Keeneland ends with strength at top of market

Keeneland ends with strength at top of market
By Ron Mitchell of Blood-Horse 1:33PM 26 SEP 2016

KEENELAND'S marathon September Yearling Sale, highlighted by the sale of Beholder's half-brother for $3 million, ended on Sunday, with strength at the top and middle of the market and continued tepid demand for lower-quality individuals.

Keeneland reported 2,792 horses changed hands for $272,890,500 during the 13-day auction, a decrease of 3 per cent from the $281,496,100 gross for 2,745 horses sold during the 12-day stand a year ago. The cumulative average of $97,740 was a decrease of five per cent from last year's $102,549 and the median fell 20% from $50,000 to $40,000.

From 4,479 head cataloged, 681 yearlings (15 per cent) were withdrawn from the auction, and the resulting 1,006 that did not attain their reserve prices represented 27 per cent of the total through the ring.

During Sunday's final session, 147 horses sold for $1,036,600, for an average of $7,052 and a median of $3,200. There was no comparable session in 2015. A colt from the first-crop of Grade 1 winner Morning Line, out of the stakes-winning Cape Canaveral mare Angel Trumpet, brought $45,000 from Royal Flush Racing to be the day's top price.

Lured by the large assemblage of yearlings representing all price ranges and a diverse group of bloodlines, the sale drew a cast of owners, breeders, trainers, and agents from all over the world and resulted in a competitive bidding environment from start to finish.

Sale shows stability within the marketplace

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Keeneland officials said the sale showed stability within the marketplace and is a positive sign for the industry.

"Everybody I think is going leave here feeling very happy that the sale was a great success," said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland's director of sales operations. "A healthy September bodes well for the whole industry. People have left here very happy with their sale and the consignors have been very appreciative of the buyers that showed up here. Buyers are very happy with what they bought and are looking forward to going to the racetrack with these horses."

Russell said the increase in yearlings sold for $500,000 to 93 this year from 69 in 2015 was indicative of the strong demand at the top of the market.

"There was great selectivity but when you are dealing with 93 half-million dollar horses there should be," the sales company executive said.

"This was a very good sale from start to finish," Keeneland vice-president of racing and sales Bob Elliston said. "The results demonstrate the influence of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale. In many respects, this is the world's marketplace. Buyers know they can get good value here, that this is where you come to buy the most competitive horses available at any price and level of the market."

Scat Daddy colt tops marathon auction

The auction was topped by a Scat Daddy colt, who is a half-brother to multiple champion Beholder and Grade 1 winner and sire Into Mischief . The colt was bought by MV Magnier on behalf of Coolmore Stud interests from Clarkland Farm. The $3 million pricetag makes him the highest-priced yearling sold at the September sale since 2010 and most expensive yearling sold at public auction in North America this year. It marks the seventh consecutive year Keeneland has sold the top-priced yearling in North America.

Sheikh Hamdan's Shadwell was leading buyer by gross, paying $10,750,000 for 15 yearlings, led by two War Front colts for $1.9 million and $1.3 million each. Magnier acquired five yearlings for a total of $5,525,000, including the $3 million Scat Daddy colt and a $1 million Medaglia D'Oro colt in his name, and partnered with John and Leslie Malone's Bridlewood Farm on a $2 million Tapit colt.

Taylor Made Sales Agency led all consignors for the 18th time since 1998, selling 282 horses for $32,899,300. Taylor Made's consignment was highlighted by the sale of three seven-figure yearlings: two Tapit fillies sold to Mandy Pope for $1.4 million and $1.1 million.

North American leading sire Tapit was the sale's top sire by gross, with 31 yearlings selling for $19,835,000. Tapit's average of $639,839 was the highest for a sire represented by three or more yearlings since 2006, when 12 yearlings by Danzig averaged $1,465,833.

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