman's Ferry), the colt was consigned by Beau Lane Bloodstock, agent for Michael and J.B. Orem.
"It's great to see guys like Beau Lane to have a super day," said Tom Thornbury, Keeneland's associate director of sales. "Another small consignor, Paul Tackett, sold two horses today for $70,000 each and also had a great day. For a small farmer that's been living through about four years of drought, it's nice to have your crop rained on."
Prominent trainers continued to be active during the eighth session, such as Dale Romans, who purchased five horses for $220,000. The most expensive of the group was an $85,000 son of Even the Score−Hualalai, by Holy Bull, from the consignment of Penn Sales, agent.
"There are a lot of solid horses going through here today," said Romans. "It's better than usual this late and I think you'll see some real runners come out of this session. We're going to stay around to the end and see if we can buy some solid horses. They'll go right in with our best horses−the ones we spent a half million for−they're all the same until they start separating themselves. The pedigrees aren't as strong (this session) as they were earlier in the sale, but there are some good, rugged horses out here."
Through eight sessions, 1,843 horses have been sold for a total of $205,811,000 compared to gross sales of $208,217,600 for 1,933 horses sold during nine sessions in 2011 (Keeneland conducted two select sessions last year versus one this year). Average price of $111,672 is up 3.67% from last year's $107,717. The median of $70,000 rose 16.67% from $60,000 in 2011.