Take Charge Brandi took command of the top spot at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale on Wednesday with a final bid of $3.2 million, but life for the Eclipse Award winner after the sale is going to look a lot like life before she got on the trailer to leave the farm.
The 7-year-old Giant's Causeway mare was put through the ring as Hip 111 to dissolve a partnership between John Sikura's Hill 'n' Dale Farms and Elevage, an entity led by Glen Hill Farm's Craig Bernick. At the fall of the hammer, the tickets for both Take Charge Brandi and her $600,000 weanling Tapit colt went to Sikura's chair.
“I owned half of the mare, and there was a change in the partnership strategy where we were initially going to be a stallion investment company, which has been a big part of our portfolio,” Sikura said, “but then we started to buy some mares and some of the partners thought that we should be more direct and concentrate our assets as we'd originally planned. They wanted to sell all of the mares here at the sale.
The Elevage dispersal includes 14 entries at the Keeneland November sale, all in the select Book 1, including notable mares Take Charge Brandi, Mei Ling, Notting Hill, Aurelia's Belle, Callback, Cassatt, Drifting Cube, and Dynaslew. Six weanlings out of those mares were also cataloged in this year's sale
“I wasn't supportive of the idea, as far as the best time to sell her, because she's had a couple foals, and how good is the half-baked cake going to taste? It's not ready yet,” Sikura said. “But, I understood and agreed with the philosophy of sticking to our core purpose. Me and Craig have a great relationship, and there's no animosity whatsoever. He's bid and bought some, I've bid and bought some, we've been outbid on others, but the best way to determine real market value is to bring them to the market where no one is advantaged or disadvantaged by the other, and offer them in front of the world, and that's what we've done. Those are mares that I've hand-picked, and I think one of those mares are going to be an important mare.
“I just tried to value her and act like how I'd approach a mare if I just saw her in the ring,” Sikura continued. It's an impeccable female family. You get almost no opportunity to get into this family. The second dam (Broodmare of the Year Take Charge Lady) is no longer producing, her dam Charming is owned by Coolmore, and they're very selective and it's hard to get those offspring. Omaha Beach (Take Charge Brandi's half-brother) is a great stallion prospect, so for me, to collect fillies from that family is a great opportunity. I have a long-term view and the commercial aspect is part of what I do, but trying to cultivate and develop female families and breed things of significance is always the approach.”
Take Charge Brandi was offered in-foal to 2018 Triple Crown winner and Horse of the Year Justify, making her a part of the champion's first book of mares.
In addition to earning the Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old filly in 2014, Take Charge Brandi also hails from one of the strongest female families on the racetrack and in the sale ring today. Her dam is the winning Seeking the Gold mare Charming, whose offspring also include Grade 1 winner and future Spendthrift Farm stallion Omaha Beach, as well as Irish Group 1-placed Courage Under Fire.
Sikura also bought out his partners on Take Charge Brandi's weanling Tapit colt, offered as Hip 112, for $600,000.
The chestnut colt is the third foal out of Take Charge Brandi, following colts by Curlin and Tapit. Her first foal, Take Charge Curlin, is an unraced 2-year-old who was purchased by John Oxley for $850,000 at last year's Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
“We'll get him home and develop him the best we can, and I guess all options are open,” Sikura said about the weanling. “We're commercial sellers, so hopefully he'll be a good yearling to sell next year, or possibly a partnership horse. Tapit's a great sire, and a good way to control the process when you buy the dam is to have the foal next to her, and be able to raise him at the farm where can control as much as we can.”
Dam Of Maximum Security Sells To Summer Wind Farm For $1.85 Million
The first hour of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale was highlighted by the sale of Lil Indy, the dam of leading 3-year-old Maximum Security, who went to Summer Wind Farm for $1.85 million.
The seven-figure transaction came in stark contrast to Lil Indy's time in the ring at last year's Keeneland November sale, when she sold deep in the catalog to Korean interests for just $11,000. At the time, she was a cull from the broodmare band of Gary and Mary West who had some winners on her produce record, but nothing for black type.
Fast-forward to November 2019 and Lil Indy's produce record had seen the bump of a lifetime when West-homebred Maximum Security won the Grade 1 Florida Derby and Haskell Invitational Stakes, then beat older competition in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap. Sandwiched in between those efforts was his infamous Kentucky Derby effort where he crossed the wire first, but a less-than-straight path through the final turn and early stretch got him disqualified to 17th.
