Plenty of talent left in sale’s later books
The Keeneland September yearling sale’s first two books, where major buyers vie for the jewels of the North American foal crop, will be in the books as of Sunday night. But there still will be 2,723 remaining yearlings cataloged to sell in Books 3 through 6, and the second week of the sale has often yielded diamonds in the rough for those willing to prospect for them.
Three 2017 Eclipse Award champions were graduates of Book 3 or beyond of the Keeneland September sale. West Coast, voted last year’s outstanding 3-year-old male, was purchased by Ben Glass as agent for Gary and Mary West for $425,000 out of Book 3 in the 2015 renewal of the sale.
Caledonia Road and Roy H are both Book 4 graduates. Caledonia Road, the Eclipse Award champion juvenile filly of last season, sold for $140,000 to Zoom and Fish Stable. Ciaran Dunne went to $115,000 for Roy H at the 2013 sale before pinhooking the eventual champion male sprinter.
Other recent standouts on the track who have sold during or beyond the sixth session of Keeneland September include Monomoy Girl ($100,000 in 2016), whose four straight Grade 1 victories are highlighted by the Kentucky Oaks; Kentucky Oaks runnerup Wonder Gadot ($80,000 in 2016), who went on to win two Canadian classics; Preakness Stakes winners Exaggerator ($110,000 in 2014) and Cloud Computing ($200,000 in 2015); and Grade/Group 1 winners Collected ($150,000 in 2014), Finley’sluckycharm ($77,000 in 2014), and Hoppertunity ($300,000 in 2012).
Book 1 of the Keeneland September sale wrapped with momentum, with 26 sevenfigure horses fueling the market that saw solid average and median prices of $363,780 and $300,000. Of additional importance for the second week of the sale, Book 1 posted an improved buyback rate of 28 percent in a highly selective atmosphere, indicating the presence of a middle market. With extremely competitive bidding at a variety of levels, agents said they expected the momentum to continue into Books 2, 3, and beyond.
“I think [the momentum] has to” continue, bloodstock agent Jacob West said. “There’s so many people that are walking around here that haven’t bought horses.”
Barbara Banke was both buying and selling yearlings via her Stonestreet Farm and was finding the former pursuit much harder than the latter.
“I think we brought a very good group this year, and the market is hot,” Banke said. “I’ve tried to purchase a few horses, too, you know. And I have not been all that successful. But I’m overall pleased. I’m just going to have to shop in Book 3.”
There is still plenty of sire power in the catalog for Book 3 and beyond, including representatives from a strong group of first-crop yearling sires. Triple Crown winner American Pharoah had four yearlings remaining after Book 2, including a half-sister to Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Hootenanny.
Yearlings by Curlin, Medaglia d’Oro, Into Mischief, Pioneerof the Nile, and Uncle Mo, all of whom had sevenfigure yearlings sold during Book 1, also remain for Week 2 shoppers.
West Coast, shown winning the 2017 Pennsylvania Derby, was sold from Book 3 of the 2015 Keeneland September auction.