Despite a filly by Medaglia d'Oro selling for $1.1 million and the session realizing a 3.9% increase in the number of horses sold compared to last year, day four of the 2008 Keeneland September yearling sale Sept. 11 saw declines in gross, average, and median
For the session, Keeneland reported 267 horses sold for a gross of $40,534,700. The average was $151,815 and the median $125,000. A total of 102 horses failed to meet their reserves, resulting in an RNA (reserves not attained) rate of 27.6%.
Compared to comparable figures from 2007, the number of horses sold rose 3.9% while the gross declined 10.1%. The average decreased 13.4% and the median fell 16.7%. The 2007 RNA rate was 29.8%.
There were no seven figure horses to sell during last year’s fourth session, but there were two million-dollar horses to sell in 2006.
Keeneland director of sales Geoffrey Russell called the state of the Thoroughbred auction market very solid based on current economic climate in the world.
“The comment that we all use at the wrong time and overuse was very apparent today with a $1.1 million horse on Thursday. A good horse sells,” Russell said. “The criteria these buyers are using is getting tighter and tighter and if they don’t like them they just don’t like them and there is very little safety net. You have to be on top of the market and have your appraisals very good and tight. I think the consignors have done an excellent job there.”
The sale’s cumulative figures through four days were 837 horses sold, a gross of $204,698,700, an average of $244,562, and a median of $125,000. Compared to 2007, the number sold was down 2% from 854. The gross fell 15.9% from $243,290,500. The average dropped 14.2% from $284,883. The median slipped 10% from $200,000. The buy-back rate advanced from 27.1% to 28%.
The session topper was purchased by Dr. Karen Sanderson, with trainer Paul D’Arcy signing the ticket. The filly, produced from the Forty Niner mare Amizette, was consigned by Trackside Farm (Tom Evans), agent for Rob Whiteley’s Liberation Farm, et. al.
Liberation and Stonewall Farm, who purchased Amizette for $90,000 at the 2006 Keeneland January mixed sale, bred the filly in Kentucky.
“She deserved to bring that level,” said Whiteley. “It’s always hard to know on Thursday whether that is realistic to expect that she would bring that level. But she combines everything. Physically, she is lovely and athletic and she’s by the most promising sire that I’ve been around at this stage.”
The filly is a half-brother to King of Rome (by Montjeu) who is a group II winner in Ireland, having won the Royal Whip Stakes at Leopardstown Aug. 17. He also won the Meld Stakes (Ire-III) July 24. King of Rome races for Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, and Susan Magnier and is trained by Aidan O’Brien.
Courtly Dee, 1983 Kentucky Boodmare of the Year, is the second dam of filly whose family includes grade I winner Balletto, 1983 champion 2-year-old filly and producer Althea, and grade I winner Ali Opp, among others.
Discussing why she was interested in purchasing the filly, Sanderson, who is an oral surgeon near London, said, “We have a great deal of confidence of King of Rome on the racetrack and we feel this is a very firm purchase because she is a very fine filly. She walks very well and there is everything about her to like. My trainer (Paul D’Arcy) said she was the nicest filly he had seen for the day and I stand by his judgment. We came to buy the best and we feel we have bought the best lot of the day.”
Sanderson, who believed she was the underbidder on the filly, continued, “I think the way breeding is now and the way the gene pool is going it is more sensible to come out of Europe. I think outcrosses are very important and I think it is important for the genetic pool that we go forward,” she said.
D’Arcy, who has 20 runners in his yard, including two for Sanderson, and who trained 2003 Entenmanns Irish Two Thousand Guineas (Ire-I) winner Indian Haven, said, “She had a nice, athletic build, a good walk, and her catalog page was quite nice. She also nice deep chest which means she has a good heart size and she had a good eye.”
Concerning the price, Sanderson said, “We knew she was going to be expensive, but we came with a purpose so we decided to just go for it. The exchange rate (from dollars to pounds) made a big difference.” At currency conversion rate on Sept. 11, the filly's sale price is equal to £628,160
The September auction will take a one-day break Friday, Sept. 12., with the sale resuming at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 13.
For detailed analysis of the results of Day 4 and a preview of Day 5, Download the Data Digest.