The second session of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale continued to display steady trade during the North American auction calendar's most populous mixed event, led by the $750,000 racing or broodmare prospect Marquee Miss.
Tuesday's session kicked off Book 2 of the sale with 223 horses sold for revenues of $34,942,000. The average sale price finished at $156,691, the median closed at $125,000, and the buyback rate finished at 26 percent. Because last year's second session constituted the second half of the auction's select Book 1, year-over-year session figures are not comparable.
“I thought the bidding today was very strong and consistent,” said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland's director of sales operations. “There was good domestic participation at the top end, but we still had a fair bit of international buyers, Australia probably to the forefront. I thought the foals were very good, especially considering we had a lot of end-users ending up at the top.”
Russell said the early sessions of the Keeneland November sale are typically dominated at the top by broodmares and broodmare prospects, and the weanlings start to take over in the later books, but with three of the day's six horses sold for $500,000 or more being young horses, he said the competition in that segment has gotten off to a good start.
“The bidding on the foals, I thought was very competitive, and at times quite aggressive,” Russell said. “You could get the feeling that some of these bidders were trying to be bold so they could knock somebody out, and they banged into a wall, and that didn't work so they had to try something different.
“The weanling market has been very strong for the last couple years,” he continued. “The breeders are very savvy. They know they have to bring a good quality foal here. We did have quite a number of outs, and that factors into several things, but maybe one of the factors was they didn't x-ray right, so the ones that are here have already ticked one of the boxes, so it gives the buyers confidence to go on.”
After two sessions, a total of 343 horses brought $91,371,000 for an average price of $266,388 and a median of $180,000. The buyback rate finished at 27 percent.
The 5-year-old Cowboy Cal mare was offered as a racing or broodmare prospect, but WinStar's Elliott Walden said Marquee Miss would be retired to join the farm's broodmare band, with the decision on her first mating to be made later.
Marquee Miss retires with six wins in 34 starts for earnings of $373,516. Her debut start was a victory in the listed Arlington-Washington Lassie Stakes, and she later added listed scores in the Dixie Belle Stakes, Martha Washington Stakes, Holiday Inaugural Stakes and Flashy Lady Stakes. She also finished third in the G3 Bourbonette Oaks.
Ingrid Mason trained Marquee Miss for owner Rags Racing Stable. Bred in Kentucky by David Jacobs, Marquee Miss is out of the G3-placed Marquetry mare Marquee Delivery, whose four foals to race are all winners, including G1 winner Promises Fulfilled. She is also a full sister Marquee Cal Gal, who finished second to Marquee Miss in the 2016 Holiday Inaugural Stakes at Turfway Park.
“She's a beautiful mare,” Walden said. “We love Promises Fulfilled. I have a lot of respect for him, and I thought she was a nice fit for our broodmare band.”
Lane's End consigned Marquee Miss, as agent.
Best Lands Weanling Nyquist Colt For $600,000
After dominating the weanling buyer list on Sunday at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Selected Mixed Sale, Larry Best of OXO Equine came back for more on Tuesday, led by the $600,000 purchase of Hip 413 a first-crop Nyquist colt from the family of champion and current Keeneland November sale-topper Lady Eli.
The chestnut colt, born April 10, is out of the placed Pulpit mare Holy Place, is herself a half-sister to champion turf mare Lady Eli who sold to Hill 'n' Dale Farms on Monday for $4.2 million. The family also includes Canadian champion Spring in the Air, G1 winner G2 winners Tejano Run, Changing Ways, Pays to Dream, and More Royal, along with G3 winner Bizzy Caroline and Jacodra, and Jacodra's Devil.
“This is just a bet on good breeding,” Best said. “I loved Lady Eli, I liked Uncle Mo, therefore Nyquist. He has good conformation, the right size for the foaling date, it was worth a bet.”
Lane's End also consigned the session-topping weanling, as agent.
“That was more than what we were hoping for,” said Allaire Ryan of Lane's End. “It was a 'perfect storm' kind of windup for us, not to take any credit from him as an individual. He was super-well received in the barns and he garnered a lot of pre-sale activity, which we knew he would. We just lucked out in this situation, where several end-users bid on him and took him to that level.”
Proper catalog placement was a key part of Lane's End's strategy during this year's Keeneland September Yearling Sale, and it resulted in the consignment moving top-priced offerings throughout the auction's sessions. Ryan said they employed a similar strategy in November, but with a unique twist.
“We made a conscious decision not to put any weanlings in Book 1,” she said. “We cataloged some of our best pregnant mares instead and it's worked out well for us. In this case, I think it gave people a little more time to get to the weanlings and get them inspected, and that certainly helped.”
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