Sports Update

Jan 6, 2014 8:52 PM

Opening Day of Keeneland January Sale

Life Happened, dam of Grade 2 winner Vyjack and Grade 3 winner Tepin, brought $750,000 on Monday to top the opening session of Keeneland's 56th annual January Horses of All Ages Sale.

Jason Litt of Solis/Litt Bloodstock purchased Life Happened, a 13-year-old daughter of Stravinsky in foal to Harlan's Holiday. She was consigned by Select Sales, agent.

Litt said he purchased Life Happened for LNJ Foxwoods, "a client that's building up a broodmare band. She seemed like a logical choice with pretty good runners. (She's a) beautiful mare in foal to the last crop of Harlan's Holiday so it's pretty exciting. ... Everyone is pretty pumped, and this kind of mare can hopefully give you a classic-style horse. (LNJ Foxwoods is) looking to build something long term and we thought this was definitely the type of mare you (begin with)."

During the Monday session, Keeneland sold 232 horses for $13,714,900, for an average price of $59,116 and a median price of $35,000. At the first session of last year's January Sale, 201 horses brought $15,331,400 for an average of $76,276 and a median of $30,000.

"I thought today's sale was very good from start to finish," Keeneland Vice President of Sales Walt Robertson said. "We saw good competitive bidding, especially on yearlings. I thought it was a good day."

A chief indicator of the active trade during the session was the 30 percent decrease in the RNA rate, as 73 horses failed to meet their reserve compared with 104 horses in 2013.

"The median went up and the number of horses that weren't sold went down, which indicates the professionalism of the consignors who are participating in the January Sale," Keeneland Director of Sales Geoffrey Russell said. "These consignors adapt to the market; they understand the market very well; they identify the market within sales. These are very savvy people. They gauge the market very well."

Glen Hill Farm paid $425,000, the day's second-highest price, for the 6-year-old Maria's Mon mare Louvakhova, a half-sister to French highweight Flotilla (FR), winner of the 2012 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) and 2013 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches-French One Thousand Guineas (G1). Hill ‘n' Dale Sales Agency, agent, consigned Louvakhova, sold in foal to Arch.

"She's a really good mare, and her sister's a really important horse," Craig Bernick of Glen Hill said. "I like the mating with Arch. Our farm seems to do well (racing) on turf and that's what we continue to do. She's the horse we liked here, and it made a lot of sense to buy her. It was pretty much my limit for what I thought we would spend. I didn't know if we were gonna get her for that, but it was about all I had. I'm so happy to get her."

Grade 1 winner and millionaire Unbridled Belle, in foal to Bernardini, brought $400,000 from Haruya Yoshida of Japan's Oiwake Farm. Hill ‘n' Dale Sales Agency, agent, consigned the 11-year-old Broken Vow mare out of Grade 3 winner Little Bold Belle, by Silver Buck.

"She had a fantastic (race) record," said Taro Iseki, who purchased Unbridled Belle for Yoshida. "We have a lot of sons of Sunday Silence as stallions in Japan, like (two-time Horse of the Year) Deep Impact. They are quite good to breed with big mares. She's a big mare, so that's why we tried to buy her. We will take her back to Japan and breed her to a son of Sunday Silence."

Philip Blake paid $235,000 for the session's top-priced yearling, a Kitten's Joy colt consigned by Castle Park Farm, agent. Out of the Storm Cat mare Gata Bella, he is a half-brother to stakes winner Ha Ha Tonka.

With the purchase of Life Happened, Solis/Litt Bloodstock was the session's leading buyer.

Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent, was the session's leading consignor, selling 49 horses for $2,585,000.

The January Sale continues through Thursday, Jan. 9. Sessions begin daily at 10 a.m. EST. The entire sale is streamed live at Keeneland.com.

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