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Keeneland’s Sunday yearling sale starts Book Three; Quality Road yearling brings $710,000

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A colt by Quality Road sold for $710,000 to lead the Sunday session of Keeneland’s September Yearling Sale.

Mark Reid, managing partner for Walnut Green, purchased the session-topper who is out of the Dehere mare Paris Notion and a half-brother to the stakes-placed Pointsman. Consigned by Lane’s End, agent, the colt is from the family of Grade 1 winners Fabulous Notion, Fabulously Fast and Cacoethes.

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The price is the highest recorded in Book 3 since 2007 when J.J. Pletcher, agent, paid $1 million for a colt by Johannesburg out of the Quiet American mare American Jewel.

“I liked everything about him,” Reid said. “Beautifully-framed colt that we think will mature. It’s getting late for us and we wanted to get one bought and he fit the bill.”

The colt was bred by Noreen O’Neill’s Ann Marie Farm of Paris, Ky., and represented the farm’s highest-priced sale at auction.

“I wasn’t expecting that,” O’Neill said. “I said, ‘Are you sure we brought the right horse?’ We’re just dumbfounded. The horse was beautiful. We handled him right. He did everything right, never got excited. I’m glad he went to a good home. I really can’t believe it. I’m just so happy.”

On Sunday, the first day of the Book 3 portion of the sale, a total of 266 yearlings sold for $19,618,000, down 7.3 percent from the corresponding session last year when 273 horses grossed $21,172,000. The average of $73,752 decreased 4.9 percent from $77,553 in 2014. The median of $55,000 was down 21.4 percent from last year’s $70,000.

After six sessions, Keeneland has sold 1,234 horses sold for $224,536,000, down slightly when compared to last year’s seven-day gross of $227,389,500 for 1,290 horses. The cumulative average of $181,958 increased 3.2 percent from $176,271 in 2014. The median rose 8.3 percent, from $120,000 to $130,000.

“It was very exciting to see (a top price of $710,000),” Keeneland Director of Sales Geoffrey Russell said. “A breakout horse is a breakout horse. It can happen in any session and this one happened to come at the start of Book 3. It shows there is still plenty of money around here if the right horse shows up.

“It was kind of a transitional day of people arriving and people leaving,” Russell added. “It started off very slow, gathered momentum during the afternoon and finished up very well. There is a lot of traffic and a lot of new people starting to show up. We hope to get out of the gates better tomorrow.”

Lane’s End, as agent for Dixiana Farms, also consigned the day’s second-highest priced yearling, a colt by Twirling Candy sold to Mike Ryan, agent, for $320,000.

Out of the stakes-placed Jump Start mare Early Vintage, the colt is a half-brother to Canadian stakes winner Conquest Top Gun and from the family of Grade 2 winner Concord Point.

“He was one of my picks of the day, a lovely horse,” Ryan said. “A lot of quality, great mind, a very smooth horse. I couldn’t find a hole in him. We had to stretch (bid more money than planned) on him; somebody else wanted him pretty bad also.”

Ryan was the session’s leading buyer, purchasing four horses for $790,000.

Next Question Enterprises paid the session’s third-highest price of $310,000 for a colt from the first crop of Union Rags. Out of the winning Pulpit mare Shimmer, the colt is a half-brother to the graded stakes-placed Sister Moon. He was consigned by Eaton Sales, agent.

At $280,000, the top-priced filly on Sunday was a daughter of Quality Road purchased by Ben McElroy Equine, agent. Consigned by Lane’s End, agent, the filly is the first foal from the Bernardini mare Lemon Bay, and from the family of Grade 2 winners Sweet Fervor and Concerto.

Lane’s End Farm was the day’s leading consignor, selling 29 horses for $3,765,000.

The September Sale continues through Saturday, Sept. 26. Sessions begin at 10 a.m. ET. The entire sale is streamed live at Keeneland.com.

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