The seventh session of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale Sept. 20 was accompanied by an Irish rain that continued throughout the day. The pavilion was full from front to back with an influx of new faces from the first week of selling. The buying bench was deep, seeing different buyers with Monday's gross receipts exceeding the session's 2020 figures by $15,579,000.
The day was topped by a Mo Town colt who sold for $450,000 to Ensemble Stables (Tom Amoss) bidding over the phone. The colt, consigned as Hip 2242 by Gainesway, agent, is out of the Bernardini mare Closing Move who has family ties to grade 2 winner Stanford , stakes winner Hedge Fund, and further back the mare Myth, producer of grade 1 winner and sire Johannesburg and a half sister to group 1 winner and sire Minardi, as well as grade 2 winner and sire Tale of the Cat .
Niall Brennan, signing for Klaravich Stable, jumped in at the close of the evening, going to $425,000 for the Good Magic colt consigned as Hip 2326 by Bedouin Bloodstock. The best Good Magic he had seen all week, Brennan was thrilled to get the excellent physical for his clients.
The sale of Hip 2163, who agent Ben McElroy called the spitting image of Kimari, is going to familiar connections in David Mowat. The Munnings filly was the "cherry on top," said Allaire Ryan, director of sales at Lane's End, which consigned the filly.
Ryan said, "The market is vibrant today, a lot of back ring action, great momentum. It's been a good sale today."
While consignor Endeavor Farm only brought one of three cataloged horses to the sale, the agency was happy they made the trip, getting the Lord Nelson filly consigned as Hip 2138 sold for $15,000 to Moon Suk Han.
"This is our third year selling at the Keeneland September sale. Going into this sale, we were a little nervous. We originally had three for the sale but withdrew two," said Endeavor's Laura Haag. "The strong market and other yearling sale results leading into September were encouraging. We crossed our fingers, and it worked out for us."
Figures continued to show marked improvement from last year's results boasting final figures for session session with 319 horses sold for final receipts of $27,330,000, an average price of $85,674, and a median price of $60,000 for the 371 horses through the ring. Fifty-two horses dud not meet their reserve for an RNA rate of 14%.
During the first day of selling in Book 4 in 2020, Keeneland reported 245 horses sold for gross receipts of $11,751,000, an average price of $47,963, and a median of $40,000 from 322 horses on offer. Seventy-seven horses failed to meet their reserve, representing an RNA rate of 23.9%
Cumulative figures after the first day of Book 4 this year, including post-sales, show 1,566 horses sold of the 1,984 on offer, grossing $315,790,000, averaging $201,654, and carrying a median of $142,500. The cumulative RNA rate is 21.5% for the 418 horses not sold.
The 2020 cumulative figures show 1,371 horses sold of the 1,980 offered, with gross receipts of $222,150,700, an average price of $162,036, and a median price of $100,000. Keeneland reports 609 horses failed to attain their reserve for an RNA rate of 30.7%
Keeneland continues to update its statistics with post-sale purchases, which can cause later changes in overall numbers.
Leading consignor by gross, Gainesway sold 27 horses of the 29 on offer for session seven. Their horses sold Monday for total receipts of $3,262,000, achieving an average price of $120,815, and a median price of $95,000. Cumulatively Taylor Made Sales Agency has remained the leading consignor by gross with receipts of $31,738,000 for 173 horses sold at an average price of $183,457.
Consignor Jody Huckabay of Elm Tree Farm, who will sell through the final session on Sept. 24, was pleased with Monday's activity while remaining realistic.
"I think it's a robust market; your horses have to vet and look the part," Huckabay said. "There are certainly people here to buy horses—both internationally and domestic."
Even with the rain, foot traffic in the barns was maintained.
"It's been more popular in the barns than I have seen in years, and horses are going past their reserves by a good bit, but we post reasonable reserves as well," said Huckabay. "I think from a seller's standpoint; it's a strong sale."
Local trainer Kenny McPeek finished Monday securing six horses from the first day of Book 4 for gross receipts of $950,000 to be the session's leading buyer. Purchases were from both ends of the spectrum in Hips 1926 and 2197, by Kantharos ($75,000 and $155,000), Hip 1946 by Practical Joke ($250,000), Hip 2121 by Collected ($90,000), Hip 2245 by Bolt d'Oro ($220,000), and Hip 2313 by Uncle Mo ($160,000).
"This is a great session for us. I'm glad some people left town, but I have some good clients, and there are still some good horses here; we work through them every day," McPeek said at the end of the day.
The competition on the grounds for excellent physicals at both ends of the price spectrum can still be felt.
"We were a little frustrated earlier in the sale, but I think the horses in this session are going to compete at a high level," McPeek said.
Not deterred by being shut out on in the first six sessions, McPeek said, "I started early in my career working Books 6 and 7 when Keeneland used to have a Book 7, so I'm used to working the backend and working it all the way through.
"I have clients that are willing to play in that level too, so we will be around for a few more days. There were still some good physicals. We were able to pinpoint the ones that will work for us. It was a good day and made up for some frustrating days."
Book 4 continues Sept. 21 with the second day of selling at 10 a.m. ET, with Hips 2340-2751 for Session 8.