Champion Stellar Wind will be retired and bred to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah after selling for $6 million to Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier to top Tuesday’s opening session of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale, which saw brisk trade from both domestic and international buyers.
Tuesday was the first of two sessions in the sale’s premier Book 1 catalog, which features graded stakes-winning fillies, stakes-producing broodmares in foal to prominent sires and top-quality weanlings. Keeneland sold 96 horses for $42,304,000, down 15.65 percent from last year when 115 horses grossed $50,155,000. The average of $440,667 rose slightly from last year’s $436,130, and the median rose 15.38 percent to $300,000 from $260,000 in 2016.
Eight horses sold for more than $1 million each. The $6 million paid for Stellar Wind is the co-second-highest-price ever paid for a broodmare prospect at Keeneland, equaling the amount paid for champion Take Charge Brandi at the 2015 November Sale.
“The opening session went extremely well,” Keeneland Director of Sales Operations Geoffrey Russell said. “The top price obviously with Stellar Wind was well deserved – a champion mare, great performance on the race track, deserved to be the top lot here today.
“It was great to see a good variation of buyers at the top, both domestic and international and strong Japanese participation,” he continued. “Weanlings also sold very well, both to end users and to pinhookers. The weanling market is strong. Like everything else, if they jump through the hoops, they bring a premium price. The weanling to yearling pinhookers did very well last year, so they’re back here in force again. And end users have decided that this is a good place to buy horses, so there’s added competition from those two forces.
“Mixed sales are always difficult to compare year to year because at yearling sales you are selling the product; here you are selling the factory and you don’t sell the factory every year,” Russell said. “It is all based on the mares we get every year. Book 1 is a little lighter in numbers this year, but our average and median are very good. As we go forward, I feel the sale will gain momentum through the market forces of a good, strong September Yearling Sale. We see people reinvesting back into the market. It was a strong international buying bench.”
Stellar Wind, the champion 3-year-old filly of 2015, is a 5-year-old daughter of Curlin and the Malibu Moon mare Evening Star who earned $2,213,200 with 10 wins in 16 starts. She was the centerpiece of a crowded Keeneland Sales Pavilion, where onlookers included her trainer, John Sadler.
“She checked all the boxes for somebody who wants to breed a really top horse,” Sadler said. “She’s a lovely mare and she’s been great. To see her go is going to be sad, but she’s going on to her next career, so we’re happy that she’s got the world’s best connections. It’s very exciting. We had her for three years and we loved her and she was so great for us, gave us a lot of great thrills winning a lot of Grade 1s. We’re going to miss her a lot, but we’re happy to see her get such a good result and see her go to such nice people, so that’s really exciting.”
Stellar Wind was consigned by Lane’s End, agent. Lane’s End Director of Sales Allaire Ryan said the mare thrilled everyone who saw her.
“Just spending the last 48 hours with her here, she exuded class and there is no doubt in my mind that is one of the factors that carried her through such a successful career,” Ryan said. “She was a true joy to be around for all of us.
“Day in and day out this is our job, but above all everyone here at Keeneland is a racing fan. It is one of those ‘pinch me’ moments when you get to be around a mare like her. She is just that special for me and all of our staff. Everyone took great pride in presenting her.
“The price is where we thought she would be,” Ryan added. “She sold well in a really strong market.”
With the purchase of Stellar Wind, Magnier was the session’s leading buyer.
Bridlewood Farm and Don Alberto paid $2.3 million for Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Cathryn Sophia, carrying her first foal by Pioneerof the Nile. The 4-year-old daughter of Street Boss out of the Mineshaft mare Sheave won the Kentucky Oaks in 2016 after running third in Keeneland’s Central Bank Ashland (G1). She captured six races in nine starts and earned $1,229,720.
“A young (Kentucky) Oaks winner in foal to a nice horse on an early cover – what’s not to like?” said George Isaacs, Bridlewood's general manager. “We partnered with Don Alberto. We’re very friendly with them, we’re like-minded, we want to both breed nice horses, race nice horses, sell nice horses – like-minded partners, no-brainer business. It’s a strong market, and obviously if you’re going to play on the upper end of the commercial market, you’re going to have to pay to get the quality that you’re looking for.”
“It was a great result,” said Conor Doyle, partner with Neal Clarke in Bedouin Bloodstock, which consigned Cathryn Sophia. “She’s a lovely filly, great race mare. It’s been a real pleasure to have her around for the last year. She (was) just so stunning on the race track, and she was really popular here.”
Bedouin Bloodstock sold three of the day’s top-priced horses. In addition to Cathryn Sophia, Bedouin consigned Grade 1 winner Her Emmynency, sold for $1.5 million, and the session’s highest-priced weanling, a filly by Tapit who brought a final bid of $775,000.
