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Midday and Tom Queally win the Filly and Mares turf Santa Anita 6.11.09

Midday: her Dansili half-sister, Spring Season, is offered in foal to Lemon Drop Kid by Denali Stud as lot 87

  PICTURE: EDWARD WHITAKER  

 

Chance for Keeneland to offer hope of recovery

VENDORS can't be blamed for approaching this year's Keeneland November Sale, which starts on Tuesday in Lexington, Kentucky, with a degree of trepidation.

Many took a battering at the company's September Yearling Sale, where gross receipts plummeted by 41.5 per cent to $191,859,200. And although last year's November was staged during the depths of the crash and consequently suffered its own alarming correction, results from the recent OBS Fall Mixed Sale in Florida, where only 60 per cent of horses changed hands, suggest that another downturn maybe on the way.

Unsurprisingly, vendors have not been so forthcoming with their entries this year - at 4,702 lots, this year's sale contains over 1,000 fewer entries than last year. And it is a deficit which would be even greater if Overbrook Farm and Windfields Farm were not dispersing their stock.

"People, understandably, aren't selling unless they have to," says agent Lincoln Collins of Kern/Lillingston Association. "The sale is anchored by the Overbrook dispersal, which will attract any serious buyer, but apart from that, there are not as many jewels in the catalogue as perhaps in previous years. Horses with the right credentials will probably sell well but after a difficult September Sale, it is going to be a real test of the resolve of buyers."

Seasoned consignor Patricia Clark, who will offer 12 horses starting from Thursday. is also viewing this sale with caution. She says: "I am feeling some trepidation but hope I'm wrong. Obviously, the main factor is the economy but in Kentucky there is also the uncertainty regarding racing and the expanded gambling issues.

"People are buying with considerations - they must be good,athletic individuals and they must represent excellent value. But I think were it not for the large purses in many parts of the country holding up this middle end of the market, the situation would be even worse. "

She adds: "If there is a bright spot in this, it is that it takes the focus off breeding for the marketplace and on to breeding an athlete that can compete. This did not start out as an 'industry', after all, but as a sport."

This season has once again seen November graduates thrive on the track, led by Grade 1 winners Forever Together, Kodiak Kowboy and Mi Sueno, who was the sale-topping weanling of 2007 at $1.7m.

That, alongside glimpses of worldwide recovery, offers grounds for optimism, according to Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland's director of sales. He says: "There are positive signs emerging on both macro and industry levels. There are certain segments of the global market where recovery is underway in earnest. As such, we anticipate greater international participation based on the strength of certain currencies against the American dollar and keen interest in recent overseas sales."

At the time of writing, the 493-strong Book 1 has already been marred by 101 withdrawals. But there are still plenty of well known names to entice buyers including several who are already familiar with the Keeneland ring.

US Horse of the Year Azeri (148) was bought back by the Allen E. Paulson Living Trust in January for $4.4m, four months after her first foal by A P Indy had been retained for a record $7.7m. He later topped the Keeneland April Sale at $1.9m.

Glint In Her Eye (208), a half-sister to Deep Impact and the dam of Jeremy, sold at this sale for $1.05m to Federico Barberini in 2005, while El Nafis (194), dam of 1,000 Guineas third Nasheej, is likely to command more than the $38,000 she sold for in 2002.

SpringSeason (87) owns a notable update as a half-sister to Midday, who defeated Forever Together to take the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf on Friday. Forever Together's dam, Constant Companion, sells as lot 410.

There is arguably more of an European flavour than usual with mares in foal to Cape Cross, Danehill Dancer, Galileo, Medicean and Raven's Pass. Cheveley Park Stakes runner-up Dhanyata (185) is one of two in foal to the latter while Danehill Dancer's coverings include Loves OnlyMe (244), a half-sister to Rumplestiltskin. The stallion's champion daughter Callwood Dancer is catalogued as lot 161.

ravens pass june 08

Group 1-placed Dhanyata (185) is in foal to Raven's Pass (above)

  PICTURE: EDWARD WHITAKER  

Others with European appeal include a Stormy Atlantic half-sister to David Junior (37), a Mr Greeley daughter of Catschascatchcan (396), Dick Turpin's half-sister Cheerily (168), and the popular sprinter Sierra Vista(77). The daughter of Atraf is one of 326 lots offered by Adena Springs, 22 of whom will be sold with southern hemisphere-bred foals by their side.

Adding further international flavour is a daughter of the late champion Japanese sire Agnes Tachyon (417).

The Hess Express (327), dam of Grade 1 winner Bullsbay, is the only mare catalogued with three current stakes performers under her name.

Vendors are also increasingly exploiting this sale as an arena to sell horses in training, none more so than WinStar Farm, who will send through this season's Santa Anita Derby third Mr Hot Stuff (2858) in Book 4.

Shadwell has catalogued the ex-Italian Per Incanto (3294) (3296) while ItalianGroup 1 winner Sudan is catalogued as lot 4078.

The Grade 3-winning stallions David Copperfield (2878) and Omega Code (3684) are also up for grabs.


Overbrook and Windfields dispersals offer opportunity

CHAMPIONS Flanders (439), her daughter Surfside (316) and Golden Attraction (455) head the 158 horses hailing from the Overbrook Farm dispersal, which is being handled on behalf of W. T. Young's family by Eaton Sales.

Flanders and Surfside will sell alongside their weanling fillies by Bernardini (440) and Giant's Causeway (317) while Steady Cat, dam of Jump Start, will sell alongside her colt by Bernardini as lot 307.

The draft also offers the opportunity to tap into several well known Juddmonte families as a result of Storm Cat foal shares between the two operations.

The dispersal of Windfields Farm, which was developed into Canada's leading thoroughbred operation by E. P. Taylor and bred Northern Dancer, numbers 15 horses led by Sweet And Careless (318), the dam of runaway Alabama Stakes heroine Careless Jewel, who is back in foal to that filly's sire Tapit.


FIVE-YEAR NOVEMBER HISTORY

 Year  No. sold  Aggregate ($)  Average ($)
 2008  3,019  185,552,300  61,462
 2007  3,381  340,877,200  100,821
 2006  3,146  313,798,800  99,745
 2005  2,816  289,602,900  102,842
 2004  2,873  279,680,200  97,348

 

 

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TOP TEN

STALLION £ TOTAL PRIZE
Galileo £7,085,312
Dark Angel £2,111,243
Dubawi £2,004,572
Kodiac £1,610,887
Nathaniel £1,509,560
Acclamation £1,424,770
Iffraaj £1,421,893
Sea The Stars £1,402,244
Pour Moi £1,282,941
Invincible Spirit £1,253,531