The session topper for Day 2 of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale; Hip 318, colt, A.P. Indy - Taegu by Halo.

The session topper for Day 2 of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale; Hip 318, colt, A.P. Indy - Taegu by Halo.

Joe DiOrio

Two Days of Declines at Keeneland Sale

Keeneland September sale opens with two straight days of declines.

Keeneland director of sales Geoffrey Russell is taking two straight days of declines in the 2008 September yearling sale in stride by saying it is just a factor of the economic world we are living in today.

“This establishes what the market is,” Russell said at the close of the Sept. 9 session. “Everybody is here and they have now set the table. This is what the world is today, and they have established the value of these horses.”

For Keeneland and the consignors and breeders involved, the value of the horses in 2008 is less than what they were one year ago.

At the close of session two, Keeneland reported 146 horses sold for $57,310,000, an average of $392,534. The median was $300,000. A total of 69 horses failed to sell during the session for an RNA (reserve not attained) rate of 32.1%. A dozen horses sold for $1 million or more.

Compared to last year, the number of horses sold decreased 12% while the gross fell 26.5%. The average decreased 16.4% and the median fell 9.8%.

During the 2007 second session, Keeneland reported 166 head sold for $77,982,000 to average $394,123. The median was $332,500 and the RNA rate was 24.9%. The second session last year produced 19 seven-figure horses.

For the first two days combined, Keeneland reported 300 horses sold for $113,357,000 and an average of $377,857, which is down 12.4% from the first two sessions of 2007. The number of horses sold and the gross were down 11% and 22%, respectively. The median was $300,000 to remain even with last year.

For complete results from this sale, including Hip-by-Hips and cumulative sale results, click here.

There have been 17—five during session one and 11 in session two--horses to bring seven figures, compared to 30 during the first two sessions of 2007.

In two sessions, 132 horses have failed to sell, an RNA rate of 30.6%.

For the first two days of the 2007 sale, 337 horses sold for $145,377,000 to average $431,386.  The median was $300,000. The two-day RNA rate was 24.4%.

“The world today is a lot different than this time last year,” Russell said. “You have a credit crunch, you have lack of easy financing, lack of extra income, all those things play into it.”

While the numbers were down, Russell took the cumulative median of $300,000 as a positive. “I think it is a spectacular median to have,” he said. “While the top end did not have fireworks, I feel like the sale had a good rhythm to it all day.”

The sale lost a potential firework-type price when Marty Wygod scratched a son of Storm Cat out of Tranquility Lake from the sale. The colt is a full brother to grade I winner and stallion After Market and Jalil, who sold for $9.7 million to Sheikh Mohammed’s bloodstock advisor John Ferguson at the 2005 September sale. Jalil is a group II winner in Dubai and placed in the Waquoit Stakes Aug. 30 at Suffolk Downs.

“My wife and I loved the colt and we were not impressed with the amount of attention he was receiving. I don’t think he was getting the amount of respect he deserved,” Wygod said. “He is a great individual and we are excited to keep and race him.”

A son of A.P. Indyout of the Halo mare Taegu topped the session with a price tag of $1.5 million. The second highest price of the day — $1.25 million — was paid for a daughter of Giant's Causeway, making her the highest-priced filly of the auction.

A half-brother to grade II stakes winner Classic Elegance (by Carson City), the session topper was consigned as the property of Greg Goodman’s Mt. Brilliant Farm and was purchased by Rick Nichols of Shadwell, owned by Sheikh Hamdan.

“He had a nice upcoming pedigree, and was a nice individual,” Nichols said after signing the ticket. “He is just a nice, strong colt, very correct and had good bone to him.”

The colt will go to the New York barn of trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

Shadwell finished as the session’s third leading buyer, spending $3,500,000 for five head.

The daughter of Giant's Causeway out of the Chief Singer mare Alidiva was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent, and is named Alioonagh. She was purchased by Troy Steve Bloodstock.

Charles Wacker bred in the filly in Kentucky.

Alioonagh is a full sister to grade II winner Oonagh Maccool, and is a half-sister to French group II winner Taipan (by Last Tycoon), English champion Ali-Royal (by Royal Academy), and English champion Sleepytime (by Royal Academy).

The sale continues Sept. 10 with the third session beginning at 10 a.m.