Yearlings waiting to be sold at Keeneland.

Yearlings waiting to be sold at Keeneland.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Keeneland Sale Surpasses All-Time Record; Seventh Session Numbers Soar

The marathon Keeneland September yearling sale set a record for gross receipts at any equine auction when Bruno de Berdt signed the ticket early in the session Monday for an Officer colt bought for $45,000 from the consignment of Peter O'Callaghan's Woods Edge Farm.

Once again, the seventh session saw double-digit increases in gross, average, and median prices.

Bought on behalf of the Excel Bloodstock pinhooking venture, the Officer colt's purchase price pushed the gross to $324,927,500 for the sale that continues daily through Sept. 26. That figure exceeds the previous world record sale gross of $324,904,300 set at last year's Keeneland fall yearling sale.

The cumulative figures through seven sessions are:
--1,775 horses sold, up 3.7% from last year when 1,712 head sold.
--The gross of $339,659,000 is up 18.9% over the $285,729,700 at the same point one year ago.
--The average price of $191,357 represents a gain of 14.7% over the $166,898 average in 2004.
--The median price of $95,000 is up 5.6% from $90,000 last year.
--The cumulative RNA rate is 23.2%, down 4.5% from last year's rate of 24.3%.

Noting that he thought this year's entire sale might eclipse last year's total but was surprised it came at this point in the auction, Keeneland sales director Geoffrey Russell said the stage was set for a record auction during the first two days' select sessions last week.

"I thought we would get close to going over the gross by the end of the sale, but never in my wildest dreams did I think we would do it so early in day seven," he said. "It (the sale) has a good roll to it at the moment, but it started with such a bang during the first two days and has just kept right on going ever since."

The key statistics for Monday's seventh session were:

--291 horses sold for a gross of $17,362,500, up 22.5% over the same session last year when 283 grossed $14,169,700.
--The average price of $59,665 represented a 19.2% increase over the $50,070 in 2004.
--The median increased 11.9% to $47,000 from $42,000.
--The session saw 20.1% of the offered hips fail to meet their reserve, down 15.2% from last year's session total of 23.7%.

A bay son of Orientate, purchased by Welcome Gate Farm for $400,000, topped Monday's session. Consigned by Claiborne Farm, agent, the colt was produced from the stakes winning Afleet mare Swift Alliance and is a half-sibling to stakes winners Sky Alliance and Classic Alliance, both by Sky Classic.

Robert Raphaelson and New Down Stud bred the session topper in Kentucky.

The second-highest price of the day was a $375,000 son of Broken Vow  purchased by Dapple Bloodstock. Consigned by Elm Tree Farm, the dark bay or brown colt was produced from the Jade Hunter mare Darlin Jade, and is from the family of grade II stakes winner Bluesthestandard.

Clay and Mena Neal bred the colt in Kentucky. The colt was originally consigned by Dream Chase Farm, agent, to the 2004 Keeneland November mixed sale where H. Allen Poindexter purchased him for $32,000.

The sale continues through Sept. 26 with session beginning at 10 a.m.

Hip-by-hip results from Keeneland