The buoyant pace continued at the Keeneland September yearling sale when gross sales of $273,298,000 through the Sept. 18 seventh session of the 12-day sale surpassed total sales of $272,890,500 recorded during last year's entire 13-day auction.
Monday marked the first of the two-day Book 4. Keeneland reported 276 horses sold for $18,385,000, for an average of $66,612 and a median of $50,000. A total of 75 horses did not sell, resulting in an RNA rate of 21.37%. Last year's comparative seventh session had 286 sell for a total of $20,935,500, with an average of $73,201 and a median of $57,500.
Cumulatively, Keeneland has sold 1,455 horses for $273,298,000, for an average of $187,834 and a median of $120,000 so far this year.
"Today's session was strong, and there was a lot of activity in the barn area with buyers inspecting horses for tomorrow's session," Keeneland director of sales operations Geoffrey Russell said.
Mike Ryan, as agent, paid the day's top price of $350,000 for a colt from the first crop of Cairo Prince . Consigned by Lane's End, agent, the colt is out of the winning Horse Chestnut mare Precious Princess. Bred in Kentucky by G. Watts Humphrey Jr. and Sally S. Humphrey, he is a half brother to grade 3 winner Zipessa.
"He's a horse that puts a chill up the back of your head," Ryan said of the gray or roan colt consigned as Hip 2196. "He was very, very special. He's an exceptional colt."
Ryan said he told his client, whom he declined to name, that "he's one of these horses that's a no-brainer. If the price is reasonable, we have to have him."
The agent, who has bought more than 40 horses for a total of more than $11 million at Keeneland so far, put the colt in lofty company by saying he was as good as any yearling offered among the more than 2,200 that have gone through the ring.
"I rated him up with any of the horses I saw this week," Ryan said. "He measures up with anything that was selling in Books 1 or 2 from a physical standpoint. I thought he was a really top horse—a two-turn horse that can go a classic distance. And he actually has a very nice pedigree. If he's a good horse on the racetrack he has stallion potential."
Ryan said the yearlings from the first crop by Cairo Prince have been well-received and sold well because "they have a lot of leg, have a lot of quality, and are good movers."
Cairo Prince stands at Airdrie Stud near Midway, Ky. His fee was $10,000 in 2015, when the current yearling crop was conceived, and it was $15,000 this year.
"They look like sound horses and they are so consistent," Ryan said. "He's an extremely good-looking horse himself. And he's very dominant. Some sires are the other way. But he's dominating his mares."
Lane's End sales director Allaire Ryan said the consignor was not surprised by the colt's price since he had a dozen pre-sale endoscopic exams.
"We're really pleased," said Allaire Ryan, who is Mike Ryan's daughter. "He was really popular and had gone over well at the barn. We were realistic with our reserve; we were really pleased with what he brought.
"We've always liked the colt and he was a little immature when we were doing our (sale prospect) inspections, which is part of the reason he's here. And we lucked out with the sire becoming really popular. He seems like gold and everybody is trying to get their hands on one. So all of the stars kind of aligned for us."
Glen Hill Farm's Craig Bernick spent $285,000 on a filly by Orb consigned by Claiborne Farm, agent, which was the day's second highest price. She is out of the winning Langfuhr mare Maxinkuckee Miss and from the family of grade 3 winner Fly'n J. Bryan.
Select Sales was the day's leading consignor, selling 35 horses for $2,374,000.
EQB (Patrice Miller), agent, purchased four yearlings for $485,000 to be the leading buyer.
The sale continues through Sept. 23, with all sessions beginning at 10 a.m. ET. The entire sale is streamed live at Keeneland.com.