Freshman Sires Dominate Keeneland's Sixth Session

Once again, Keeneland realized increases in gross, average, and median despite a slight drop in the number of horses sold during the sixth session of its September yearling sale.

A son of Lion Heart fetched a bid of $440,000 Sept. 16 to top the sixth session and the close of the third catalog of the 15-day Keeneland September yearling sale.

Once again, the sale company realized increases in gross, average, and median despite a slight drop in the number of horses sold.

For the session, Keeneland reported 288 horses sold to gross $28,302,500. The average was $98,273, and the median was $80,000. There were no seven-figure horses.

The buy-back rate was 23%, a slight increase of 3.1% from last year's session rate of 22.3%.

Compared to the same session one year ago, the gross increased 7.7% when the 289 horses sold brought $26,272,000. The session average of $98,273 was up 8.1% from $90,907 in 2006, and the median increased 11.1% to $80,000.

"There was a broad, international and domestic market today," said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland director of sales. "There are still a lot of Europeans, and a lot of other international people--especially Russians and Mexicans, but a very strong domestic market as well…book three carries on."

Russell observed a lot of European pinhookers at the sixth session, including some claiming they haven't bought anything yet, but are remaining to wait for the right horse.

"So that's good news," said Russell, who cited  the exchange rate, as well as the increase in breeze up sales in Europe this year, as factors contributing to the continuing presence of Europeans at the auction.

"I have a feeling the American horse might be a speedier type, which is very attractive to (Europeans)," said Russell. "There are also going to be two new Polytrack (surfaces in Europe) too as well--one in Ireland and one in England."

Cumulatively, 1,409 horses have been sold for $303,573,700, an average of $215,453 and a median of $140,000. Gross and average are down 8.2% and 5.8%, respectively, over last year, while median has risen 7.7%. At this point in the sale a year ago, 1,445 horses had been sold for $330,578,500, an average of $228,774, and a median of $130,000.

The cumulative buy-back rate was 26.2%, an increase of 10.5% from last year's 23.7%.

Yearlings by freshman sires brought the day’s top prices. Mayberry Farm acquired the session-topping Lion Heart colt, a dark bay out of the Capote mare Whattacapote from the consignment of Sue Vacek, agent.

A half-sister to three stakes winners, Whattacapote is out of the stakes-winning Unreal Zeal mare Zealous Connection. The Lion Heart colt is Whattacapote's second foal.

BBA Ireland paid $360,000 for a filly from the first crop of champion Speightstown  out of 1999 Prioress Stakes (gr. II) winner Sapphire n’ Silk (by Pleasant Tap). The filly is a half-sister to 2005 Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II) winner Shaniko and 2007 dual stakes victor Silky Smooth. She was consigned by Lane’s End, agent.

Keeneland’s September Yearling Sale continues through Sept. 25. Sessions begin at 10 a.m. daily.

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