Hailstone, a half brother to TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) winner Court Vision , was purchased by agent Steve Young for $235,000 to top the Nov. 15 session of the Keeneland November sale that saw declines in gross and average when compared with the same session a year ago.
Consigned as Hip No. 3253 by Lane’s End, agent, Hailstone is a multiple Canadian graded stakes-placed son of City Zip produced from the Storm Bird mare Weekend Storm. In addition to being a half brother to Court Vision, the 4-year-old colt is a half brother to three other stakes winners and descends from the female family of top racehorses and sires Summer Squall and A.P. Indy. He was bred in Kentucky by W. S. Farish and Kilroy Thoroughbred Partnership and was offered for sale as a racing or stallion prospect.
Young also purchased the sale’s second-highest priced offering, paying $220,000 for Grassy, winner of the 2010 Red Smith Handicap (gr. IIT) for owner-breeders Claiborne Farm and Adele B. Dilschneider. The 5-year-old son of El Prado was produced from the Rousillon mare High Savannah, making him a half brother to British group II winner Lady in Waiting and Savannah Bay. Cataloged as Hip No. 3251, he was offered as part of the Claiborne farm consignment.
Young said he bought the horses for two different clients and that Hailstone will be shipped to trainer Bobby Ribaudo in New York while Grassy will go to Marty Jones in California.
“Both are ready-made stakes horses and both appear to have more run to them,” he said.
The Nov. 15 session, which included about 100 racehorses or racing prospects among the 393 cataloged, saw 260 horses sell for $4,391,700, down 22.5% from 2010 when 250 horses brought $5,670,200. Average price of $16,891 was down 25.5% over last year’s comparable session average of $22,681. The median price of $10,000 remains unchanged.
Through nine sessions, Keeneland has sold a total of 2,164 horses for gross receipts of $205,584,600, up 44.9% over the same period in 2010 when 2,174 horses were sold for $141,815,800. The average of $95,002 increased 45.6% over last year’s $65,233, while the median of $30,000 rose 20% over $25,000 in 2010.
Tom Thornbury, Keeneland’s associate director of sales, said the Tuesday session of the second week of the auction has become a marketplace for horse of racing age or horses in training. As such, one or two standout racehorses in the catalog can skewer the numbers upward, and the Nov. 15 session was lacking that star power.
“It’s always dependent upon the quality of the stock when you are pinpointing a particular market,” Thornbury said of the session. “If you have some standouts, that would alter that. It can also be affected by the outs (horses withdrawn from the sale).”
Thornbury said the unique session first gained traction several years ago when WinStar Farm offered a large number of race horses as part of its consignment during the Tuesday session, a traditionally dark day at most tracks and convenient for trainers. Unlike many horses of racing age sales in which trainers scan the catalog and buy the horses privately prior to the sale, WinStar let its horses go through the ring and found it successful.
“They (WinStar) always kept their horses in and maintained the integrity of the sale,” Thornbury said. “Horses in training sales get cannibalized because trainers can look at the catalog and go to the farm and buy it privately. It’s (horses of racing age session) taken legs and I think in the future it may be the strong portion of the sale.”
During the session, WinStar sold 27 horses for $883,500, making it the session’s second-leading consignor behind Lane’s End, which had 34 sell for a total of $945,000.
The November Sale continues through Nov. 17, with sessions beginning daily at 10 a.m. ET. The entire sale is streamed live at Keeneland.com.