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An already lively market for thoroughbred yearlings has exploded at this year's Keeneland September sale in Lexington, Ky., where all previous price records have gone out the window.

Through Sunday, with four days still remaining in the 11-day auction, Keeneland sold 1,903 horses for a record gross of $213.2 million, shattering last year's gross of $169.8 million.

The average yearling price was on pace to rise 35 to 40 percent over last year's record $59,375.

And 23 yearlings had sold for $1 million or more -- more than have been sold in all of the 55 September sales prior to this one.

"It's a huge increase. We knew that we were going to have a very good sale, based on our July sale, based on other regional sales," Keeneland sales director Rogers Beasley said. "But nobody could have predicted this increase."

On Sunday's seventh day of the sale, with only mid- to lower-level yearlings still going through the sales ring, 272 horses were sold for $10.6 million -- an average price of $38,942 that was up 68 percent from last year's average of $23,105 for the same session.

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