The 12-year-old Anasheed mare was still in Korea when Maximum Security racked up his Florida Derby score, and she had a full-sister to Maximum Security by New Year's Day while she was there. Lil Indy was purchased privately by SF Bloodstock and brought back to the U.S. before the Kentucky Derby, and she was bred to Quality Road for the 2020 breeding season.
When the mare reached the Keeneland ring again as Hip 13, the bidding came down to Jane Lyon's Summer Wind Farm and Larry Best of OXO Equine. The latter had recently purchased Breeders' Cup Distaff winner Blue Prize, the most expensive offering of the previous day's Fasig-Tipton November sale, for $5 million to expand his fledgling broodmare program.
When the hammer fell on Wednesday, the ticket went to Lyon.
“I was really happy before Mr. Best got involved,” Lyon joked about the bidding war. “Knowing what a great guy he is, I appreciate him quitting when he did. [Lil Indy] has obviously produced a superb 3-year-old, and hopefully she can do it some more.”
Lyon said there were no immediate plans for Lil Indy's next mating. In addition to being the dam of a Grade 1 winner, Lil Indy is out of the stakes-winning Cresta Rider mare Cresta Lil, making her a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Flat Out and stakes winner Our Best Man.
“Every one of my advisors were very excited about this mare, and they put her at the top of my list,” she said.
Quality Road is a resident Lane's End, which also consigned Lil Indy as agent.
“It was such a strong market yesterday, but I thought she did really well,” said Bill Farish of Lane's End. “We had her right about in that range.”
Lil Indy was followed through the ring by her Korean-born weanling New Year's Day filly, who joined her dam on the trip back from Korea.
The bay filly, offered as Hip 14, finished under her reserve with a final bid of $190,000. Lane's End also consigned her, as agent.
Grade 1 Winner Eskimo Kisses Sells To Japan For $2.3 Million
Japanese buyers continued to have a strong presence in the North American auction market after a big night at the Fasig-Tipton November Sale on Wednesday, with Shadai Farm going to $2.3 million for Grade 1 winner Eskimo Kisses.
The 4-year-old daughter of To Honor and Serve was offered as Hip 233, in foal to Curlin after finishing her on-track career with three wins in 12 starts for earnings of $711,102. Her resume is highlighted with a win in the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes and runner-up efforts in the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes and Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks.
Tetsuya Yoshida, signing the ticket for Shadai Farm, said the mare would be sent back to Japan, and there were no immediate plans for her follow-up mating.
Eskimo Kisses was consigned by Gainesway, as agent. The operation also bred and co-campaigned the horse in partnership with Harold Lerner, Nehoc Stables, and trainer Kenny McPeek's Magdelina Racing.
The mare's second dam is the Kentucky Derby winner and champion Winning Colors. She is out of the unplaced Mr. Greeley mare Silver Colors, whose runners of note also include the Grade 1-placed Silver Ride.
“I'm a little bit sad that we sold her, but we brought her here to sell her; it was a partnership dispersal,” said Gainesway's Michael Hernon. “She's a wonderful young mare, and this is what the market said she's worth. Maybe we'll take a trip to Japan to see her. I'm glad she's going to a great home.
“I want to thank Shadai Farm, I know she'll have a great home. And I want to thank all the underbidders, particularly [Don Alberto Corp.], the immediate underbidder.”
Best Lands $750,000 Weanling Curlin Colt
Wednesday's clubhouse leader among the weanling contingent was Hip 167, a Curlin colt who sold to Larry Best's OXO Equine for $750,000.
The gray or roan colt is the first foal out of the multiple Grade 3-placed Macho Uno foal Banree, who is herself a half-sister to Grade 3 winner Gloryzapper. Bred in Kentucky by Pippa's Hurricane LLC, the colt's extended family includes Grade 3 winner Her Royalty and Grade 1-placed stakes winner Royally Chosen.
“When you get a quality sire and the dam's side looks good and the physical looks good, I think the elevated yearling market is driving some people to buy here at higher prices,” Best said. “The Sheikh is not here. There were too many cases where quality buyers couldn't buy at the yearlings sales, so they're coming here looking for talent, doing their vetting, looking at bloodlines, and if it's a strong sire like Curlin, it's going to sell for a good price.”
