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Blog - RACING

Horses and buyers make their way to the back walking ring at Keeneland (Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire).

This year’s first book of the Keeneland September yearling sale posted promising results for the Thoroughbred industry’s future.

Keeneland reaped incredible rewards after reformatting the sale to have book one span over the first four days rather than the two evening sessions that comprised the first book in 2012. In the first book, Keeneland sold 11 more seven-figure yearlings than were sold during the entire 2012 auction and had the most million-dollar purchases, 18, since 2008. Cumulatively, 546 horses sold in the first four days for a total of $153,385,000 with a $280,295 average. The overall buy-back rate was 27%, which was a slight drop from the previous season. The average and median for the first week showed increases of 38.5% and 38.3%, respectively.

Yearlings by several stallions dominated the first week of the sale. Among the most prominent were Tapit, War Front, and Medaglia d’Oro.

TAPPING INTO TAPIT

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 Hip No. 325 in the Keeneland auction ring (Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire)

Tapit established himself as one of the leading sires of the sale’s first book. Four of his yearlings went through the ring and sold for seven-figure prices. Tapit’s first million-dollar baby was Hip No. 325 out of the graded stakes-placed mare Pretty ’n Smart. Bred by JKG Thoroughbreds and offered by the VanMeter Sales, M.V. Magnier of Coolmore Stud paid $1 million for this half-brother to graded stakes winners Ashley’s Kitty and Heart Ashley.

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Hip No. 515 in the Keeneland auction ring (Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire)

Tapit’s next 2013 September sale millionaire was Hip No. 515 who sold for $1.55 million to Regis Farms and Stonestreet Stables. This colt out of Successful Outlook was bred and consigned by Gainesway. He has a pedigree that could yield quick results – his sire has had top-class juveniles to his credit and his dam was a graded stakes winner at two.

“If he runs on the track, we can stand him. [He has a] huge pedigree,” said Richard Hogan, agent for Regis Farm. “[He is a] half-brother to a Grade 1 winner now [Test Stakes winner Sweet Lulu]. Tapit speaks for himself. Catlike walk, light on his feet, athletic – I thought he was a great colt. The best physical, probably, that I’ve seen in the sale. I think he’s all racehorse, and I’m delighted we got him.”

Tapit’s next millionaire was a colt out of Ava Knowsthecode. He was offered as Hip No. 681 from the Valkyre Stud consignment for Pat Klussman of Oakbrook Farm. Stonestreet and Gainesway were clearly attracted to the sprinting traits of this colt’s pedigree – they purchased him for $1.2 million.

The gray stallion’s final seven-figure yearling from book one was a $1 million filly purchased from Peter O’Callaghan’s Wood Edge Farm by Shadwell Estate Company Ltd. This full-sister to the Grade 1-winning juvenile Tell a Kelly has a pedigree ideal for quick success. Her broodmare sire is Tabasco Cat, by Storm Cat, and her dam’s broodmare sire is Alydar, by Raise a Native.

WAR FRONT LEADING THE CHARGE

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War Front at Claiborne in 2013 (Photo courtesy of Melissa Bauer-Herzog)

War Front has established himself as arguably the hottest stallion at stud in 2013. This year he has already had a winner on the Dubai World Cup undercard (Lines of Battle – U.A.E. Derby), two winners at Royal Ascot (War Command – Coventry Stakes, and Declaration of War – Queen Anne Stakes), and a drew a top-class book that included the Breeders’ Cup Classic-winning mare Zenyatta. At the September sale, the high-rollers battled for War Front yearlings. Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier outbid them all on the two highest-priced War Front yearlings. 

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Hip No. 61 in the Keeneland auction ring (Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire)

The first to go through was Hip No. 61, a colt out of Guide. Claiborne, home of War Front, bred and consigned this yearling. He presented a promising pedigree to match solid conformation – his dam is a full-sister to the mare that produced the recent Super Derby winner Departing. The big-shouldered colt garnered a hammer price of $1 million and became the second seven-figure seller of the sale.

