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.
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 Keeneland.com.