Positive signs after Books 1 & 2 at Keeneland

Keeneland officials were encouraged by a number of positive indicators at the conclusion of the first week of selling at its signature September yearling sale.   

The volume of trade, depth of the buying bench and strong average and median prices after Books 1 & 2 has been heartening according to Keeneland Director of Sales Geoffrey Russell.  “We’re very pleased with where we are after six sessions,” Russell said on Friday evening.  “We still have eight more days to go, but to this point, it’s heartening.”

“The Book 1 select sessions on Sunday and Monday evening created a momentum that carried through to the four Book 2 sessions,” Russell said. “The clearance rate so far is 70% which is very good.  That means horses are being traded to a wide mix of buyers.”

Russell noted that not only are buyers present, but they are active and taking advantage of the current market conditions, a welcome trend he expects to see continue into the second week of trade.  “We welcome the new group of buyers coming in for Book 3 and beyond.  There still are many quality horses in this sale for them.”

Friday’s Day 6 session saw 217 yearlings sell for $23.29 million for an average of $107,362.  Silverton Hill Farm paid top price of $560,000 for a colt by Unbridled’s Song out of stakes winner Sweet Nanette (You and I).

“He was a very athletic horse by a top sire,” agent Ben McElroy said.  “His half-brother Sherriff Cogburn looks like a very promising two-year-old.  It’s a bit more than we wanted to give, but he’s a nice horse.”

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert signed the ticket for the next three lots on the leader board – a $500,000 Ghostzapper colt, a $470,000 Malibu Moon colt and a $420,000 Lemon Drop Kid colt.

Baffert purchased the Ghostzapper colt for Michael Pegram, Paul Weitman and Karl Watson which is the same partnership that campaigns G1 Preakness Stakes winner Lookin At Lucky.  “I love Ghostzapper.  I think he’s a great horse,” Baffert said.  “This colt is from a good family and he looks pretty exceptional.”

The colt is out of G2 Cotillion Handicap winner Skipping Around and is a half-brother to G1 Santa Maria Handicap winner Sugar Shake.

There being no session on Saturday, the September Sale will resume on Sunday, September 19 and continue through to Sunday, September 26.