8 - 21 September 2014

Spurred by a half-dozen seven-figure horses, including two that each made $2.2 million, the fourth and final session of Keeneland September’s Book 1 concluded with across-the-board gains. All week, there was the feeling that September was in the midst of a very strong sale, with a lot of action in the $400,000 to $800,000 range, while the very top of the market was a little light. That changed yesterday, as two separate flurries-one early and one late in the day gave Keeneland almost as many million-dollar horses as the other three days combined. There were seven million-dollar horses during the first three days that grossed a total of $8.75 million. Yesterday’s group of six grossed $9.55 million.

Leading the way were colts by two of North Americas hottest sires. War Front half-brother to Group One Stakes winner, Contested (Ghostzapper) from the draft of Claiborne Farm, sold to Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier for $2.2 million. A few hours later, a Tapit half-brother to GI Breeders Cup Juvenile winner New Years Day (Street Cry), sold to Shadwell for the same amount. Clearsky bred and consigned the Tapit. In all, there have been 13 horses to eclipse the seven figure mark in 2014. Last year, there were 18 horses that made $1 million or higher. More revealing, perhaps, is that last year, 48 horses made $500,000 or more. This year, 63 horses did a 31% increase. Yesterday’s strong session, mixed with continued strength in the middle and upper-middle segments of the market, left the Book 1 average at $300,535. That’s up 7% from last year. The median stands at $240,000, up 15.7%. In all, 473 head sold for $142,153,000.

Not surprisingly, yesterday’s session average was the highest of any session this week - $324,883 - which is up 10.2% from last year’s corresponding session. “The median of $225,000 was up 7.1%, while the RNA rate was a very good 22.9% from 38 not sold. It was a good day - a very good day”, said Keeneland Director of Sales Geoffrey Russell. “What was good about today, and Book 1 in general, was that it’s good to see the next generation coming up”. The two Cleary boys taking over the farm and coming in and having a sale-topper; Walker Hancock taking over Claiborne and having a sale topper; Arthur Hancock taking over Stone Farm and have two million-dollar horses; Braxton Lynch, another generation coming forward, had a million-dollar horse. At the end of Book 1, Lanes End led all consignors with 48 horses sold for $17,380,000, an average of $362,083. Close behind was Taylor Made, with 62 sold for $16,412,000, an average of $264,710. Book 1’s leading buyer was John Ferguson, who signed for 20 horses for $7.3 million. Dominating the sire list by gross and average was Gainesway’s Tapit, who saw 32 yearlings sell for $20,890,000 - an average of $652,813. Claiborne’s War Front was next best by average, with 14 averaging $545,000.

“A Tapit and War Front are the #1 and #2 most sought-after sires in North America at the moment”, said Russell. “We had a lot of Tapits in the sale, but everybody wanted one, and there was high competition for them. We had a good friend who was determined to buy a Tapit filly and was getting exceedingly frustrated. His horses are performing at the highest level at the race track, and he worked hard to get there.”

Both Claiborne and Gainesway have worked very hard, and both horses have earned their position, starting at a lower stud fee and working their way up. With operations like Darley, Coolmore, Shadwell, Moyglare, and Flaxman Stables participating. Russell said that the death of the American Thoroughbred - from an international perspective - has been greatly exaggerated. “The American female family is very important for the international market, and they strive for it, he said. It’s the American horse that has made Europe. Without buying here in the 1980’s and 90’s, they wouldn’t be where they are today,” he concluded.

Keeneland September Yearling Sale
Day 5 Top Lots

Hip Sex Sire Dam Price ($)
680 Colt War Front Gold Vault 2,200,000
749 Colt Tapit Justwhistledixie 2,200,000
589 Filly Medaglia d'Oro Dowry 1,500,000
595 Colt Tiznow Dream Supreme 1,350,000
593 Colt Tapit Dream Rush 1,200,000
652 Colt Tapit Foxy Danseur 1,100,000
748 Colt Tapit Justenufftime 850,000
738 Filly Tapit Jade Queen 775,000
704 Filly Tapit Heat Lightning 750,000
615 Colt Distorted Humor Emptythetill 625,000
739 Filly Tapit Jera 600,000

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News