Deputy Commander colt, brought $420,000 at Keeneland Sunday.

Deputy Commander colt, brought $420,000 at Keeneland Sunday.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Keeneland Sale on Record Pace After Strong Sixth Session

After a dazzling start to the second phase of Keeneland's September yearling sale Saturday, the trend continued Sunday as numbers eclipsed last year's figures in all categories.

According to sales director Geoffrey Russell, at some point early in Monday's session, the sale will surpass last year's record gross of $324,904,300.

"Some time tomorrow we'll pass last year's gross," Russell said following Sunday's session. "It is unbelievable to be at the half-way stage and to pass last year's gross. In no one's wildest dreams did we think that was going to happen."

The key statistics for the sixth session were:

--293 horses sold for a gross of $20,642,500, up 22.8% over the same session last year when 258 grossed $16,487,000.
--The average price of $70,452 represented an 11.5% increase over the $63,903 in 2004.
--The median increased 8.9% to $55,000 from $50,500.
--The 63 yearlings not sold represented a Reserve Not Attained rate of 17.7%, down 34.7% from last years rate of 27.1%.

Russell said having a dark day on the Friday before catalogue book three -- which included the Saturday and Sunday sessions -- was advantageous for both buyers and consignors, who had the opportunity to market their horses from the barn.

"Book three is a work in progress for us ever since we started with the dark day three years ago," Russell said. "We purposely put horses in there that we thought were strong physical horses, maybe a little lighter in pedigree, but were strong conformation type horses.That was the plan going in and it's been very successful."

The cumulative figures through six sessions are:
--1,484 horses sold, up 3.2 % from last year when 1,429 head sold.
--The gross of $322,296,500 is up 18.5% over the 271,560,000 at the same point one year ago.
--The average price of $217,181 represents a gain of 14.8% over the $190,035 average in 2004.
--The median price of $110,000 is up 10% from $100,000 last year.
--The cumulative RNA rate is 23.8% for 463 horses not sold, down 2.5% from last year's rate of 24.4 %.

A bay Deputy Commander colt, purchased by Angelo Ferro for $420,000, topped Sunday's session. Consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent, the April 22 colt is out of the unraced Rahy mare Clever Squaw. The mare has two foals of racing age.

Deputy Commander stands at Brereton C. Jones Airdrie Stud near Midway, Ky. His 2003 stud fee, when the current yearling crop was conceived, was $15,000. He stood for $20,000 in 2005.

The session topper was bred in Kentucky by Gulf Coast Farms Bloodstock.

Russell said the $420,000 price wasn't below or higher than expected.

"Yesterday (Saturday) we were fortunate to have a million-dollar horse," Russell said. "We don't expect to have million-dollar horses in book three so what we wanted to see is the median going up, so the money is more spread around. That's more important than anything else."

A son of Carson City sold for the session's second highest price of $400,000. Buzz Chace, who purchased the $1.1 million session topper on Saturday, bought the colt as agent for Al Gold. Bred in Kentucky by Carl Pollard's Hermitage Farm, the bay colt is the first foal out of the winning Honour and Glory mare General Jeanne and was foaled Feb. 11.

Carson City died in 2004. The Overbrook Farm stallion stood for a $35,000 fee in 2003, the year the colt was conceived.

The sale continues through Sept. 26, with daily sessions beginning at 10 a.m.

et=_blank">Hip-by-hip results from Keeneland