Consigned by Peter O’Callaghan’s Wood Edge Farm, Hip No. 712 attracted the most attention of any horse at the auction. From the female family of Will’s Way and Willa On the Move, the dark, imposing colt possessed not only a striking catalog page but eye-catching conformation. This yearling inherited his sire’s muscularity and correctness that highly impressed. Coolmore Stud interests stopped the bidding with a sale-topping $2.5 million offer. 

DISCOVERING STARS

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Hip No. 496 by Galileo in the Keeneland auction ring (Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire)

Coolmore’s other seven-figure purchase, signed for by M.V. Magnier, was a colt by Coolmore’s own sire Galileo. Also from the Woods Edge consignment, Hip No. 496 is out of Starlight Dreams. His dam’s broodmare sire is the Northern Dancer son, Lyphard, and her second dam was by Ribot. His pedigree helped to make him worthy of his $1.4 million price tag – he is a full-brother to the European champion Mastercraftsman.  “Very nice horse; very good pedigree.” Magnier said. “Mastercraftsman is doing extremely well this year. [This yearling is] just the right kind of horse. We’ll bring him back to Ireland.”

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Galileo (Photo courtesy Jason Doyle)

INVESTING IN GOLD

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Hip No. 19 in the Keeneland auction ring (Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire)

Medaglia d’Oro was the first to be represented by a million-dollar yearling. Flaxman Holdings bought Hip No. 19 (out of Flying Passage) for $1.5 million. Gainesway offered this filly out of a mare who has produced graded stakes winners Hungry Island and Soaring Empire.

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Hip No. 523 in the Keeneland auction ring (Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire)

B. Wayne Hughes of Spendthrift Farms and Barbara Banke of Stonestreet purchased the next Medaglia d’Oro that sold for a seven-figure price tag at the September sale. Bred by WinStar Farm, Hip No. 523 was consigned by Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency. His pedigree is perhaps the most eye-catching of the sale. He is out of Supercharger, by A.P. Indy, who produced the 2010 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands winner Super Saver and his graded stakes-winning half-brother Brethren.

The hammer fell on this colt when the bidding hit a hefty $1.7 million.

“Very athletic, great mover, super pedigree,” Banke said. “If he makes a couple of graded stakes starts, he’ll be a wonderful, wonderful stud. I’ve had the best Medaglia d’Oro ever [2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra], and he reminded me a little bit of her.”

Dream Supreme’s colt by Medaglia d’Oro rounded out this seven-figure treble with a $1 million purchase price from David Ingordo, agent. Selling as Hip No. 846 for the Lane’s End consignment, he is out of a two-time Grade 1 winner who has produced three stakes-winning racehorses, including Grade 1 winner and promising sire Majestic Warrior.

TIZNOW TOMORROW

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Hip No. 446 in the Keeneland auction ring (Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire)

Two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow was represented by two impeccably bred fillies who garnered seven-figure prices. His filly out of Silken Cat entered the sales pavilion first. Taylor Made Sales Agency sent through this half-sister to the champion sprinter Speightstown. Offered as Hip No. 446, Goncalo Torrealba won her with a bid of $1.75 million. 

Hip No. 855 was certainly one of the most exciting yearlings of the sale - she is a half-sister to 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace.  Offered by the Mill Ridge Sales consignment, this striking Tiznow filly attracted enough interest to sell for $1.7 million to Alex Solis III and Jason Litt.

BELLA LUNA!

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Hip No. 80 in the Keeneland auction ring (Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire)

Siring the current Kentucky Derby winner almost guarantees success at the sales. Malibu Moon, whose progeny includes 2013 Derby winner Orb, was represented by two seven-figure fillies. The first of this duo sold as Hip No. 80 for Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency. Out of the multiple Grade 1-winning mare Hollywood Story, she sold for $1,350,000 to Northwest Stud. 

