Brisk commerce drove double-digit increases in gross sales and average and median prices during Friday's fourth session of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale. The session was topped by the sale of the 5-year-old Tapit mare Tension in foal to Curlin for $750,000 to Woodford Thoroughbreds and a weanling colt from the first crop of American Pharoah for $575,000 to Scott and Evan Dilworth.
During the session, the second of the two-day Book 2, Keeneland sold 230 horses for a total of $28,327,000, marking a 33.11 percent increase in gross sales from the fourth session last year when 220 horses brought $21,280,500. The average of $123,161 rose 27.32 percent from $96,730 in 2016. The median of $90,000 was up 20 percent from last year's $75,000.
“The figures were very positive today,” Keeneland Director of Sales Operations Geoffrey Russell said. “The most popular horses were young, good-looking mares that were well covered. Obviously the American Pharoah foal was of exceptional quality and was rewarded. The entire day from start to finish had great buzz and good bidding. Book 2 was a success. On to Book 3.”
Through the first four days of the sale, Keeneland sold 660 horses for $144,097,000, a 7.53 decrease from $155,833,500 for 695 horses sold during through the corresponding period in 2016. The average of $218,329 was 2.63 percent below last year's $224,221, while the median of $130,000 was
4 percent above $125,000 in 2016.
Hill ‘n' Dale Sales Agency, agent, consigned Tension, whose dam is the multiple Grade 1 winner Tough Tiz's Sis, by Tiznow. Tension is a half-sister to Grade 2 winner Tiz Midnight.
“There wasn't much not to like about her,” Woodford Thoroughbreds Vice President Matt Lyons said. “She is a beautiful mare, maybe one of the best-looking mares in the whole sale, and in foal to Curlin, who has become a very important sire. When the pretty ones walk in that look like that and they're in foal to a top sire, you can't say you expect to pay that much, but you can't be surprised either.
“We knew sitting around here tonight that there were still people here waiting the same as we were, so we knew (bidding) was going to be competitive. The market is strong at the very top; the (weanlings) are bringing a lot of money; there's a lot of confidence around here. People feel that the economy is going the right way and they're ready to spend money. It's great for our business; hopefully, it continues into next year's sales and we can get on a bit of a roll here.”
“The perfect recipe: young mare, first service, in foal to Curlin, by Tapit and absolutely gorgeous,” John G. Sikura of Hill ‘n' Dale said. “She is a standout mare and exceeded expectations. Her reserve was very low. When you have the best, you get extra. That is the reality. She was certainly a mare on everybody's list.
“Book 2 is a great place for her to stand out. She is unraced and earlier (in Book 1) there were mares that were (grade/group stakes) winners. There is money here all week for Books 1, 2 and 3. You will find foals selling for a couple hundred thousand (dollars). This is a sophisticated group of people who buy horses here.”