Bridlewood also paid $1.5 million for Grade 1 winner Street Fancy sold in foal to Medaglia d'Oro. Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent, consigned the 4-year-old daughter of Street Sense and the Cat Thief mare Bold Angel.
Taylor Made was the session’s leading consignor, selling 30 horses for $11,899,000.
Jon Clay’s Alpha Delta Stables went to $1.9 million for stakes winner Oscar Party, in foal to leading sire Tapit. Consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent, the 7-year-old daughter of Dixie Union out of Dream Lady, by Old Trieste, is a half-sister to multiple Grade 1 winner Room Service and Grade 3 winner Major Gain.
“It has been really hard to buy what you want because everyone seems to want what we want,” said Reynolds Bell, who signed the ticket for Oscar Party. “We are looking for nice mares with families that have ability on the race track and are in foal (to good stallions.) She is in foal to Tapit and she had a nice Tapit (weanling) colt. It is hard to get those and we are happy we did. Mr. Clay has been trying to get a mare by Dixie Union.”
Dr. Masatake Iida paid $1.65 million for multiple Grade 3 winner Tammy the Torpedo, in foal to top sire War Front. Claiborne Farm, agent, consigned the 5-year-old daughter of More Than Ready and the War Chant mare Search and Seizure.
“We were expecting somewhere around $1 million, so it was even a little more than what we thought, but that’s great,” Claiborne manager Bradley Purcell said. “She’s a mare that’s from a family we’ve had at Claiborne for a long time. She really flourished after she got to the farm in the spring and made a beautiful mare, so we’re very proud.”
Interpreting for Iida, Nobu Araki of Polo Green Stable said Tammy the Torpedo will go to Japan to be bred to Deep Impact.
Her Emmynency, in foal to Pioneerof the Nile, sold to Shadai Farm of Japan for $1.5 million. The 5-year-old daughter of Successful Appeal, winner of Keeneland’s Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup (G1) in 2015, is out of the Joyeux Danseur mare Chic Dancer.
The November Sale got off to a fast start when Hip 1, Weekend Whim, sold for $1.4 million to Summer Wind Equine. The 11-year-old Distorted Humor mare is in foal to Medaglia d’Oro. The resulting foal will be a full sibling to Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) and Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) winner New Money Honey.
“She is a producer and my plan this year is to buy mares who have produced,” Summer Wind owner Jane Lyon said. “This looked like a pretty nice opportunity to start my new program. (The price) was a touch more than what I wanted but not more than I expected. Generally speaking, I sell my foals but I have started to keep a few fillies.”
Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent, consigned Weekend Whim, a full sister to Grade 1 winner Any Given Saturday and a half-sister to Grade 3 winner Bohemian Lady. She is out of the A.P. Indy mare Weekend In Indy.
“That (price was) right what we expected,” Taylor Made President and CEO Duncan Taylor said. “We were lucky we had a really good horse as number one. I think the people that bought her made a good buy; that was a solid value. They bought a mare that’s carrying a full (sibling) to a horse like New Money Honey. If they get the right kind of foal, they might get their money back in one foal.”
Taylor Made also consigned $1.25 million seller Life Well Lived. The dam of Grade 1 winner American Patriot sold to James Delahooke, agent for Bobby Flay. In foal to American Pharoah, the 10-year-old mare is a full sister to Dubai World Cup (G1) winner Well Armed. Life Well Lived is by Tiznow out of the Notebook mare Well Dressed.
The session’s top-priced weanling, a daughter of Tapit out of Grade 1 winner My Conquestadory, sold for $775,000 to Baccari Bloodstock.
“We are very pleased with the price,” Bedouin Bloodstock’s Neal Clarke said. “She is a beautiful filly. She is a young filly, a late foal, so we were a little worried bringing her in here but she showed beautifully and walked beautifully. She is correct and classy.
“A good horse is a good horse regardless of birthdate,” he added. “What is nicer than being born in May? The sun is out and the grass is green. In January, there is ice, it is cold and it is very inhospitable. I am all about May babies.”
“Very, very nice filly, huge pedigree,” Chris Baccari of Baccari Bloodstock said. “She looked like the kind of filly that could develop into anything – really strong, and with her mother having the race record that she did, and being by Tapit. I just try to surround myself with the best horses I can possibly get, so she happened to be one that we landed on today. I thought she’d be anywhere from $700,000 to $1 million. I’ll offer her again for resale, and if not we’ll race her.”
The November Sale continues through Saturday, Nov. 18. Wednesday’s session begins at 11 a.m. ET. The entire sale is streamed live at Keeneland.com.
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