LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 10, 2014) – The solid market continued during the third session of Keeneland’s September Yearling Sale, which was headlined by two yearlings that sold for more than $1 million each.
The session’s top-priced horse was a daughter of leading European sire Dubawi sold to the Niarchos family’s Flaxman Stables Ireland Limited for $1.45 million. She was consigned by Lane’s End, agent.
Bred in England, the filly is out of Vodafone Epsom Oaks (G1) winner Casual Look, by Red Ransom. A half-sister to stakes-placed Casual Trick, the filly is the lone yearling in the September Sale catalog sired by Irish-bred Dubawi, who stands in England.
“That was a big number,” said Charlie Vaughan-Fowler, who signed the ticket on behalf of Flaxman Stables. “But she’s by Dubawi and there aren’t a lot of them on the market, and she’s out of an Oaks winner, so we’re very pleased to get her. She’s an absolutely beautiful filly who handled the sale very well.”
Vaughan-Fowler said the filly would return to Europe.
“Dubawi is obviously a phenomenal international sire, so we thought (she) would sell really well,” said Bill Farish of Lane’s End. “We thought she was different than anything in the sale.”
“The sprinkling of international pedigrees is one of the elements that make the September Sale so much fun,” Keeneland Director of Sales Geoffrey Russell said. “They spark the interest of international buyers.”
The session’s second-highest priced horse was a Tiznow filly purchased for $1.1 million by the Bergler family’s Stonereath Farm of Paris, Ky.
The filly is out of the stakes-placed Storm Cat mare Countess Lemonade, a half-sister to European champion Duke of Marmalade (IRE) and European highweight Ruler of the World.
“We bought (her) to race here in the United States,” said Stonereath manager Peter Berglar, whose family purchased the farm in 2011. “I liked the presence of her a lot and, of course, the (catalog) page; there is a lot of pedigree. It’s fantastic. We are looking forward to racing her.”
“We knew she was very popular,” said Stone Farm’s Arthur Hancock, who consigned the filly on behalf of her breeder, celebrity chef Bobby Flay. “A lot of people liked her. She’s a big strong filly and she’ll make a good broodmare in the future. She has an impeccable pedigree, wonderful disposition, all of that. When you’re gonna buy the whole diamond, you gotta pay some money for it.”
Through the first three sessions of Book 1, the gross was down 9.81 percent, the average increased 5.61 percent, and the median rose 25 percent. On Wednesday, the gross was down 29.30 percent due to more horses selling during the same session last year. The average dipped 8.23 percent, while the median was down 16.67 percent.
“Yearlings in Book 1 are cataloged alphabetically by dam, so you never know where (the top prices) are going to fall,” Russell said. “Last year, the third session was the strongest session, the one where we had the most million-dollar yearlings. It spreads out over the four days and the peaks and valleys meet together.”
Russell noted the exceptional performance of the upper-middle market, with 81 yearlings bringing $400,000 or more this year versus 69 during the comparable period last year.
“There is great strength in that level,” he said. “A million dollars is a lot of money no matter who you are, and the fact that we have sold seven million-dollar horses is very positive. The growth in the number of horses selling for $400,000 or more tells you that the market is rising. That creates momentum as we move forward.”