Updated 2 months ago
The bullish market continued Wednesday during the third session of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale as five seven-figure yearlings were sold. They were led by the $2.2 million Indian Charlie filly, who is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner and millionaire Take Charge Indy and Will Take Charge, winner of the 2013 Travers (G1).
The amount for the filly, who is a daughter of four-time Keeneland stakes winner Take Charge Lady, is the highest price paid for a yearling at the September Sale since 2010.
During the sale's first three sessions, held Monday through Wednesday, 13 yearlings were sold for $1 million or more each, the most since 2008 when 18 seven-figure horses were sold.
Here are comments from consignors and buyers about the activity during the Wednesday session:
Barbara Banke of Stonestreet Stables, which bought two million-dollar yearlings in partnership: "The market is really strong, which I really applaud because I love this game and I want to see it succeed."
Case Clay, Three Chimneys Sales: "There really aren't a lot of the fillies with great pedigrees that have the great physicals to match, so that's why I think they're bringing a premium. The one that Borges Torrealba bought ($1.75 million Tiznow filly who is a half-sister to champion Speightstown) and is coming back to Three Chimneys is stallion pedigreed, and our plan is to get pages with stallion pedigrees. It's exciting on the buying end, and on the consigning end I think (the sale is) quite strong."
Meg Levy, Bluewater Sales: "I thought demand was great yesterday. We RNA'd (our) first horse through the ring. Within about two minutes, I had six people following me back to the barn and I got him sold. I was very happy about that. Some of the horses brought more than what we thought, and some brought about what we thought. It was great because with this new format, demand was there for all levels of our horses."
M.V. Magnier, who bought the $1.4 million Galileo (IRE) colt: "The right people are here, there are good horses here and they deserve to make (the prices)."
Richard Hogan, agent for Nat Rea's Regis Farms, which bought the $1.55 million Tapit colt in partnership with Stonestreet Stables: "I think the buyers find the horses wherever they are. I can't speak for everybody else, but we're getting what we want. The nice horses you gotta reach for. But we're getting what we want, and I'd rather do that than come in here and settle."
Peter O'Callahan, Woods Edge Farm, which consigned the $1.4 million Galileo (IRE) colt: "The new format is working because there's a lot of money here. We've been sweating it out the last three or four years. It slowly started to turn around last year, but it looks like it's very healthy at the moment."
Mandy Pope of Whisper Hill Farm, which bought the $2.2 million sale- and session-topper: "I think Keeneland did an excellent job of putting a very nice group of horses together and I commend them on that. I mean, we were taking horses off the list that any other time would have been great horses and we would have been excited to own them. But you can't vet every horse on the sales grounds so you have to be selective. For the buyers, it's tough, but for the sellers I think it's an excellent sale."
Goncalo Torrealba of buyer Borges Torrealba on the strength of the market: "It's not very convenient for me because I have to overpay, but I guess if it's not very convenient for me, it's good for the market."
REPORTER FOR LUXURY PUBLICATION FASCINATED BY SEPTEMBER SALE
Thoroughbred racing often is referred to as "The Sport of Kings" for its deep ties with royalty around the world. But the beauty of the industry is you don't have to reside in society's upper crust to make your way into it, as a reporter from the prestigious luxury publication The Robb Report quickly deduced upon attending his first Keeneland September Yearling Sale for a story that will appear in the April 2014 edition of Robb Report Collection.
"I came here thinking I understood the basic premise of the story," reporter Shaun Tolson said. "Within my first day of walking around Keeneland and meeting people, it didn't take long for me to realize it was a very complex industry, but complex in so many good ways because there are so many entry points into the industry depending on what (people) want to get out of it."
Tolson, who has traveled the world to experience the lifestyle of wealthy enthusiasts of cars, yachts, jets, art, fashion, jewelry, and more, became fascinated with the concept of the Thoroughbred industry when presented with the story idea.
"This is sort of an extension of collecting," Tolson said. "You're collecting a living commodity, which makes it interesting and different than anything we've covered in the magazine before. With a Thoroughbred, you can grow and have an emotional attachment to it."
While in Lexington, Tolson traveled to Claiborne Farm and WinStar Farm, spent time with consignors while they showcased their yearlings for potential buyers, took in the live auction, and interviewed prominent owners.
"I was caught a little off guard when you walk around the grounds and, based on the questions they ask you, they thought I was someone here buying or selling horses," Tolson said with a laugh. "That was the only indication I would have needed to prove you never really know who it is that you're talking to or looking at. Someone who fits the part might not be a major player and someone you think is here just for the spectacle is one of the leading consignors or buyers. It's very interesting."
A Boston native who had never visited Keeneland or the Lexington area, Tolson said he was struck by the serene beauty of the track and its surroundings.
"Coming to this sale I sort of knew in my head what the picture of a horse farm was and Keeneland and Central Kentucky fit that exactly," Tolson said. "It's exactly what you think of when you think of horse farms, the Derby, Thoroughbreds and horse racing. It's absolutely beautiful. It's an area of the country you'd love to come back to. It's so scenic and just peaceful."
AROUND THE RING
Today's session includes two yearlings by Australian champion and leading sire Fastnet Rock. The first, Hip 745, is a filly out of Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner Cash Run from the consignment of Paramount Sales, agent. At Keeneland's 2007 November Breeding Stock Sale, Cash Run sold in foal to Storm Cat to John Magnier for $7.1 million. The amount is the third-highest price ever paid for a horse at the November Sale.
The second, Hip 859, is a colt out of champion and stakes producer Eliza consigned by Michael C. Byrne, agent. By Mt. Livermore, Eliza was sold in foal to A.P. Indy to Eaton Sales for $1.7 million at the 1999 November Sale ...
For the second consecutive year, Clearsky Farms is consigning horses to the September Sale. Brothers Eamonn and Bernard Cleary own the operation, which their late father, Eamonn, founded in 2009, and they are working to become an established producer of successful runners. Through the first three days of the September Sale, Clearsky (pronounced clear sky) had sold six yearlings, led by a $600,000 Distorted Humor colt purchased by John Ferguson.
"We're all about the old-fashioned way of raising the horses," Eamonn said. "We want them to be good horses, not necessarily just to (be high-priced) sales horses but to go on and win races like the Kentucky Derby." ...
Thursday marks the final day of Book 1 of the September Sale, with the session starting at noon ET. No sale will be held on Friday, Sept. 13. The sale resumes on Saturday and continues through Saturday, Sept. 21, with sessions beginning at 10 a.m. The sale is streamed live on www.keeneland.com. ...
Actor Don Ameche, whose career spanned some 60 years, won an Academy Award for his performance in the 1985 film "Cocoon. He also was an avid racing fan, and he has a connection to the September Sale, thanks to family members that have continued his involvement in the Thoroughbred industry. Bert Welker and Clark Shepherd's Allied Bloodstock has consigned three yearlings for his son Don Ameche Jr. of Scottsdale, Ariz., and grandson Don Ameche III of Mission Viejo, Calif.: Hip 1734, a colt by Sky Mesa; Hip 2734, a colt by Elusive Quality; and Hip 2738, a colt by Colonel John.