Eaton Sales consigned the colt, as agent.
Also selling on Wednesday…
– Hip 186, Callback, a Grade 1-winning Street Sense mare who sold to Japan's Katsumi Yoshida for $2 million. Consigned by Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency as part of the Elevage dispersal, the 7-year-old mare is pregnant to Medaglia d'Oro.
– Hip 22, Mei Ling, a Grade 3-placed stakes-winning Empire Maker mare who sold to Claiborne Farm, agent, for $1.5 million. Offered in foal to Medaglia d'Oro, the mare was consigned by Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency as part of the Elevage dispersal.
– Hip 274H, Gloryzapper, a Grade 3-winning Ghostzapper mare who sold to Summer Wind Farm for $1.5 million. She was offered in-foal to Tapit and was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent for Aaron & Marie Jones.
– Hip 113, Talk Veuve To Me, a Grade 3 winner who sold to Stonestreet Stables for $1.3 million. The 4-year-old Violence filly was consigned by WinStar Racing, agent, and Stonestreet's Barbara Banke said Talk Veuve To Me could remain in training next year, but she will eventually be bred to Curlin, either in 2020 or 2021.
– Hip 39, Nereid, a Rock Hard Ten mare who sold to Hunter Valley Farm for $1.25 million. The Grade 1-winning 11-year-old mare was offered in-foal to Quality Road and she was consigned by Lane's End, agent.
– Hip 78, Sailor's Valentine, a Grade 1-winning Mizzen Mast mare who sold to Pursuit of Success LLC for $1.25 million. Offered in-foal to War Front, the 5-year-old mare was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent.
– Hip 208, Conquest, a 4-year-old daughter of Galileo offered in-foal to Justify who sold to Erdenheim Farm Thoroughbreds for $1.25 million. Denali Stud consigned her, as agent.
– Hip 173, Bernina Star, a Grade 1-placed Harlan's Holiday mare who sold to Don Alberto Corp. for $1.2 million. Offered in-foal to Curlin, the mare was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent.
– Hip 274G, Purely Hot, the dam of Grade 1 winner Eight Rings who sold to Hugo Merry Bloodstock for $1.2 million. The Pure Prize mare was offered in-foal to Union Rags and she was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent.
– Hip 256, Hourglass, an unplaced half-sister to European champion Shamardal by Galileo who sold to China Horse Club for $1.1 million. Paramount Sales consigned the mare, who was offered pregnant to Triple Crown winner Justify.
– Hip 77, Rymska, a Grade 2-winning Le Harve mare who sold to White Birch Farm for $1.05 million. The 5-year-old mare was consigned as a racing or broodmare prospect by Elite, agent.
Gross Up, Average And Median Down At End Of Book 1
At the end of Book 1, a total of 163 horses had changed hands for revenues of $70,449,500, up 14 percent percent from last year's opening session when 134 horses brought $61,583,500. The average sale price declined 6 percent to $432,206, while the median dipped 14 percent to $300,000. The buyback rate finished at 25 percent, compared with 21 percent during last year's comparable session.
Bob Elliston, Keeneland's vice president of racing and sales, said the late supplemental entries at the end of the session were especially helpful in driving the gross past last year's first book.
“There were two millionaires at the end on top of what was originally cataloged,” he said. “We published the supplemental catalog this week, and the last three hips of the supplement were about $3 million in gross sales. That speaks volumes about what Keeneland can do to let people know those horses are here.
“There were 14 millionaires versus eight last year,” he continued. “If you had a quality mare, there were tons of buyers on them.”
Taylor Made Sales Agency finished as the leading consignor of Book 1 by gross, with 37 horses sold for $14,245,000. Hill 'n' Dale at Xalapa, the buying entity Sikura used to sign tickets when buying out partners in the Elevage dispersal, was the leading buyer with four purchases totaling $4.8 million.
Justify was the leading covering sire of Book 1, with 10 pregnant mares selling for a combined $8.46 million. The top covering sire by average with more than one mare sold was Hill 'n' Dale Farms' Curlin, who had five mares bring an average of $1.1 million.
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