Keeneland's First Two Days Like A Tale of Two Sales

Keeneland's First Two Days Like A Tale of Two Sales
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Win's Fair Lady, topped the Tuesday session at Keeneland.
While the horses for the first two sessions of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock sale were grouped together in one catalogue, Monday's first day and Tuesday's second session resembled "a tale of two sales."

For example:
--When Ashado sold for a record $9 million Monday, there were 20 horses bringing final bids in excess of seven figures. On Tuesday, there were four.
--Only one of the top five buyers from Monday, Jess Jackson's Stonestreet Mares (six bought for $3.5 million), was among the leaders Tuesday.
--While the gross, average, and median prices soared Monday, on Tuesday the gross and average declined dramatically but the median rose.

Although it paled in comparison with Monday, the Tuesday session saw solid trade with a considerable improvement in the rate of horses bought back by their consignors. In short, it was a solid session, albeit short on headliners.

The Tuesday session by the numbers:
--The gross of $59,317,000 for 192 horses sold represented a 27.2% decline from the session gross of $81,487,000 in 2004 when 211 horses were reported sold.
--The average price of $308,943 was down 20% from the $386,194 figure last year.
--The median price was up 6% to $222,500 from $210,000 in 2004.
--The 57 horses that did not attain their reserve prices represented 22.9% of the total through the ring; the RNA rate was 17.6% for the same session in 2004.

Despite Tuesday's downturn, the cumulative figures show the gross receipts are only slightly below those at the same point a year ago, the average is up 10.5% and the median is 35% ahead of last year.

Through two sessions (with comparisons to 2004), Keeneland reported:
--372 horses sold (424 in 2004) for a gross of $157,438,000 ($162,463,500).
--Cumulative average of $423,220 ($383,169).
--Cumulative median of $270,000 ($200,000).
--Cumulative RNA rate of 24.8% (18.5%).

Keeneland sales director Geoffrey Russell said session to session comparisons at the November sale can vary widely, depending upon the type of horses being offered. For example, at the second session in 2004, there were 18 horses that brought more than $1 million, due largely to the horses consigned by Denali Stud on behalf of Bob and Beverly Lewis.

"We knew going into today that it wasn't as strong as yesterday," Russell said. "In November, you get a variation in quality from year to year."

He added that the increases in the overall average and median "just proves central Kentucky is the center of the world for the commercial market."

The session-topper was Win's Fair Lady, a multiple stakes-winning daughter of Dehere in foal to Giant's Causeway   purchased by ClassicStar for $2.2 million.

A full sister to millionaire Graeme Hall and a half-sister to grade I winner Harmony Lodge, Win's Fair Lady was consigned by Michael Barnett's Blackburn Farm.

Spencer Plummer, president of ClassicStar, said the mare "was one of the best physicals (in appearance) in the sale and will be another nice addition" to the Classic Star broodmare band. Plummer said the mare's in-foal status to Giant's Causeway was also a plus.

At the 2003 Keeneland November sale, ClassicStar bought Win Crafty Lady, the graded stakes winning dam of Win's Fair Lady, who was in foal to Giant's Causeway at the time, from Blackburn for $900,000.

The session's second-highest price of $2.1 million was paid by Charlotte Weber's Live Oak Stud for Scoop, a 7-year-old daughter of Gone West produced from grade III winner Til Forbid.

Consigned by Mill Rill Ridge Sales, the mare is in foal to El Prado. Bred in Kentucky by James Tafel, Scoop won the Indiana Breeders' Cup Oaks (gr. III).

John Rasmussen, who signed the ticket on behalf of Live Oak, said he liked the fact that Scoop is a young mare from an active female family and that it has been confirmed her prospective foal is a filly.

Near the end of the session, the third-highest price of the day of $1.4 million was paid by Gordon Stollery, signing on behalf of AGS Thoroughbreds, for Home Court, a 4-year-old daughter of Storm Cat in foal to Gone West. Consigned by Craig and Holly Bandoroff's Denali Stud, the filly is a graded stakes-placed full sister to stakes winner One Nice Cat and was produced from champion Jewel Princess.

Agent Federico Barberini went to $1,050,000 for Glint In Her Eye, an Arazi mare in foal to Empire Maker. Consigned by Brookdale Sales, the 9-year-old mare had a decidedly European pedigree, which appealed to Barberini.

"It is a lovely pedigree and a very good family that has proven they can run well on grass," Barberini said, declining to name his client.

With those four exceptions, the $1-million level proved elusive Tuesday.

"There is a lot less catalogue today," Tom Van Meter, a partner in Eaton Sales, said of the quality of the Tuesday offerings. "It's just how they fell in the catalogue. Last year, the second day was a lot stronger."

Noting the paucity of horses bought back because they did not attain their reserve prices, Van Meter said, "We have been selling them very well."

"It's a totally different day today," said buyer Buzz Chace. "But it's still tough to buy."

Barberini agreed. "It has been very tough. It's a very good market."

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