Strong opening week for yearling sale at Keeneland

Medaglia d'Oro colt brings $1 million to top opening day of September Yearling Sales at Keeneland 9-12-16

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Keeneland’s September Yearling Sale got off to a robust start this week with its premier Book 1, held Sept. 12-14, when competition among the world’s top foreign and domestic buyers spurred significant increases in average and median prices and the sale of eight yearlings for seven figures, led by the $3 million Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier paid for a half-brother to multiple champion Beholder.

The September Sale, which runs through Sunday, Sept. 25, represents the gold standard for the Thoroughbred industry globally. To date in 2016, Keeneland September Sale graduates have won 38 Grade/Group 1 stakes, and have accounted for all three Triple Crown classics; major 2-year-old stakes at Saratoga and Del Mar; group stakes in Europe, Dubai and Japan; and the Russian Derby.

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Through the first three days of the sale, which comprised Book 1, Keeneland sold 346 yearlings for $120,225,000, down 10.52 percent from last year when 443 yearlings sold for $134,361,000. The average of $347,471 rose 14.56 percent from $303,298 in 2015, while the median of $300,000 increased 20 percent over last year’s $250,000.

Further evidence of market strength lies is the fact that 82 yearlings sold for $500,000 or more versus 69 in 2015.

“The market was very dynamic during Book 1 with multiple major buyers competing to fill their orders,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing and Sales Bob Elliston said. “We see a real energy on the sales grounds and are optimistic that the momentum generated by Book 1 will positively impact the upcoming middle market and beyond.”

Cumulatively, eight yearlings commanded $1 million or more in Book 1. Six of those eight yearlings were by leading sires Tapit and War Front.

The $3 million colt is by Scat Daddy and a half-brother to multiple champion Beholder and Grade 1 winner and sire Into Mischief. Consigned by breeder Clarkland Farm, he is the most expensive Thoroughbred sold at public auction in the world this year and is the highest-priced yearling at the September Sale since 2010.

Prominent foreign and U.S. buyers made their presence known at the top of the market with interests occasionally teaming to become the successful bidder. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Shadwell Estate Company Ltd. topped the Book 1 buyers’ list, spending $10,750,000 for 15 yearlings, led by two War Front colts for $1.9 million and $1.3 million each. Second was M.V. Magnier, who signed the ticket for five yearlings for $5,525,000, including the $3 million Scat Daddy colt, $1 million Medaglia d’Oro colt and a $2 million Tapit colt in partnership with Bridlewood Farm.

American buyers also ranked among Book 1 leaders: J.J. Crupi’s New Castle Farm purchased nine horses for $3,880,000, among them a Tapit colt for $1.2 million; Will Farish’s Lane’s End, also a major consignor which paid $3,735,000 for six yearlings; and Don Adam’s Courtlandt Farm, which acquired six yearlings for $3,320,000.

“There was great depth and diversity in the buying bench, which is a very healthy indicator,” Keeneland Director of Sales Operations Geoffrey Russell said. “It is rewarding to see both established buyers and new entities representing the U.S., Europe, Japan, the Middle East, China and Australia actively buying individuals to race and as long-term stallion prospects.”

Mandy Pope, in the name of her Whisper Hill Farm, paid $1.4 million and $1.1 million for two Tapit fillies from the consignment of Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent. Taylor Made was the leading consignor opening week, selling 50 yearlings for $16,387,000.

Following a break on Thursday, selling resumes Friday, Sept. 16 and continues through Sunday, Sept. 25. Sessions begin daily at 10 a.m. ET. The entire sale is streamed live at

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at You can also follow Tom on Facebook and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.