Looking at mares at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale.

Looking at mares at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Average Up and the Middle Solid

A strong mare market keeps the Keeneland November sale strong through day five.

Keeneland's Director of Sales Geoffrey Russell termed the Nov. 9 session of the Keeneland November breeding stock sale “a very good day at the office” as a slight drop in gross was untainted by a rising average and a strong middle market.

“It’s still a very solid sale with a strong mix of buyers internationally and domestically,” Russell said.

With 245 horses going for a session total of $22,034,500, the gross dropped 2.4% compared to last year’s $22,575,500 for 263 horses. The average, $89,937, was 4.8% more than last year’s $85,838, while the median of $65,000 remained the same. The buy-back rate was 24.6% (80 head).

“I think the mare market has been exceptionally strong,” said Russell. “I’ve talked to several domestic buyers today who are very frustrated and several international people who are frustrated, but the good news is they’re going to stay around and keep on trying. Race record has definitely become a very important component of the buying process.”

Lane’s End, agent, was the session’s leading consignor with 28 head sold for $3,341,500. That figure included the session-topping $520,000 Broad Brush mare Dhamma, purchased by Denis Brosnan’s Epona Bloodstock. Dhamma is believed to be in foal to Lane's End stallion Mingun, a son of A.P. Indy. Bred in Kentucky by Flaxman Holdings, Dhamma is out of the Private Account mare Piquetnol and is a half-sister to the Irish group III winner Dietrich. Piquetnol is a full sister to group I winner Chimes of Freedom (dam of champion sprinter and sire Aldebaran) and a half-sister to grade I winner Denon.  

The Ireland-based Epona also went to $310,000 for the Maria’s Mon mare Ringlet, who is believed to be in foal to Johannesburg. She was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency as agent.

In spite of the strong market, buyers were showing definite discernment as the fifth session of the 15-day sale came to a close.

“I think there’s still plenty of money for the right horse, and the market is good overall,” said Duncan Taylor of Taylor Made. “If you have a nice horse there’s a ton of money on the average, and if it’s a good looking horse it brings more than you’d think. But if there’s an older mare that has holes in her produce, those aren’t bringing a lot.”

Taylor Made consigned the session’s second-highest purchase – a $485,000 daughter of A.P. Indy named Light From Above, who is believed in foal to Bandini.  Agent Tom Bozarth of Arch Bloodstock bought the 5-year-old mare who is carrying her first foal. Light From Above is a half-sister to the grade III winning Strategic Partner and to grade II-placed Victory Light. She is out of the Majestic Light mare Very Special Lite and was bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm.

“We thought she was the prettiest mare in the sale, and she’s from a good family,” said Bozarth, who went to $475,000 for an Unbridled's Song mare Nov. 6. “It’s been very hard to buy a good mare, they’re bringing a premium and it’s a strong market. We feel lucky to have gotten the mares we did.”

Bozarth purchased both mares for Hargus and Sandra Sexton, who bred this year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Corinthian along with Ben Walden Jr’s Gracefield Equine. The Sextons own Glen Brook, Moss Hill, and Oak Crest farms around Versailles, Ky.  

“Light From Above is a very pretty mare and her dam has been a good producer. The horses she’s had have been freakish-good racehorses,” said Duncan Taylor. “I think she has a lot of upside to her pedigree, and people saw that.”

The top weanling was a $250,000 Forest Danger colt out of the Wavering Monarch mare Time to Decide. J.W.R. Bloodstock purchased the chestnut colt from Taylor Made Sales Agency. The top weanling filly was a $170,000 daughter of Dixie Unionout of the Prospector’s Pick mare Isabeau, purchased by Classic Oaks Farm from consignor Lane’s End, agent.

Cumulative results for the first five days of the Keeneland November sale were as follows:

Thus far, 1,121 horses have been sold for a gross of $271,446,500, an average price of $242,147, and a median of $125,000. Last year, 1,136 horses were sold for a gross of $248,553,500, an average of $218,797, and a median price of $130,000. 

The cumulative buyback rate thus far is 22.4% (324 head), down 4.7% from last year’s buyback rate of 23.4%.

The sale continues Nov. 10 beginning at 10 a.m. (EST).