LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 11, 2014) – A bullish market reigned at Keeneland on Thursday, the fourth and final day of the September Yearling Sale’s premier Book 1, with gains in average and median prices. Increases were powered by the sale of six seven-figure yearlings, led by two colts which brought sale-topping prices of $2.2 million each.
For the session, Keeneland sold 128 horses for $41,585,000, down slightly from the corresponding session in 2013 when 142 horses grossed $41,874,000. The average rose 10.17 percent, while the median represented a 7.14 percent gain.
Through the first four days, 473 yearlings have sold for $142,153,000 compared to $153,385,000 for 546 horses sold during Book 1 last year. The cumulative average is nearly seven percent above last year’s average, and the median rose 15.66 percent.
The six seven-figure yearlings sold Sept. 11 bring the total sold for $1 million or more during the first four days of the sale to 13.
“The increase in the median price and especially the depth of the upper middle market stand out,” Keeneland Director of Sales Geoffrey Russell said. “We cataloged fewer horses in Book 1 and the results prove that was the right thing to do. Less became more in some departments. Obviously, the gross was going to be down, but the average and median are up. There were better percentages than we had hoped for.”
Russell noted several top-priced horses sold on Sept. 12 were consigned by the sons and daughters of prominent horsemen.
“One of the wonderful things about today, and Book 1 in general, is seeing the next generation, like Walker Hancock at Claiborne Farm, the Cleary brothers at Clearsky Farm, Arthur Hancock at Stone Farm, Braxton and Damian Lynch with Royal Oak, coming forward and selling sale-topping horses,” he said.
Competitive bidding among multiple buyers resulted in $2.2 million prices on two yearlings.
The first sale-topper was the War Front colt purchased by Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Shadwell Estate Company Ltd. purchased the second, the Tapit colt who is a half-brother to Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner New Year’s Day.
Claiborne Farm, agent, consigned the War Front colt, who is a half-brother to multiple Grade 1 winner Contested. He is out of the winning Arch mare Gold Vault, a half-sister to multiple Grade 1 winner Pomeroy.
“It’s a brilliant pedigree,” Magnier said. “With Arch, he’s a brilliant broodmare sire. You have (Coolmore sire) Uncle Mo (out of an Arch mare), and all his progeny have done very well this week, so if (this yearling is) anywhere along those lines we’ll be happy to pay for him.”
“Everyone that came to see him said how great of an athlete he was, how gorgeous he was, a great specimen of an animal,” said Claiborne’s Walker Hancock. “We didn’t hear anyone saying anything negative about him so we knew because of that he was going to bring a lot of money.”
Clearsky Farms, agent, consigned the $2.2 million Tapit colt, who is out of multiple Grade 2 winner Justwhistledixie, by Dixie Union.
“It was a little bit more than we thought we’d have to do,” said Rick Nichols of Shadwell about the purchase price. Nichols said the colt likely would race in the U.S.
Shadwell was the session’s leading buyer, spending $3.85 million for three horses.
The leading consignor was Lane’s End Farm, which sold 16 yearlings for $6,545,000.
No sale will be held on Friday, Sept. 12. The sale will resume on Saturday and continue through Sunday, Sept. 21, with all sessions beginning at 10 a.m. The entire sale is streamed live at Keeneland.com.