Day four of Keeneland's marathon September yearling sale "might have been a little softer in spots," according to director of sales Geoffrey Russell, but business was still plenty good Thursday in Lexington, Ky. as the world's largest yearling sale rolled on. Overall, the gross revenue for the first four days is up 17.3% from last year's record sale.Lifted by a top price of $900,000 for a colt by Distorted Humor and a $700,000 Unbridled's Song colt, the session saw 263 yearlings sell for an average of $130,586, off a slight 4.1% from last year's average of $136,172 during the fourth session.Overall, the numbers for Day Four: - The number sold was down 3.7%, 263 yearlings Thursday, compared to 273 at last year's session.
- The gross dipped 7.6%, from $37,175,000 last year to $34,344,000.
- Median held steady from a year ago at $100,000.
- Buy-back rate was 27.9% with 102 RNAs.Cumulative four-day totals, however remain plenty strong after Monday and Tuesday's record-setting performances: - Gross of $271,815,000, compared to $231,743,000 last year -- up 17.3%.
- The average is up 14.9% from $258,066 last year to $296,418 this year.
- The median is up 13.3% over last year, rising to $170,000 from $150,000.
- Cumulative buy-backs are 314, or 25.5% this year."It might have been a little softer in spots than we anticipated, but it's still strong and rolling along," Russell said. "The numbers are slightly off, but overall we're really pleased. It's healthy. "The first two days were unbelievable," he said. "The excitement and the level of interest the first two days were much higher than I anticipated. The dynamic of the first two days was really made up of two major players: the Maktoum family and the Coolmore group. That's what changed the first two days. "Now we take a day off and we come back with a group we think is a very strong physical group of horses and we start the middle market," he said.Jess Jackson remained a strong buyer Thursday and went to $900,000 for a son of Distorted Humor to top the session. In all, Jackson led the day while buying three horses for $1.797 million under his Stonestreet Stables name.Selling mid-afternoon in the 10-hour session, the chestnut colt is out of the 9-year-old Deputy Minister mare Barnie Fife. The Florida-bred was consigned by Warrendale Sales, agent. Bloodstock agent John Moynihan., who was seated next to Jackson, called the Distorted Humor colt "one of the best physicals in the entire sale. He was an absolute star physically and looks like a horse who will be fast and go around two turns. This is probably the best individual by Distorted Humor I've seen and he's a sire who's proven he can get runners." Jackson concurred. "We're looking for individuals with some pedigree and if they prove themselves on the racetrack, they'll make good studs. We think this is one of those horses." Kitty Taylor, who consigned the horse under Warrendale Sales, agent, called the colt "an awesome individual and he never stopped walking. He came out 75 times yesterday for inspection and was scoped 20 times. A lot of the credit goes to Shannon and Jamie White at Fares Farm. They did a great job prepping him." Taylor said the underbidder was Atlantan Ken Luke's Eldon Farm Equine. Bred by Gilbert G. Campbell, the colt was a $130,000 Keeneland November purchase as a weanling by Collier Farm. Barnie Fife, the dam of the session-topping colt, is a half-sister to stakes winner Count on a Change. Distorted Humor , who stands at WinStar Farm near Versailles, Ky., had a 2003 stud fee of $20,000. His fee in 2005 was $60,000.Some other colts by Distorted Humor sold for $435,000, $400,000, and $300,000 throughout the session.Earlier in the day, Jackson purchased a filly by Unbridled's Song for $450,000. The dark bay or brown filly, out of the Storm Cat mare Song to Remember, was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent for ClassicStar. The filly was bred in Kentucky by ClassicStar. It was just about an hour into the sale when a colt by Unbridled's Song sold for $700,000. The colt, consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent, is the fifth foal out of Oath (by Known Fact), winner of the Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga in 1996. The colt was bred in Kentucky by Racehorse Management. Signing the ticket for the dark bay or brown colt was Tim Kegel, agent. Heading into today's session, Unbridled's Song ranked seventh on this year's Keeneland September sale sire list by average price with 30 yearlings reported as sold for an average of $491,000. Unbridled's Song stands at Taylor Made Farm near Nicholasville, Ky. His 2003 stud fee was $100,000. He stood the 2005 season for $125,000. Taylor Made Sales Agency was the leading consignor of the day, selling 18 yearlings for $3,782,000. They are also the cumulative leader of the sale, having sold 102 yearlings for $43,612,000.
The Keeneland September sale takes a breather Friday, with a day off from selling. The sale resumes Saturday, Sept. 17 with book 3."We're starting to see the rotation of buyers and that's what normally takes place here," Russell said. "People at the barns are telling me they're starting to get busy. We got them in as quickly as we could yesterday so they could start showing as quickly as possible. For some consignors, it's their first draft of horses, so we want to give them the opportunity to show and sell these horses. "We're starting to see new people coming in. People have plenty of money left. We believe the quality of Book 3 is very good."
Leading Sires (Sessions 1 thru 4)Hip-by-hip results from Keeneland