Keeneland Establishes Record Gross for January Sale

Keeneland closed out its 2007 January horses of all ages sale by establishing a record gross for the first sale of the year while the average and median both fell from last year's comparable numbers. The gross was aided by the sale of two million-dollar fillies during the Central Kentucky auction house's eight-day sale.

At the close of the eight sessions Jan. 15, Keeneland reported 1,858 horses had been sold for $72,868,200, to average $39,134. The median was $15,000.

The buy-back rate was 22.8%, an increase of 5.1% from last year's rate of 21.8%.

Compared to last year's numbers, the number sold increased 14.4%, while the gross increased 0.7%. The average and median decreased 12% and 6.3%, respectively.

The figures listed above do not include stallion shares in Victory Gallop, Monarchos, Not for Love, and Smoke Glackenthat sold during the first three sessions of the auction.

For seven sale days last year, the sale saw 1,624 horses sell for $72,174,900 to average $44,443. The median was $16,000. Not included in the statistics for 2006 were three stallion shares that grossed $4,200 and a lifetime breeding right to Medaglia d'Oro  that sold for $150,000.

"I thought it was a very solid sale from start to finish," said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland director of sales. "This year's catalog was lighter in quality than last year's, which I think is a common comment from most buyers and consignors, but to pass last year's record gross reflects the strength of the market, particularly for young mares and broodmare prospects."

Once again, broodmare prospects sold for a premium, with two fillies from the stable of Egyptian businessman Ahmed Zayat attracting million-dollar bids. Grade I winner and 2006 Eclipse Award finalist Point Ashley, sold as a racing or broodmare prospect, brought the sale’s top price of $1.8 million from John Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Bloodstock. Point Ashley was consigned by Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, agent, on behalf of Zayat, who purchased the Point Givenfilly for $725,000 at Keeneland’s April 2-year-olds in training sale last year.

Zayat Stable’s Downthedustyroad, winner of the La Brea Stakes (gr. I) Dec. 30 at Santa Anita, was purchased for $1.5 million by Tim McMurry’s Fleetwood Bloodstock, on behalf of an undisclosed West Coast client who plans to continue to race the filly. She was consigned by Eaton Sales, agent.

The second day of selling featured the complete dispersal of the estate of Pennsylvania horseman Eugene F. Dixon, Jr. The dispersal, consigned by Claiborne Farm and Charlton, sold a total of 64 horses for $4,825,500. Dixon boarded horses at both Claiborne Farm in Kentucky and Charlton in Pennsylvania. 

Canadian Dave Munro’s Highfield Stock Farm paid $750,000 for the graded stakes-winning mare Solvig, sold as part of the Dixon dispersal. The 10-year-old Caerleon mare, in foal to Afleet Alex, was consigned by Richard Abbott’s Charlton. Abbott purchased Solvig for Dixon’s Erdenheim Farm for $950,000 at last year’s January sale from the consignment of Gainesway, agent for Bentley L. Smith (dispersal).

The highest-priced yearling of the sale was a Distorted Humor colt bought for $500,000 by Jess Jackson’s Stonestreet Stable. Consigned by Legacy Bloodstock, agent, the colt is out of the Storm Bird mare Andrea Gail, and a half brother to grade III stakes winner Areyoutalkintome.

Russell also commented on the strength of the regional buying market, citing horsemen from such regional markets as Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Illinois, Florida, and Canada as the sale’s most active buyers. 

“Many of the mares in this sale are not competitive in the Central Kentucky market,” Russell noted. “But they shine brightly in the regional domestic markets and in those emerging global racing markets which Keeneland, in partnership with the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders, has worked to cultivate.”

For the final session, Keeneland reported 194 horses were sold for $1,918,800 to average $9,981. The median was $3,850.

There was not an eighth session in 2006 so there are no comparable numbers.

Consigned by Warrendale Sales, agent, the final session topper was the 3-year-old racing or broodmare propect Whimsical Miss who brought a final bid of $160,000 from Three Chimneys, agent.

A daughter of Distorted Humor , Whimsical Miss, bred in Kentucky by Hinkle Farms, was produced from the Strawberry Road mare Joi's Flame and is from the family of stakes winners Joi'Ski Too and NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) winner Singletary.

Mike Ryan originally purchased Whimsical Miss for $145,000 at the 2005 Keeneland September yearling sale from the Hinkle consignment. The filly made five career starts with one win.

Hip-by-hip Results from Keeneland