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Hip No. 438 in the Keeneland auction ring (Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire)

Mill Ridge Sales consignment offered Malinu Moon’s second seven-figure yearling for breeder Audrey Otto of Jamm Ltd. She was the last horse to sell on day two, going through the ring as Hip No. 438.   Selling for a $1 million price, this filly is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Power Broker, who crossed the finish line second in the 2013 Haskell Invitational Stakes. Her dam is a half-sister to a Grade 1 winner and a graded stakes winner.

MORE MILLION-DOLLAR BABIES …

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Hip No. 291 by Bernardini in the Keeneland auction ring (Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire)

Bernardini, the sought-after sire of the two most recent sales seasons, was represented by one seven-figure yearling during book one of the September sale. This finely bred filly sold as Hip No. 291 and attracted a $1.3 million winning bid from Baumann Stables. That price made her the first yearling to sell for $1 million or more at Tuesday’s session. Co-consigned by breeder Brereton Jones’s Airdrie Stud, she is a half-sister to champion filly Proud Spell.

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Hip No. 541 by Indian Charlie in the Keeneland auction ring (Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire)

Indian Charlie, who died in 2011, was responsible for siring the highest-priced filly of the sale. Selling as Hip No. 541, she was offered by Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency. She gave prospective buyers a glimpse of immense potential for success on and off the track as the half-sister to Grade 1 winner Take Charge Indy and 2013 Travers Stakes winner Will Take Charge. Mandy Pope of Whisper Hill Farm saw the opportunity to further expand her impressive collection of mares and purchased this filly for $2.2 million. 

“She’s absolutely beautiful. A stellar pedigree, a stellar family,” Pope said of the filly out of multiple Grade winner Take Charge Lady. “We’re going to run in the footsteps of her daddy and her mother and her brothers. She’ll be a delight to have and something to go along with Havre de Grace and Plum Pretty. After she becomes a famous racehorse, she’ll fit right in.

“She, to me, is the standout of the sale as far as the fillies go. We tried to buy a couple other fillies and couldn’t get it done. But this one was actually my pick of the sale, so we’re very happy. She’ll have a great home and she’ll have the best of everything. I’m sure whichever trainer that gets her will be a wonderful trainer that will take good care of her.”

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Hip No. 426 in the Keeneland auction ring (Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire)

Hip No. 426, a colt by Smart Strike, became the second consecutive foal produced by the graded stakes winner Serenading to garner a seven-figure price at the sales. Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency consigned this colt from the female family of the Classic winner Touch Gold and Grade 1 winner Brilliant Speed. Mike Puhich, representing a partnership headed by Dr. Mark Dedomenico, put in the $1 million bid that won them this prospect.

Unbridled’s Song yearlings garnered high prices and extra attention due to his recent death in July. His striking gray colt out of Irish Smoke led his yearlings by price. He hails from a solid cross that capitalizes on sprinting influences. Mr. Prospector and Bold Ruler have a strong presence in his dam’s bloodlines and Unbridled’s Song carried on the Mr. Prospector sire line. Offered from the Bedouin Bloodstock consignment, he sold for $1.1 million to Regis Farms.  

PREPARING A YEARLING FOR THE SALES RING

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Bunny Hinzman

Bunny Hinzman is a journalist for International Racehorse Magazine.  
Her work has appeared in Illinois Racing News Magazine and Keeneland Magazine.  She also authors Bits N' Bunny, covering various aspects of Thoroughbred horse racing.  Bunny's article, "The Lasix Legacy", received a final nomination and Honorable Mention from Team Valor International's 2012 Stanley Bergstein Award.

Image Description

Bunny Hinzman

Bunny Hinzman is a journalist for International Racehorse Magazine.  
Her work has appeared in Illinois Racing News Magazine and Keeneland Magazine.  She also authors Bits N' Bunny, covering various aspects of Thoroughbred horse racing.  Bunny's article, "The Lasix Legacy", received a final nomination and Honorable Mention from Team Valor International's 2012 Stanley Bergstein Award.

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