Pulpit colt brings $1.3 million on day four of Keeneland sale.

Pulpit colt brings $1.3 million on day four of Keeneland sale.

Anne M. Eberhardt

All Signs Remain Up at Keeneland September

By Deirdre Biles and Leslie Deckard
The fourth session of the massive 14-day Keeneland September yearling sale ended on a positive note Thursday with the Central Kentucky auction house realizing increases in gross, average and median. The sale company also reported across the board cumulative increases.

Two yearlings broke through the seven-figure price barrier. A Pulpit colt brought $1.3 million, and a Distorted Humor  colt went for $1.2 million. Taylor Made Sales Agency consigned both yearlings as agent.

It was the first time in Keeneland September history that two offerings topped the $1 million mark on day four. For the sale, 32 horses have hit the seven-figure mark.

Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland director of sales, summed up the day's action by quoting associate director of sales Tom Thornbury. "Today has been as strong as jail house coffee."

The day's final figures backed him up. For the day, 273 horses sold for a gross of $41,774,500 and an average of $153,020. The median price was $120,000. Compared to the same session a year ago, the gross revenue increased 21.6% from the $34,344,000 paid for the 263 yearlings sold during the fourth session in 2005. The average was up 17.2%, from $130,586 in 2005 to $153,020 this year. The median grew 20%, from $100,000 to $120,000. Ninety-one horses (25%) failed to find new homes, which was a decrease of 10.4% from last year's rate of 27.9%.

The combined figures for the first four days of the sale show 862 horses sold, a gross of $272,909,500, an average of $316,600, and a median of $185,000. Compared to a year ago, the gross was up .4%. But the average and median were up 6.8% and 8.8%, respectively, compared to $296,418 and $170,000.

Russell said he expects the momentum to carry on through the weekend. The sale takes a break Friday, but will resume Saturday at 10 a.m.

"We've tried to make it a conformation class, not to worry so much about pedigree and try to have a better individual. We've talked to the consignors about that and we've encouraged that," Russell said. "I think we are now getting into the middle market with books three, four, and five, and the middle market is the meat of this whole Thoroughbred market."

Russell continued, "We feel confident the middle market is strong at the moment. We hope this day next week we will have the same reaction."

Wine mogul Jess Jackson purchased the Pulpit colt in the name of Stonestreet Stables, fighting off representatives of Sheikh Mohammed.

The bay yearling is out of the winning 16-year-old Storm Cat mare Razzi Cat and is a half-brother to Argentine group I winners Rocking Trick (by Phone Trick) and Randy Cat (by Roy). BAN Partnership and Haras Vacacion bred the colt in Kentucky.

Jackson said he would have spent up to $1.5 million to acquire the colt.

Tim Kegel, a bloodstock agent based in Louisville, Ky., bought the Distorted Humor colt. He said the chestnut yearling would be owned by a racing partnership, but not the same one that purchased the $900,000 Unbridled's Song-- Danzig's Dreamer colt Sept. 13.

"This partnership doesn't have a name yet, but we need to get a couple more guys (in it)," Kegel said. "I love Distorted Humor. His horses come in all shapes and sizes, but they are all runners. This is a very good-looking one."

Oregon lumberman Aaron Jones and his wife, Marie, bred the colt in Kentucky. The $1.2-million yearling is out of the 8-year-old Deputy Minister mare Officiate and is a half-brother to 2006 Monmouth Breeders' Cup Oaks (gr. III) winner Mo Cuishle (by Saint Ballado). The colt's second dam is graded winner and stakes-producer Tricky Squaw.