Demand for quality broodmares and strong participation from both foreign and domestic buyers, particularly at the top levels of the market, generated solid business trade throughout Keeneland's November Breeding Stock Sale, which concluded Friday.
Gross sales for the 11-day auction, held November 6-16, totaled $143,025,600 for the sale of 2,414 horses, for an average of $59,248 and a median price of $22,000. Last year, 2,554 horses brought $208,511,200, for an average of $81,641 and a median of $24,000.
Cumulative totals from 2011 were fueled by two premier dispersals – the estate of Edward P. Evans’ Spring Hill Farm, the highest-grossing Thoroughbred dispersal sold at public auction in North America, and the dispersal of Saud bin Khaled’s Palides Investments N.V., Inc., which was highlighted by the sale of champion Royal Delta for $8.5 million. When combined, the two dispersals accounted for 16 seven-figure sales and gross receipts of $72,759,000 last year.
When gross sales from the two dispersals are excluded from 2011 totals, increases are realized in the comparisons. In 2012, 2,414 horses grossed $143,025,600, up 5.36 percent from last year when 2,354 horses brought $135,752,200. Average price of $59,248 rose 2.74 percent from 2011’s $57,669, while the median increased 10 percent from $20,000 to $22,000.
“This was a very good sale, and encouraging in that the market laid down a stable foundation for the industry,” said Keeneland Vice President of Sales Walt Robertson. “Last year’s sale was enhanced by the vintage dispersals. This year we saw a truer market. And while there was general support throughout, we definitely saw a concentration on quality with regard to all types – broodmares, weanlings and horses of racing age. There is no doubt the money is out there for a good horse.”
Sales officials noted that, similar to this year’s September Yearling Sale, both foreign and domestic buyers were active at the top end of the market, and nearly evenly divided in their representation among the sale’s leading buyers.
“It was great to see American buyers continue to participate so strongly at the highest levels,” said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s Director of Sales. “Their enthusiasm for making such long-term investments is a positive indicator for the horse industry. Production costs, particularly stud fees, continue to trend downward, creating greater opportunities for breeders to make a profit during the next several years. Another optimistic sign is the growing investment by breeders in Central Kentucky farmland; they want to be where they see the market is most stable.”
Seven horses sold in November for more than $1 million, led by the $4.5 million paid by Brazilian-based Goncalo Torrealba, of Stud TNT, for multiple Grade 1 stakes winner Pure Clan, by Pure Prize, offered in foal to leading sire Bernardini.
Nicolas de Watrigant’s Mandore International Agency made four million-dollar-plus purchases on behalf of undisclosed clients to rank as the sale’s leading buyer. Mandore spent $10,235,000 for five horses, including $4.2 million for the graded stakes-winning Sadler’s Wells mare Changing Skies (IRE), in foal to Street Cry (IRE); $2.8 million for multiple Grade 1 winner Harmonious; $1.6 million for stakes winner Shotgun Gulch, in foal to Bernardini; and $1.25 million for Canadian champion Negligee, in foal to Distorted Humor.
Pure Clan and Changing Skies were consigned by John Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency.
Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm went to $4.2 million to acquire 2011 Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Plum Pretty, who was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent.
Taylor Made led all consignors for the 17th time at the November Sale, selling 207 horses for $20,071,700.
A colt by War Front out of the Seeking the Gold mare Questress brought the sale’s top price for a weanling, selling to John McCormack Bloodstock for $800,000. Consigned by Eaton Sales, agent, the colt is a half-brother to multiple Grade 1 stakes winner and sire Pomeroy and to Gold Vault, dam of the Grade 1 stakes-winning filly Contested.
Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Stables paid $700,000 for Samantha Nicole, a yearling full sister to Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra. The filly was consigned by Gainesway, as agent for the Dolphus C. Morrison Dispersal, which sold 20 horses for $2,208,500. The dispersal consignment was headlined by the $775,000 paid by West Point Thoroughbreds for the impressive maiden winner Flashy Gray.
On Friday, 192 horses sold for $1,269,000, an increase of 57.88 percent over last year’s $803,800 for 157 horses. Average rose 29.08 percent from $5,120 to $6,609, while the median dipped 4.29 percent from $3,500 to $3,350.
Royal Irish Lass, dam of the stakes-winning juvenile filly Tara From the Cape, brought Friday’s top price of $210,000 from Jim and Pam Robinson’s Brandywine Farm. Consigned by Brandywine Farm, as agent for Rob Whiteley’s Liberation Farm, Royal Irish Lass is a nine-year-old mare by Saint Ballado out of graded stakes winner Irish Linnet, by Seattle Song.