Johannesburg Colt Tops Keeneland's Sixth Session

A Johannesburg colt that brought $525,000 became the top seller during Sunday's session of the Keeneland September yearling auction in Lexington. Purchased by John Brocklebank, the bay colt was consigned by Dave Parrish Jr., agent under the name Indian Creek.

Produced from the 9-year-old winning Well Decorated mare Decadent Designer, the colt is a half-brother to an unraced 2-year-old colt by Mazel Trick and the 3-year-old colt Owen Roe O'Neill (by Mr. Greeley), who is unplaced in one start at Hollywood Park. Decadent Designer is a half-sister to grade I-winning millionaire Bonapaw (by Sabona).

Sunday's session topper was bred in Kentucky by John Toscano, Steve Lau, and Pat Crapanzano.

"I think everything went very well today," said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland director of sales. "We've been stressing that this is a conformation class part of the sale and there's no mistake that the top physical sold very, very well today."

Noting that the colt had been scoped 26 times, Russell added, "that gave a good indication that he was the most popular horse on the grounds today, and he proved it in the ring."

In all Sunday, 289 yearlings were sold, which was down 1.4% from a year ago when 293 head were purchased. The gross, average, and median prices all saw significant increases from the previous year, however. The gross rose 27.3%, from $20,642,500 last year to $26,272,000 this year, while the average soared by 29%, from 70,452 last year to $90,907 this year. The median saw the highest increase of 30.9%, from $55,000 to $72,000.

In a cumulative overview of the six sessions thus far, the gross, average, and median are ahead of last year's pace, while the number of horses sold is down 2.6%. So far this year, the 1,445 horses that have found new homes have grossed $330,578,500 and averaged $228,774. Last year, the 1,484 yearlings sold at this point had grossed $322,296,500 and averaged $217,181. The median is $130,000, up from $110,000 last year.

In percentages, the gross is up 2.6% from last year, while the average is up 5.3%, and the median has risen 18.2%.

The buy-back rate saw a slight increase this year, with 22.3% of the session's yearlings failing to meet their reserves. Last year, 17.7% of the sixth session yearlings failed to find new homes.

Overall, the not-sold rate is 23.7%, versus last year's 23.8%.

An El Prado colt brought Sunday's second-highest price of $360,000. Richlyn Farm bought the bay colt, who is out of the multiple graded stakes-placed Unbridled mare Windsong. Also the dam of an the unplaced 2-year-old Forestry filly Double Dinghy Day, Windsong was produced from the stakes winning Imperial Falcon mare Falconese.

Limerick Road purchased a $350,000 Unbridled's Song -- To the Queen filly from Viking Stud, agent. B. Wayne Hughes acquired an $300,000 Indian Charlie -- Shahalo colt from John and Frank Penn's Penn Sales, and Fleetwood Bloodstock bought a Lemon Drop Kid  -- Carly's Crown colt for the same price from Bluegrass Thoroughbred Services, agent.

"Everybody has been very busy showing horses, and as one consigner told me, we're seeing new faces every day," said Russell. "So I think we'll see another changing of the guard as we continue on during the week. Hopefully, it will continue to be successful."