It may not have got underway until November 7 but there were plenty of fireworks in Kentucky during the opening session of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale, with 14 horses selling for a million dollars or more.

The strength of the first day’s trade was boosted by the dispersal of Edward P Evans’s stock, including the top lot, the Grade 1 winner Christmas Kid, who sold to Coolmore for $4.2 million and will most likely be covered by Galileo next season.

Evans, who died last New Year’s Eve, was the owner/breeder of Quality Road, whose dam Kobla was sold carrying a full sibling to the multiple Grade 1 winner for $525,000.

Zenyatta’s half-sister by Henrythenavigator sold for $1.5 million ©Keeneland Photo

Benjamin Leon of Besilu Stables bought five seven-figure lots, including three half-sisters to the exceptional racehorse and ill-fated sire Saint Liam, for $3 million, $2.6 million and $2 million respectively.

All three hailed from the Evans dispersal, and a member of the same family also caught the attention of Alain and Gérard Wertheimer, whose bloodstock manager Pierre-Yves Bureau signed for Grade 1 winner Buster’s Ready for $2.4 million.

The three-year-old filly is by More Than Ready out of the Honour And Glory mare Beatem Buster, another half-sister to Saint Liam.

“This was really the mare [the Wertheimers] wanted in the sale,” said Bureau. “She was a very talented filly. She’s very nice-looking, from a strong family. We don’t have the opportunity to buy this kind of mare every year, but because of the dispersal of Mr Evans, we had a lot of choices. This one was the big number one.”

Yet another member of the family, Cat Moves, a Grade 1 winner in foal to Malibu Moon, was selected by Frank Stronach of Adena Springs, who also bought Zenyatta’s half-sister, a foal by Henrythenavigator, for $1.5 million.

Throughout the opening session, 147 horses sold for $63,276,500, up 62% on the 2010 tally when 183 horses brought $38,970,000. The average price rose by 102% from $212,951 to $430,452, while the median of $230,000 was a 64% increase from last year’s figure of $140,000. Sixty-three horses were sold as part of the Evans dispersal, for an aggregate of $40,684,500.

The sale continues until Thursday, November 17.