Keeneland January Sale
Keeneland January Sale

Session-topper 13-year-old mare Life Happened (Stravinsky) / Keeneland (p)


6 - 9 January 2013

Despite the absence of a seven-figure horse and fewer top-end mares, yesterday’s opening session of the Keeneland January Horses of All Ages Sale fared well compared to last year’s opener, and most everyone agreed it was a lively afternoon of trading on a bitterly cold day in Lexington.

The session 1 average was $59,116, down 22.5% from 2013, while the median of $35,000 was up 16.7%. The RNA rate was a good 23.9%; last year it was 34.1%.

“I think it’s been good,” said Taylor Made’s Frank Taylor. “I’ve been pleased with the prices. If you bring quality up there, you’re going to be rewarded.”

The session was topped by the 13-year-old mare Life Happened (Stravinsky), dam of the current graded winners Vyjack (Into Mischief) and Tepin (Bernstein), who sold to Alex Solis II and Jason Litt for $750,000. Litt signed the winning ticket on behalf of LNJ Foxwoods. Select Sales sold the mare, in foal to the late Harlan’s Holiday, as Hip 36.

Philip Blake purchased the sesson’s top-priced short yearling, a Kitten’s Joy half-brother to Stakes Winner Ha Ha Tonka (Distorted Humor), for $235,000. Noel Murphy’sCastle Park Farm consigned the youngster as Hip 192.

Session figures were particularly impressive when comparing how the top end of the market year-over-year. In 2013, the session’s top three horses - the $1.3 million topper Nereid (Rock Hard Ten), the $800,000 Potesta (Macho Uno) and the $725,000 Princess Arabella (Any Given Saturday) - grossed $2,825,000. Yesterday, the top three horses - Life Happened, the $425,000 Louvakhova (Maria’s Mon) and the $400,000 Unbridled Belle (Broken Vow) - grossed $1,575,000.

Extending it further, only the aforementioned three horses made in excess of $300,000 yesterday, compared to 14 who reached or eclipsed the mark a year ago. Thirty seven horses made six figures in session one - the same as last year. Taken together, the figures indicate great depth in the middle and lower segments of the marketplace.

“This sale is strong as hell,” confirmed Select’s Carrie Brogden. “It seems most of these mares, from what I appraised them at last year, are bringing 40-50% more. That’s the middle-market mares; they’re bringing way more than I thought that would. There’s a huge shortage of pregnant mares. Expenses are still really high, but at least the sale prices are up and hopefully we can ride that wave. I think the momentum will continue until we start overbreeding again. Until then, it’s party and champagne.”

Keeneland officials weren’t breaking out the bubbly yet, but were satisfied with the day’s results. “From start to finish, there was good competitive bidding, especially on yearlings,” said Director of Sales Geoffrey Russell.

Extracts from Thoroughbred Daily News