Fillies highlight first day of Keeneland sale

Lexington, KY (September 8, 2008) – Fillies – led by a daughter of A.P. Indy who brought a final bid of $3.1 million – stole the spotlight on Monday as Keeneland opened its 2008 September Yearling Sale.

Fillies brought the day’s four top prices. In addition to the A.P. Indy filly, two others – by Unbridled’s Song and Empire Maker – each brought $1.7 million, the second-highest prices of the day. Celebrity Cat, a filly by Storm Cat, sold for $1.2 million.

John Ferguson, on behalf of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, purchased the A.P. Indy and Unbridled’s Song fillies. Consigned by Gainesway, agent for Jess Jackson’s Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC, the A.P. Indy filly is out of the graded stakes-winning mare Chimichurri, by Elusive Quality

“Sheikh Mohammed saw her earlier today and thought she was a queen,” said Ferguson. “A.P. Indy is a sensational sire and Chimichurri is a very high class mare. This filly is lovely; she oozes class, she has great shape, exceptional conformation, and looks like a real athlete. Mr. Jackson deserves to be congratulated. It’s very hard to breed fillies to look like that.”

Ferguson also paid $1.7 million for a half-sister by Unbridled’s Song to champion sprinter and freshman sire Speightstown. Consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent for Aaron and Marie Jones, the filly is out of the stakes-winning Storm Cat mare Silken Cat.

Ferguson, as agent for Sheikh Mohammed, was the day’s leading buyer, purchasing nine yearlings for $8,825,000.

Jon Kelly went to $1.7 million for the Empire Maker filly, offered by Middlebrook Farm, agent. The filly is out of stakes winner Aurora, by Danzig, and a half-sister to four stakes winners, including Arch and Festival of Light.

Gross receipts for Monday totaled $56,047,000, down 16.8 percent from the $67,395,000 posted for last year’s opening day. The session average of $363,942 was down 7.7 percent from $394,123 recorded in 2007, while the median of $300,000 remained the same. A total of 154 horses were sold this year compared to 171 in 2007. Five yearlings brought $1 million or more, compared to 11 million-dollar yearlings on opening day last year.

“I thought it was a very consistent and solid sale throughout,” said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s director of sales. “The world is a totally different place than it was a year ago. Based on the current economic climate, I think the results were very favorable today.”

Celebrity Cat, a filly by Storm Cat out of multiple Grade 1 stakes winner Starrer, was purchased for $1.2 million by John Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Bloodstock. The filly was consigned by Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, agent.

Briggs and Cromartie Bloodstock Inc., agent, bought the session’s highest-priced colt, paying $1 million for a son of Giant’s Causeway. Consigned by Idle Hour Farm, agent, the colt is out of multiple Grade 1 stakes winner Voodoo Dancer, by Kingmambo.

Earlier in the session, the first foal of three-time champion Azeri, a colt by A.P. Indy named Vallenzeri, failed to meet his reserve and was bought back for $7.7 million. The colt was consigned by Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, as agent for Michael Paulson.

Keeneland’s September Yearling Sale continues through Tuesday, September 23. There is no sale Friday, September 12. Sessions begin at 10 a.m. daily.