Middle Market 'Alive and Well' at Keeneland

With only five days to go, the Keeneland yearling sale, which began Sept. 12, is showing no signs of winding down. Wednesday's session nine saw double-digit gains in all categories compared to the same session last year.

As catalogue book five opened up, the middle market stood strong as buyers found what they were looking for as seen in these key statistics for the ninth session:

-295 horses sold for a gross of $10,642,900 up 29.3% over the same session last year when 286 grossed $8,230,700.
--The average price of $36,078 represented a 25.4% increase over $28,779 in 2004.
--The median increased 17.4% to $27,000 from $23,000.
--The 64 yearlings not sold represented an RNA (reserve not attained) rate of 17.8% down 6.3% from last year's rate of 19% when 67 yearlings weren't sold.

Keeneland sales director Geoffrey Russell said Wednesday's strong figures show the middle market is very much "alive and well."

"There were great concerns going into the sale about the middle market and we said beforehand we thought the middle market was book three, book four, and book five," Russell said. "All three sessions have shown impressive gains, be it in medians or averages, so the middle market is alive and well at Keeneland September."

John Brocklebank paid $270,000 for Wednesday's session topper, a gray or roan colt by Wild Wonder. Consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent, the March 27 colt is out of the winning Talinum mare Susie Do. The mare has four foals of racing age. Susie's Prize (by Prized), the mare's first foal to race, is a winner of two starts at four.

Bred by John Kerns in Kentucky, the session-topper had gone through the sale ring once before. Chad Johnson, agent, purchased the colt for $10,000 as a weanling in the 2004 Keeneland November mixed sale.

Wild Wonder stands at B. Wayne Hughes' Spendthrift Farm near Lexington. His 2005 fee was $5,000, the same as when the session topper was bred.

Cumulative numbers through nine sessions are:

--2,353 horses have sold, up 3.5% from last year when 2,274 head were purchased.
--The gross of $363,219,400 is up 18.8% over the $305,647,100 at the same point one year ago.
--The average price of $154,364 represents a gain of 14.8% over the $134,409 average in 2004.
--The median price of $75,000 is up 15.4% from $65,000 last year.
--The cumulative RNA rate is 22.2% for the 672 horses not sold, down 5.9% from last year's rate of 23.6% representing the 703 not sold to this point in 2004.

The sale continues at 10 a.m. daily through Monday, Sept. 26.

Hip-by-hip results from Keeneland