A filly by Gio Ponti sold for $115,000 to John Brocklebank, agent for R 3 Stable, to top the Sept. 22 penultimate session of Keeneland's September yearling sale.
Keeneland reported 159 yearlings changed hands Friday for a total of $2,111,900, an average of $13,282, and a median of $7,500. The 18 horses bought back represented an RNA rate of 10.2%.
Cumulatively through the sale, which began Sept. 11, 2,420 horses grossed $306,377,600 for an average of $126,602 and a median of $65,000. The cumulative RNA rate is 26%.
The Gio Ponti filly was bred in Kentucky by Frank Penn and consigned as Hip 3667 by Penn Sales. The Jan. 19, 2016, foal is a half sister to grade 3 Canadian Derby third-place finisher The Accuser and to stakes-placed Toulouse Lautrec.
The session-topper was produced from the Meadowlake mare Lac Du Printemps, a full sister to grade 1 winner and sire Greenwood Lake, and a half sister to Canadian grass champion Charlie Barley, Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) winner and sire Success Express, and stakes winner Royal Hudson.
"She just happened to be a standout physical with a beautiful walk, and she had a good pedigree on the bottom side," John Penn said. "My brothers have raised that entire group of horses from the second dam on."
"She made my heart flutter," Brocklebank said of the filly. "She's an absolute star. She's what you want in a horse."
The sale grounds and pavilion were heavily populated, primarily by pinhookers looking to fill orders, as well as a healthy mix of domestic and foreign buyers.
Brocklebank, the session's leading buyer with two horses purchased for $136,000, said it was still a very competitive environment late in the marathon auction.
"I feel like a fox in the hen house, and I go to pick up the eggs and they are rocks," the gregarious agent said. "It's tough but it's exciting. The quality is really good. I think the physicals are better than they were three days ago."
Penn agreed that the atmosphere was rare for this point in the sale and was reminiscent of the sale scene prior to the recession.
"It's as good as it's been since 2008," Penn said. "There are a lot of people here, and considering the state of racing, I don't understand the demand, but I'm glad it's here."
Lane's End, agent, was the session's leading consignor, with 15 horses sold for $276,500.
The final day of the September sale is Sept. 23, with the session scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. ET.