Brisk commerce was the hallmark of business on the third day of Keeneland's September Yearling Sale, where spirited bidding among the industry's major buyers drove prices upward, led by the $1.1 million paid by Coolmore's M. V. Magnier for a colt from the final crop of the globally successful sire Scat Daddy. The session topper was one of three yearlings that brought $1 million or more today, increasing to 11 the number of seven-figure horses sold during sale's first three days.
Scat Daddy, who died unexpectedly in 2015, stood at Coolmore's Ashford Stud near Versailles, Kentucky. The international success of his progeny has made his yearlings highly sought after at this year's September Sale. A Scat Daddy yearling also topped the Tuesday session of the sale when a colt sold to Kerri Radcliffe Bloodstock for $950,000.
Today's session-topper, the first foal out of the Tapit mare Orchard Beach, is an Ontario-bred consigned by his breeder, Anderson Farms.
“I'm more than thrilled – I mean this is over the top,” David Anderson said. “It's my first million-dollar horse, and I couldn't ask for a better home for him. I just hope he goes on and does well for the connections. He's going to one of the greatest trainers in the world (Aidan O'Brien).
“As the momentum built the last day, a lot of the proper players in the game were looking at the horse,” Anderson added. “I felt like the stars were aligned for a big price, I just didn't know how much. (Scat Daddy) has been very good to me, and I got on the bandwagon late. He's just been a tremendous sire and I think it's evident with the prices of his yearlings.”
“He's very lovely. Looks like he's going to be a fast horse, very good mover. He's all quality,” Magnier said about the colt. “Mr. Anderson said he was the best horse he ever had on the farm, so let's hope he's right. It's a lot of money for a horse. But he's by the right sire that everybody wants, so I suppose he was entitled to it.”
Magnier partnered with Peter Brant's White Birch Farm to purchase a colt by Quality Road for
$1 million. Trainer Chad Brown signed the ticket for the colt, a full brother to multiple Grade 2 winner Blofeld. Out of the stakes-winning Storm Cat mare Storm Minstrel, he was consigned by Indian Creek, agent.
“We thought he was one of the nicest colts all week that we saw, and then we were happy to get him,” Brown said. “He's got a good pedigree. He's everything we're looking for.”
“Really nice horse, extremely well received,” Shack Parrish of Indian Creek said. “Today he really did everything right. I'd say (the price was) above what we were expecting – exceeded the reserve by a considerable amount.”
After bidding against each other for horses, Kerri Radcliffe Bloodstock and Eric Fein teamed to pay $1 million for a colt by Orb consigned by Dromoland Farm, agent. Out of the stakes-placed Dixieland Band mare Tally Ho Dixie, he is a half-brother to stakes winner Kyriaki and from the family of Grade 1 winners Stellar Jayne and Starrer.
“I think we liked everything about him,” Fein said, adding Todd Pletcher would train the colt. “The high-end horses are all going for a lot of money. It's come down to partnerships; otherwise, you're bidding against each other for crazy amounts.”
On Wednesday, Keeneland sold 194 yearlings for a total of $47,018,000, an average of $242,361 and a median of $180,000. Cumulatively, a total of 483 horses have sold for $149,414,000, for an average of $309,346 and a median of $220,000.
The RNA rate was 33 percent for the third session.
“A very good day,” Keeneland Director of Sales Operations Geoffrey Russell said. “Book 2 started off strong on Tuesday and continued through today. Having three million-dollar horses was a great bonus. The sires – Scat Daddy, Quality Road and Orb – are good North American stock but were bought by an international market.
“The new format (a single Book 1 session followed by a three-day Book 2) is doing what we wanted it to do. It continues to show the results we expected. Buyers have been very engaged all the way through and prices have been very good.”
A colt from the first crop of champion Will Take Charge sold to Willis Horton Racing for $975,000. Horton raced Will Take Charge in partnership with Three Chimneys Farm. Elm Tree Farm, agent, consigned the colt, who is out of the Bernardini mare Oblige and a half-brother to 2017 Grade 2 winner Hunter O'Riley.
“We were absolutely not expecting that much,” Elm Tree owner Jody Huckabay said. “We don't even wish that high. We knew we had a lot of people interested. He has always been a good one. We foaled him and raised him at (Elm Tree). The (catalog) update was huge. We were screaming at the TV when (Hunter O'Riley) was coming down the stretch (to win the Bowling Green-G2 at Saratoga on July 29).”
“This colt reminded (Willis Horton) a lot of Will Take Charge,” said Case Clay, chief commercial officer of Three Chimneys Farm, where Will Take Charge stands. “He's excited to have him; he'll go to Steve Asmussen to train. (The colt) just stood like a statue, did everything right throughout the whole process. Checked all the boxes. Jody (Huckabay) raises a good horse.”
For his family's Ruis Racing, Southern California-based trainer Mick Ruis spent $825,000 for a daughter of Pioneerof the Nile consigned by Four Star Sales, agent. The filly is out of the stakes-winning Bernardini mare R Gypsy Gold.
“Nice-looking filly,” Ruis said. “We always wanted to get a Pioneerof the Nile, so we got one.”
Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum's Shadwell Estate Company Ltd. paid $750,000 for a War Front colt from the family of Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Giacomo consigned by Claiborne Farm, agent. The colt is out of the Grade 3-winning Empire Maker mare Stanwyck.
“I'm really excited, but I loved him. He's special,” breeder Ramona Bass said. “He's going to a great place, so got to be happy with that, right? I spent a lot of money on the mare (sold for $2.4 million at Keeneland's 2014 November Breeding Stock Sale), and so I feel like it's important to try and make some of that money back. He's a colt and I'm kind of a filly gal, so that worked out well. I'm excited for (the new owners) and for him.”
Juddmonte Farms acquired a colt by Curlin for $725,000 from the consignment of Summerfield. Out of the winning Hennessy mare Sumptuous, the colt is from the family of Grade 2 winner Belle of Perintown, dam of Grade 3 winner Strike It Rich.
Keeneland-based trainer Wesley Ward purchased the third horse in the sale ring on Wednesday for $650,000. Out of the Lucky Roberto mare Misty Lady (ARG), a Group 1 winner in South America, the filly was consigned by Elm Tree Farm, agent for Stonestreet Bred & Raised.
“This was my pick of the sale for the Queen Mary (G2 at Royal Ascot),” Ward said. “I've won it a few times, and I'm looking for a filly to do that. Dr. Jim Hay (and his wife) Fitri Hay, he's the principal owner. I've been speaking with (breeder) Barbara (Banke of Stonestreet) many, many times, and soon to be shortly again to see if she'll come back in as a partner. But I love that filly. When you're talking that quality, I knew we'd have to pay dearly for her.”
Godolphin also spent $650,000 for a colt by Orb from the family of multiple Grade 1 winner Pure Clan. Consigned by Lakland Farm, he is out of the winning Pure Prize mare Pure Indy.
The leading buyer Wednesday was Mike Ryan, agent. He purchased eight yearlings for $2,575,000.
Lane's End, agent, was the leading consignor with sales of $4,345,000 for 19 yearlings.
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To view the sale results, click here
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