Pair of colts fuel gains at Book 4 of Keeneland

The Violence colt who was joint-top lot at Keeneland on Tuesday

PICTURE: RP GRAPHICS Pair of $300,000 colts fuel gains for Book 4
By Ron Mitchell of Blood-Horse 12:03PM 21 SEP 2016

IT WASN'T quite to the levels of Books 1 and 2, but there was a lot of energy at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale as Book 4 selling began with a session on Tuesday that yielded across-the board increases.

With a diverse buying bench that included some of North America's leading trainers and agents, pinhookers, end-users, and international buyers that included representatives of Russian owners, there was stiff competition for the best lots, as has been the case all year.

Keeneland reported 275 yearlings sold for $15,036,900, up 6 per cent from the corresponding session in 2015 when the gross of $14,192,700 was paid for 292 horses. The average rose 13 per cent to $54,680 from $48,605 last year and the median increased six per cent from $35,000 to $37,000. From 409 head cataloged, 30 horses were withdrawn, and 87 yearlings did not sell for an RNA rate of 24 per cent.

A colt from the first crop of Violence and a son of Midnight Lute each brought the session's top price of $300,000.

The Violence colt purchased by agent Steven Young represents a sizeable pinhook score for Nick Sallusto and Hanzley Albina, who picked him up for $85,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November Sale. He was consigned to the September Sale as hip 2418 by Blake-Albina Thoroughbred Services.

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The dark bay or brown colt bred in Florida by Loren Nichols is out of the stakes-winning mare Conway Two Step. Second dam is Nancy's Glitter, a multiple stakes winner who earned more than $470,000 and is granddam of Grade 1 winner Miss Temple City.

Young, who also bought a son of The Factor for $110,000 and a Blame colt for $75,000, said he usually is not active at this point in the auction.

"I thought they were three terrific-looking horses and great values," the agent said. "I usually don't stay this late in the sale but there are some good horses still around."

Ruis Racing snap up son of Midnight Lute

Consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency as hip 2580, the Midnight Lute colt was bought by Ruis Racing, with agent Ike Green signing the sales slip. The colt bred in Kentucky by the Randal Family Trust was produced from a half-sister to stakes winner Head to Toe. Second dam Crown Jewel, a Grade 3-winning daughter of Regal Search, was taken by Robert David Randal for $40,000 from the Taylor Made consignment to the 2006 Keeneland January Sale.

Ike Green, who represented Ruis with three purchases at Keeneland, including a Midnight Lute filly bought for $100,000, said his client's desire for offspring of the champion sprinter stems in part from their two-year-old colt Midnight Pleasure, the third-place finisher in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity who is being aimed at the Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes followed by the Breeders' Cup World Championships.

"Most of the Midnight Lutes I've seen in the sale look better than the other horses," Green said. "I think Midnight Pleasure is the best two-year-old in California. We're pretty excited about him."

Green said he is "super selective" when buying at yearling sales, adding, "I've spent a little more than I wanted to on every horse."

Cumulatively, Keeneland has sold 1,642 horses for $248,721,400, down 4 per cent from the same point in the sale a year ago when 1,796 horses grossed $259,763,200. The cumulative average of $151,475 remains up five per cent from last year's $144,634 and the median is down five per cent from $95,000 to $90,000. The cumulative RNA rate is 28 per cent.

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