After a short respite to catch their respective breathes on Friday, Keeneland cranked its annual sales-athon back up on Saturday.  And, it didn’t show any signs of exhaustion. Not yet, any way. On Saturday, alone, the premier sales agency sold 253 yearlings for $31,392,500 — which averages out to $124,081, with a median price of a cool $100,000.

Through the first five days of the mammoth 12-day event, Keeneland has now sold 934 hearings for $228,037,500. That equals to an average of $244,151, with a median price of $172,500.

With all those impressive numbers and fantastic, world-wide appeal, you would think that the track could get a new license application heard before the Kentucky Racing Commission, wouldn’t you? With no question, right?

Well, that’s another topic for another day (or so). But we will revisit that, for sure. For now, back to the sale — and Saturday’s report:

“Today’s session started off very quickly and successfully, and that energy went all the way through day’s end,” Keeneland Director of Sales Operations Geoffrey Russell said. “The prices were very fair and the bidding was quite spirited at times. People are still hungry to buy.

“The transition into the next group of buyers has gone very well,” he said. “We still have some buyers staying over from the first week, and now we are seeing some new fresh faces participating. If a good, special horse entered the ring, there was plenty of money for it.”

The top of the market sale’s story centered on a colt by Pioneerof the Nile, who sold for a robust $525,000 to agent Steven W. Young. He was consigned by Gainesway Farm — who just so happens to be on a serious roll. The colt is the first foal out of Bella Fafa, a Brazilian-bred mare by Elusive Quality.  The female family has a number of Group Stakes winners in South America.

“He’s a really nice horse,” said Young, who purchased the colt for an undisclosed client. “I thought he was a Book 1 horse. He cost about what we thought he would. (It seemed like) everyone in the Pavilion bid on him once. (Bidding) is very competitive for good horses. Whether you lead them up there in the first 100 hips or (later in the sale), there is money if it is a really good horse.”

The session’s highest-priced filly was a daughter of Trappe Shot sold to Ron Winchell’s Winchell Thoroughbreds for $480,000. Consigned by Elm Tree Farm, she is a half-sister to stakes winner Mr Palmer and from the family of Grade 1 winners Behrens and Commentator. Her dam, In Truth, is by Quiet American.

“She was way more expensive than I thought she would be,” Winchell said. “We were looking from a perspective of eventually breeding, so it was more than just looking at a racehorse. Maybe we will breed her to Gun Runner (the 2017 Stephen Foster-G1, Whitney-G1 and Woodward-G1 winner Winchell Thoroughbred owns with Three Chimneys Farm). We’re looking long term.”

“(We sold the filly) for breeder Nancy Shuford of North Carolina, one of our longtime clients,” said Jody Huckabay, who owns Elm Tree Farm with his wife, Jody. “She couldn’t go to a better home.”