Opening Session of Keeneland Book 4 Stays Strong

A strong Sept. 19 opening session ushered in Book 4 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, led by a $600,000 standout son of Candy Ride , selling to Kim Lloyd, agent for Talla Racing. Elm Tree Farm (Mr. and Mrs. Jody Huckabay), agent for Stonestreet Bred & Raised, consigned the colt as Hip 2214.

The opening session of Book 4 saw 314 horses change hands of the 373 through the ring for gross receipts of $27,544,000. Suitable for an average price of $87,720 and a median of $67,500. Fifty-nine horses failed to meet their reserve to represent an RNA rate of 15.8%.

During the seventh session in 2021, Keeneland recorded 334 horses sold of the 371 on offer for gross receipts of $27,967,500, at an average of $83,735 and a median of $60,000. Thirty-seven horses failed to meet their reserve, representing an RNA rate of 9.9%.

Huckabay’s hopes of selling the colt out of a later session, where he could shine, were realized when the colt topped session 7. Out of the Maclean’s Music mare Essentially, a half sister to a pair of stakes winners, including 2004 Darley Alcibiades and Golden Rod stakes (both G2) winner Runway Model dam of multiple grade 1 winners McKinzie .

Lloyd signed the ticket on behalf of Talla Racing and said they plan to eventually send the bay colt to Southern California-based trainer John Sadler.

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“Mike Talla—Talla Racing—bought him, and we’re very excited about it,” Lloyd said. “I told Mike and my friend John Moynihan that he’s the best young Candy Ride I’ve seen… I was saying to them, ‘This is a Book 1 horse in Book 4.’ You never see that. So it’s very exciting.”

Photo: Corrie McCroskey

Kim Lloyd

Unplaced in two starts, Essentially is out of two-time stakes winner Ticket to Houston, by Houston. Essentially also is a half sister to grade 3-placed Elena Strikes and stakes-placed Texas Kitty dam of grade 3 winner Saham . Another half sister, Mama Tia, is the dam of grade 3 winner Southern Honey stakes winner Calithirty Sevenand stakes-placed Shangroyal .

The Book 4 placement did not slow the steady flow of onlookers interested in the colt.

“He’s been a rock star here at the sale. Everyone asked why he was back so far, and it was just that we thought that if we moved him back in the sale, he could be a rock star, and he was,” Huckabay said. “The sale was spotty early for us, but the past two books have been great.”

The Maverick Racing/Siena Farm partnership made three purchases Monday for gross receipts of $825,000, at an average price of $275,000 to be the day’s leading buyer.

Trainer Kenny McPeek purchased five yearlings during session 7 to be the second leading buyer by gross. His purchases included: colts by Runhappy (Hip 2103) oath Mendelssohn (Hip 2277) and three fillies, a filly by Violence (Hip 2142), Army Mule (Hip 2163), oath Collected (Hip 2216), for gross receipts of $800,000 at an average price of $160,000.

Kenny McPeek at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale on Sept.  12, 2022, at Keeneland in Lexington, KY.
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Kenny McPeek at the sale

“We didn’t do a lot of business in Book 1 and a little bit in Book 2, but I have a lot of good clients that have purchased since. We have been buying about three daily, and it’s been good, the ones that I really liked it,” McPeek said. “I got some for what I thought was a reasonable value. Now, as we are getting into these later sessions, the horses I’m fond of, I’m finding it’s even easier to get for my clients.”

McPeek has purchased 14 horses for a running gross of $2,290,000 so far.

“I don’t have a specific number, and I’m sticking to the ones I like, pass the vet, and have the physicals that grab me,” McPeek said. “We’re trying to pick out what I think are the better ones on those particular days, and hopefully, we are right.”

During the past seven days of selling, 1,622 horses have sold of the 2,008 to go under the hammer for gross receipts of $365,280,000. An average price of $225,203 was recorded, and a median of $155,000. Three hundred and eighty-six horses have failed to meet their reserve to represent an RNA rate of 19.2%.

Year-on-year to this point, 1,592 horses were sold of the 1,984 on offer for recorded gross receipts of $317,572,500. Suitable for an average of $199,480 and a median price of $140,000. Three hundred ninety-two horses failed to meet their reserve to represent an RNA rate of 19.7%.

Gainesway closed out the seventh session selling 27 horses for gross receipts of $2,827,000, good for an average price of $104,704, to be the session’s leading consignor by gross.

“I think the market is excellent; it’s strong, as the whole sale has been. I was worried about the middle end of the market coming in because I don’t think that end has been great so far (middle to lower end), Reiley McDonald of Eaton Sales commented. “But it has definitely filled in today; there is a new group (of buyers) here, and there will be another wave around Book 5 at the end of the week.”

Book 4 continues tomorrow, starting at 10 am, with Hips 2370 – 2780 slated to walk across the ring. As of Monday evening, there were 47 withdrawn entries from session 8.

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