Gross, average, and median all increase in Keeneland November sale's 12th session.

Gross, average, and median all increase in Keeneland November sale's 12th session.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Keeneland Market Rises Dramatically

Gross, average, and median all increase in Keeneland November sale's 12th session.

The Keeneland November breeding stock auction enjoyed double-digit increases in its gross revenue, average price, and median price from during its 12th session Friday in Lexington.

"It was a very good day," said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland's director of sales. "It started a little slow, but it was solid once it found its rhythm. There is still a lot of money here."

The 230 horses that sold grossed $3,935,400 and averaged $17,110. Their median was $11,250. Compared to 2006, the number sold grew 1.8% from 226, and the gross soared 32.3% from $2,974,100. The average rose 30.0% from $13,160 while the median climbed 40.6% from $8,000. The buy-back rate advanced from 19.3% last year to 21.2% this year.

Eshaarat, a 7-year-old winning daughter of Zafonic, brought the session's highest price of $220,000 while in foal to Southern Image. Lakeview Stud purchased the bay mare from Gainesway, agent for Jess Jackson's Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings. Eshaarat is the dam of Untitled Blues, who finished second this year in a stakes in France.

Produced from the winning Sadler's Wells mare Tafrah, Eshaarat is a half-sister to the winner Falak, who finished third in the 1996 Somerville Tattersalls Stakes in England. Other members of the family include 2003's champion sprinter, Aldebaran; foreign champions Malinowski, Chimes of Freedom, and Spinning World (who captured the 1997 Breeders' Cup Mile, gr. IT); 1982 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Blush With Pride; grade I winner Denon; Canadian grade I winner Good Journey; French group I winner Chief Contender; and Irish group I winner Aviance,

"She sold pretty much for what we thought she would," said Gainesway general manager Neil Howard of Eshaarat. "She's a big, pretty mare that was correct and had scope. Her 2-year-old (Untitled Blues) is stakes-placed already, and that's what they (buyers) are looking for, mares that have proven they can make a go of it (as producers)."

Discussing the market in general, Howard said: "It's just like it's been all year long; the good stuff sells for a premium, and the other stuff you just hope it gets sold. There are still people up here bidding, and it's gone pretty well for us. But I can't say we've gotten a lot of money for all of our horses."

The second-most expensive horse sold Friday was a bay Van Nistelrooy colt that brought a $150,000 winning bid from Lynn Lodge Stud. Margaux Farm consigned the weanling for Beth Ann Brown-Gambone.

The colt is out of the 14-year-old Lost Code mare Classical Code, who is a half-sister to Masse', who won four races and finished second or third in five added-money events, including the 1994 Remington Park Oaks. The weanling is a half-brother to the winners Tempt Her, Campo de Maniobras, El Zarco, and Miss Aspen.

The Keeneland November auction's cumulative figures through 12 sessions were 2,896 lots sold, a gross of $336,627,500, an average of $116,239, and a median of $45,000. Compared to 2006, the number sold advanced 1.2% from 2,861, and the gross grew 8.0% from $311,554,100. The average rose 6.7% from $108,897 while the median increased 7.1% from $42,000.

The buy-back rate was down, falling from 23.4% last year to 22.0% this year.

The cumulative figures include a lifetime stallion breeding right that sold for $150,000 this year and a stallion season that sold for $45,000 last year. This year's cumalative gross already is a sale record.

The Keeneland November sale continues through Monday, with sessions beginning at 10 a.m. (EST) each day.