Sale sets all-time record with three days to go.

Sale sets all-time record with three days to go.

Keeneland September Sale Breaks All-Time Record

Day 11 of the Keeneland September yearling sale saw buyers spend $5,783,200, which was good enough to push the sale's total to more than $318 million, topping the all-time mark for a single sale. There is little rest for the happy yet weary Keeneland sales crew; the marathon 14-day sale still has three more sessions to go.

The previous highwater mark for a sale was the 1999 Keeneland November breeding stock sale that grossed $317,666,000. This year's Keeneland September sale stands at $318,245,700.

"The top-end was stronger than we ever thought and the middle has surpassed even our most liberal expectations," said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland's director of sales. "We had no reason to believe this sale would surpass $300 million, much less become the all-time record sale."

Highest Grossing Sales in North America
Year -- Sale -- No. Sold -- Gross
*2004 -- KeeSept -- 2,819 -- $318,245,700
1999 -- KeeNov -- 3,461 -- $317,666,000
2000 -- KeeNov -- 3,264 -- $301,904,800
2000 -- Kee Sept -- 3,313 -- $291,827,100
2003 -- Kee Sept -- 2,968 -- $273,925,300
*Through Sept. 24, 2004; three sessions to go

"It's a wonderful thing from a lot of different angles," said Keeneland's president Nick Nicholson. "I'm happy for the small consignors that have had a tough three-year run. With MRLS (mare reproductive loss syndrome) hitting in 2001, it's great to see the hard-working people get a lift after all the breaks have gone against them the last few years. But it's still not perfect."

"We're back to a normal foal crop," said Tom Thornbury, Keeneland's associate director of sales, regarding the overall health of this year's sale. "And our consignors say, 'If you like this crop, wait until next year.'"

For the day--the first half of book six--273 yearlings were sold for $5,783,200, good for an average of $21,184 and a median of $13,000. Sixty-three buy-backs make for an RNA rate of 18.8%.

Comparison's to last year's Day 11 session is an apples-to-oranges proposition considering last year's sale was 12 days and Day 11 was the first half of the last book. However, looking at day-to-day, hear are the rosy numbers: the average was up 57.1% and the median was up 52.9%.

"The real strength is in the middle of the market," Russell said. "In this sale, it's the middle of the market that is stretching out."

The day's top lot, Hip 3673, at $170,000 came early in the session. Consigned by Padraig Campion's Blandford Stud, agent, the son of Horse Chestnut was purchased by Bob Baffert, agent. The bay colt is out of the unraced Storm Cat mare Dr. Redoubtable, a half-sister to the stakes-winning, graded stakes-placed Irish Actress. Irish Actress earned more than $500,000.

Baffert went to six figures for another colt, a son of Real Quiet consigned by Moreau Bloodstock International, agent. Baffert trained Real Quiet to victories in the 1998 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes (both gr. I). The $100,000 yearling, named Quietly Go, is out of the winning Fit to Fight mare Leah's Promise and is closely bred to one of Baffert's current stakes winners. Leah's Promise is a half-sister to Class Above, winner of the Bourbonette Breeders' Cup Stakes and Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies Stakes. Class Above is by Quiet American, the sire of Real Quiet.

The day's top-priced filly, at $140,000, went to trainer Bruce Headley. Consigned by Eaton Sales, agent, the daughter of Arch is out of the multiple stakes-winning Allen's Prospect mare Tanja. Tanja is a half-sister to 2004 major winner Midway Road (by Jade Hunter, and three other stakes horses including $278,264-earner Tuzia.

The other six-figure yearling was a daughter of Vicar who brought a final bid of $125,000 from Rock Bottom Racing. Consigned by Blandford Stud, agent, the filly is out of the Rubiano mare Reboot.

Results, leading buyer, leading consignor, leading sire lists from Keeneland