Young Mares Dominate Keeneland's Wednesday Session

Lexington, KY (January 9, 2008) – Young mares with proven racing ability brought top dollar during Wednesday’s session of Keeneland’s January Horses of All Ages Sale.

The stakes-winning Royal Alchemist (GB), offered as a racing or broodmare prospect, sold for $330,000, the session’s highest price, to Richard Galpin’s Newmarket International. A six-year-old mare by Kingsinger out of Pure Gold, by Dilum, Royal Alchemist is from the family of English Two Thousand Guineas (G1) winner Don’t Forget Me.

On Wednesday Keeneland sold 233 horses for $7,772,400, down 20 percent from a year ago when 255 horses brought $9,709,800. Average price for the day of $33,358 dipped 12.4 percent over last year’s comparable average of $38,078. The median price of $20,000 was down 13 percent from the $23,000 posted in 2007.

Following three days of selling, 667 horses have grossed $56,186,500, up 8.5 percent from last year’s gross of $51,792,000 for the corresponding period. The average of $84,238 represents a 19.2 percent increase over $70,658 in 2007. The median of $40,000 remained unchanged from last year.

“As we move from Book 1 to Book 2, the quality goes down a bit. I was a little disappointed with the not sold rate (22.8 percent), but that’s an indication of where the market is right now,” said Keeneland Director of Sales Geoffrey Russell.

“People are looking for horses at the top of their market level, and if they don’t find them, they just don’t buy,” he added. “We have an oversupply of horses and not enough at the level that people want to buy.”

Ned Toffey, acting on behalf of B. Wayne Hughes, bid the day’s second-highest price of $320,000 to acquire Jill Robin L, in foal to Bluegrass Cat. The six-year-old Precocity mare recorded a win in the Bonnie Miss Stakes (G2) and a third-place finish in the Davona Dale Stakes (G2) during her racing career.

“She has a lot of (racing) ability and a good-looking foal at the sale,” said Toffey, adding that the mare will join the broodmare band at Hughes’ Spendthrift Farm, where he is general manager. Jill Robin L’s first foal, a yearling colt by Successful Appeal, sold immediately afterward for $80,000 to Lobo Farm.

Getcozywithkaylee, a graded stakes-placed mare by Zafarrancho (Arg), sold in foal to First Samurai, brought a final bid of $205,000 from Frank Stronach’s Adena Springs. Out of the Valid Appeal mare Cozily, Getcozywithkaylee is from the family of Hollywood Derby (G1) winner Steve’s Friend and Bing Crosby Handicap (G2) winner Christmas Boy.

The day’s top-priced mares – Royal Alchemist, Jill Robin L and Getcozywithkaylee – were each consigned by Bluewater Sales LLC, agent.

Wednesday’s session also featured the sale of the final horse consigned by 86-year-old Robert E. Courtney Sr., of Crestfield Farm, who announced his retirement from the industry last year. A round of applause from those seated in the pavilion followed the sale of the Maria’s Mon filly, purchased by Hy Pointe for $29,000. Courtney’s son, Robert Jr., will continue his family’s Thoroughbred sales operations.

“Mr. Courtney is truly a jewel and we will miss him at Keeneland,” Russell said. “He was one of the first people I met when I came to this country, and he has always been kind enough to offer me sage advice. He is a wonderful man.”

The January Sale continues through Sunday, January 13. Sessions begin at 10:00 a.m. daily.