WinStar stallion Distorted Humor, sire of $1.1 million colt at Keeneland's fifth session Saturday.

WinStar stallion Distorted Humor, sire of $1.1 million colt at Keeneland's fifth session Saturday.

Barbara D. Livingston

Numbers Soar as Keeneland Kicks Off Second Phase of Fall Yearling Sale

Keeneland sales officials could not have hoped for a better session to kick off the second phase of the marathon September Yearling Sale as the gross, average, and median prices all soared during Saturday's session that followed a one-day break Friday.

Topped by a Distorted Humor  colt purchased by agent Buzz Chace for $1.1 million, the 40 horses bringing a final bid of seven figures marked a yearling sale record.

The key statistics for the fifth session were:

-- 274 horses for a gross of $29,839,000, a 27.9% increase over the same session one year ago when 273 horses grossed $23,330,000.
-- The average price of $108,901 represented a 27.4% gain over the $85,458 figure in 2004.
-- The session median increased 21.4% to $85,000 from $70,000.
--The 86 yearlings that did not sell represented a Reserve Not Attained rate of 24%, the same rate one year ago when 88 went unsold.

"This gets the second phase off to an excellent start," said Keeneland sales director Geoffrey Russell. "For the third book, we tried to put together a catalogue of well-conformed horses that might have been a little light in pedigree. And then by having a day off, the buyers had a day to give them a good look. It is exactly what we wanted to happen.

Russell said it was significant that the sale gross went over the $300 million mark Saturday, a level that was not achieved until the Wednesday session of the second week last year.

Cumulative figures through five sessions are:
-- 1,191 horses sold, compared with 1,171 through the same session in 2004.
-- The gross of $301,654,000 is up 18.3% over the $255,073,000 at the same point one year ago.
-- The average price of $253,278 represents a gain of 16.3% over the $217,825 figure in 2004.
-- The median of $150,000 is up 20% over the $125,000 median through five sessions in 2004.
--The cumulative RNA rate is 25% for 400 horses not sold, compared with a 24% for the 365 RNAs at the same point last year.

Produced from the A.P. Indy mare Weekend in Indy, the session topper was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency. The Jan. 29 foal, a half-brother to grade III winner Bohemian Lady, was bred in Kentucky by Racehorse Management. Distorted Humor stands at WinStar Farm near Versailles, Ky. His 2003 stud fee, when the current yearling crop was conceived, was $20,000 and he stood for $60,000 in 2005.

The session's second-highest price of $550,000 was paid by Jess Jackson Stonestreet Stables for a colt from the first crop of Wood Memorial (gr. I) winner Buddha. Consigned by Peter O'Callaghan's Woods Edge Farm, the colt was produced from the winning Caller I.D. mare Call Your Beau, a half-sister to Canadian champion Hasten to Add and to grade II winner She How She Runs. Bred in Kentucky by Bradley Purcell and Charles Parker, the colt was previously purchased by Bloodstock Services for $135,000 at the 2004 Keeneland November sale.

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

Hip-by-hip results from Keeneland