LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Brisk commerce drove double-digit increases in gross sales and average and median prices during Friday’s fourth session of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale. The session was topped by the sale of the 5-year-old Tapit mare Tension in foal to Curlin for $750,000 to Woodford Thoroughbreds and a weanling colt from the first crop of American Pharoah for $575,000 to Scott and Evan Dilworth.
During the session, the second of the two-day Book 2, Keeneland sold 230 horses for a total of $28,327,000, marking a 33.11 percent increase in gross sales from the fourth session last year when 220 horses brought $21,280,500. The average of $123,161 rose 27.32 percent from $96,730 in 2016. The median of $90,000 was up 20 percent from last year’s $75,000.
“The figures were very positive today,” Keeneland Director of Sales Operations Geoffrey Russell said. “The most popular horses were young, good-looking mares that were well covered. Obviously the American Pharoah foal was of exceptional quality and was rewarded. The entire day from start to finish had great buzz and good bidding. Book 2 was a success. On to Book 3.”
Through the first four days of the sale, Keeneland sold 660 horses for $144,097,000, a 7.53 decrease from $155,833,500 for 695 horses sold during through the corresponding period in 2016. The average of $218,329 was 2.63 percent below last year’s $224,221, while the median of $130,000 was
4 percent above $125,000 in 2016.
Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, agent, consigned Tension, whose dam is the multiple Grade 1 winner Tough Tiz’s Sis, by Tiznow. Tension is a half-sister to Grade 2 winner Tiz Midnight.
“There wasn’t much not to like about her,” Woodford Thoroughbreds Vice President Matt Lyons said. “She is a beautiful mare, maybe one of the best-looking mares in the whole sale, and in foal to Curlin, who has become a very important sire. When the pretty ones walk in that look like that and they’re in foal to a top sire, you can’t say you expect to pay that much, but you can’t be surprised either.
“We knew sitting around here tonight that there were still people here waiting the same as we were, so we knew (bidding) was going to be competitive. The market is strong at the very top; the (weanlings) are bringing a lot of money; there’s a lot of confidence around here. People feel that the economy is going the right way and they’re ready to spend money. It’s great for our business; hopefully, it continues into next year’s sales and we can get on a bit of a roll here.”
“The perfect recipe: young mare, first service, in foal to Curlin, by Tapit and absolutely gorgeous,” John G. Sikura of Hill ‘n’ Dale said. “She is a standout mare and exceeded expectations. Her reserve was very low. When you have the best, you get extra. That is the reality. She was certainly a mare on everybody’s list.
“Book 2 is a great place for her to stand out. She is unraced and earlier (in Book 1) there were mares that were (grade/group stakes) winners. There is money here all week for Books 1, 2 and 3. You will find foals selling for a couple hundred thousand (dollars). This is a sophisticated group of people who buy horses here.”
Woodford Thoroughbreds led all buyers Friday with purchases totaling $1.27 million for four horses.
American Pharoah, winner of the 2015 Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Keeneland, sired Friday’s two highest-priced weanlings.
The $575,000 colt is out of the multiple stakes-winning Harlan’s Holiday mare J Z Warrior, a half-sister to Grade 1 winner A Z Warrior, Grade 2 winner Jojo Warrior and Grade 3 winner E Z Warrior. He was consigned by Eaton Sales, agent for Grousemont Farm.
“He’s a very, very nice colt, first year for American Pharoah (weanlings), and we decided to take a shot,” Scott Dilworth said, referring to a group that intends to resell the colt at a future auction. “I thought he was the best American Pharoah weanling here, and he had a great female family – just a good combination. I thought he would be right in there (around that price). When you have a first-class horse, it should bring a first-class price.”
“We are delighted with the price,” Eaton’s Reiley McDonald said. “He sold very well and I wish the new owners luck. American Pharoah is ‘a talking horse.’ Every one I have seen has their daddy’s shoulder and their daddy’s hind end length. And apparently they all have the great disposition like their father. He is throwing just want you want to see and people are paying for it.”
The second high-priced American Pharoah weanling is a colt sold for $375,000 to Chestnut Valley. Paramount Sales, agent, consigned the son of the Giant’s Causeway mare Meerkat Miss, a half-sister to European champion Hold That Tiger and Belmont (G1) winner Editor’s Note.
Reiley McDonald signed the ticket for the colt, who he said will be resold at a future auction.
Two mares sold for $425,000 apiece on Friday. Spendthrift Farm paid the amount for Airs, a daughter of Harlan’s Holiday and a full sister to Japanese Group 2 winner Albiano in foal to Union Rags. Gainesway, agent, consigned the 3-year-old filly, whose dam, the Unbridled mare Antics, is a half-sister to UAE Horse of the Year Festival of Light; Grade 1 winners Acoma and Arch; and stakes winner Alisios.
“It’s a family that you’d always be delighted to have,” Spendthrift General Manager Ned Toffey said. “That’s as good as they get – (she’s) in foal to a really good stallion. We’re very happy with her. We’re happy to get into (her) family.”
Columbine Stable paid $425,000 for Indian Brava, a 5-year-old stakes-placed daughter of Bernardini in foal to Runhappy. Burleson Farms, agent, consigned the mare, a half-sister to stakes winner Way Striking from the family of Grade 1 winner By Land By Sea and Grade 3 winners Covey Trace and Ghost Hunter. She is out of stakes winner Indian Way, by Indian Charlie.
Paramount Sales was the session’s leading consignor, selling 26 horses for $3,154,000.
The November Sale continues through Saturday, Nov. 18, with all sessions beginning at 10 a.m. ET. The entire sale is streamed live at Keeneland.com.