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Johnny Murtagh and Man Of Iron after winning the Breeders Cup Marathon Santa Anita 6.11.09

Man Of Iron: his half-sister Magnificent Honour was top priced on Tuesday

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker  

Keeneland gross passes 2011 in just two days

FOR the second consecutive day, across-the-board gains wereposted during the Keeneland January horses of all ages sale in Kentucky on Tuesday.

In fact, the marketplace was so healthy that two days in to the four-daysale, the gross has already surpassed the total receipts of last year's auction, which spanned five days.

The cumulative gross of $30.1 million is up 54 per cent from the first two sessions of 2011. Last year, the entire sale grossed $25.2 million. The average stands at $61,838, a 24 per cent increase, while the median of $30,000 represents a 50 per cent increase.

Taken on its own, Tuesday's session posted an 82 per cent increase in gross, saw a 34 per cent increase in average, and witnessed a 35 per cent increase in median when compared to the second day of last year's sale.

"It was another strong day with increases in average and median prices and especially big increases in gross sales," said Walt Robertson, Keeneland's vice president of sales. "Buyers are going after quality mares and quality yearlings with equal gusto."

Leading the way on Tuesday was Magnificent Honour, who sold for $600,000. Blanford Bloodstock's Tom Goff bought the 10-year-old A.P. Indy mare on behalf of an undisclosed client.

Magnificent Honour is a sister to champion Rags to Riches and is out of the 2007 North American Broodmare of the Year Better Than Honour. She is also a half-sister to Belmont Stakes winner Jazil and Breeders' Cup Marathon scorer Man Of Iron.

Goff bought the mare for a European-based commercial breeder, but she will remain in the United States. Offered in foal to Man Of Iron's sire Giant's Causeway, Magnificent Honour is likely to visit that stallion again in 2012.

"The market has been holding up extremely well," Goff said. "I think when you have a catalog in which obvious broodmares and yearlings standout, we all fall over each other in to the ring. The obvious ones stick out like a sore thumb."

Paramount Sales, agent, consigned Magnificent Honour on behalf of Michael Daly.

The second-highest priced offering of the day was multiple Graded stakes winner Cozi Rosie, who sold as a broodmare prospect to Teruya Yoshida's Shadai Farm for $525,000.

Consigned by Lane's End, agent, the five-year-old Pleasantly Perfect mare will be sent to Japan.

Yearlings also fetched their fair share of money on Tuesday. A half-brother to multiple Grade 1 winner Sassy Image brought $490,000 from Rick Porter's Fox Hill Farm to become the sale's highest priced yearling. Out of the Hennessy mare Ideal Image, the Unbridled's Song colt was consigned by Havens Bloodstock Agency, agent.

"We actually thought we could come in and buy some mares, but it's been awfully tough to buy the good mares," said Fox Hill's Victoria Keith, who signed the ticket for the colt.

"Every time we set a price, (the bidding) went right by it. That's great for the market, great for racing, and great for breeders, but not so good for us."

The top-priced yearling filly of the sale also went through the ring during the second day of Book 1. By Empire Maker, the filly sold to Irish-based bloodstock agent Tim Hyde for $400,000.

Out of the multiple grade 1 winner Ticker Tape, the filly was bought as a pinhooking prospect and will likely be resold in September. She was consigned by Eaton Sales.

"It is supply and demand," said Eaton's Reiley McDonald. "There are only so many good foals. All of the good horseman are getting on the same foals, and they all are spending a lot of money."

The likely overall sale topper came on Monday when Topliner sold to Katsumi Yoshida's Northern Farm for $1.4 million. Consigned by Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency, agent, the Grade 1 producer was offered in foal to Medaglia D'Oro.

The Keeneland January sale concludes on Thursday.





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