Anne M. Eberhardt

RNA Rate of 16.7% is Keeneland Bright Spot

Horses were being sold, but at much lower prices, during 13th session.

While the gross, average, and median prices continued well below levels of 2008, the Sept. 27 penultimate session of Keeneland’s marathon September yearling sale produced the lowest buyback rate of the 13 sessions to date, as only 16.7% of the horses through the ring did not bring their reserve prices.

Compared with a 2008 session RNA rate of 27.8%, that represents a 40% improvement, one of the few bright spots during the sale.

"Horses are moving but just at a distinctly lower level," said Tom Thornbury, associate director of sales.

Keeneland reported 205 horses were sold during the session for a total $1,209,900, which was 53% below the 2008 gross of $2,577,000 for the 229 yearlings that were sold. This year’s session average of $5,902 represented a decline of 47.6% from the $11,253 figure of one year ago and the median declined by 60% from $8,000 to $3,200.

The session’s top price of $50,000 was paid by trainer Patrick Biancone, agent for Flying Zee Stable, for a Whywhywhy colt consigned by Eaton Sales as Hip No. 4785. The Kentucky-bred colt was produced from the French stakes-winning mare Marche de Paix, a half-sister to grade II winner Nownownow, who is by Whywhywhy. Biancone, who trained Whywhywhy, also trains Nownownow.

With the sale scheduled to conclude Monday, Sept. 28, Keeneland has sold 2,984 yearlings this year for a total of $190,873,700, down 41.3% from the comparable figure of $325,277,800 through 13 sessions in 2008. This year’s cumulative average is $63,966, which is 36% lower than the figure one year ago. The cumulative median price of $25,000 is down 47% from the 2008 figure of $47,000.