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Keeneland breeze up closes on a low note

 Year  Cat  Off  Sold  % sold  Aggregate ($)  Average  Median
 2009  216  117  66  56  11,805,000  178,864  117,500
 2008  191  125  77  62  16,299,000  211,675  150,000

KEENELAND'S April Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale closed in Lexington, Kentucky on Tuesday night with figures down across the board; par for the course in this troubled economy. Yet the two-day auction, the last of the five major US breeze-up sales of the season, was unique in some respects.

The sale stood apart statistically, first of all, because of the extremely high number of withdrawals from the catalogue, compounded by a high rate of buybacks. At Keeneland, these figures were worse than at any of the previous two-year-old sales.

Vendors pulled 99 horses out before the sale - a full 45 per cent of the catalogue. In the end, the 66 horses they sold represented only 31 per cent of the catalogue and 56 per cent of the lots offered, which is the official clearance rate.

The second standout statistic from Keeneland was that the declines in aggregate, average, and median were not as steep as those at the earlier sales, which experienced general falls of 30 per cent in average and median prices compared to last year's sales, and drops of anywhere from 25 to 50 per cent in aggregate.

In Lexington, the average for the two-day sale fell by 16 per cent, the median by 22 per cent, and the aggregate by 28 per cent. Those figures look promising, but they come from such a small group of numbers - only 66 horses sold - that the average and aggregate were boosted unduly by Monday's $1.9 million sale-topper. Moreover, the relativelyshallow declines must be viewed in light of the high number of withdrawals and buybacks.

"This is where the thoroughbred market is at the moment," said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland's director of sales. "It's a totally different world from this time last year. It's a totally different world from last September [when many of the breeze-up horses were bought]."

Tuesday's second and closing session saw an aggregate of $4,920,000 for 35 horses sold, down 46 per cent from last year's second session. The average of $140,571 fell by 34 per cent compared to last year, while the median of $110,000 lost 15 per cent.

The session was led by a $475,000 colt by Smart Strike, out of the Belong To Me mare Private Feeling. The colt, like Monday's sale-topper, was purchased by California trainer Bob Baffert, although this time Baffert's client was a partnership of longtime client Mike Pegram plus Paul Weitman and Karl Watson.

Consigned by Jerry Bailey sales agency, the colt had breezed a furlong in 10sec before the sale. "I wasn’t going to go home without him," Baffert said. "He worked well and he’s a good mover."

On Monday Baffert purchased the sale-topper, a colt who is the first foal of Horse of the Year Azeri, by A.P. Indy, for Kaleem Shah. The trainer also paid $300,000 for a Dixie Union colt on behalf of Hal Earnhardt.

Tuesday's second highest price of $440,000 was also for a colt, this one by first-season sireRock Hard Ten. Centennial Farms bought the colt from the Leprechaun Racing consignment.

"We’re always looking for a classic colt," said Centennial President DonaldLittle jnr.

The impression was that colts with Classic potential were the strongest commodity at the auction. However, fillies fared no worse in terms of withdrawals or buybacks, and in fact there was a slightly higher percentage of fillies sold than of fillies catalogued.

 

 

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TOP TEN

STALLION £ TOTAL PRIZE
Galileo £7,253,742
Dark Angel £2,146,821
Dubawi £2,076,178
Kodiac £1,668,157
Nathaniel £1,528,047
Acclamation £1,474,007
Iffraaj £1,444,247
Sea The Stars £1,411,233
Frankel £1,318,633
Pour Moi £1,283,277