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Book 1 Finishes With a Bang at Keeneland September

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Record-setting hip 498 | Keeneland photo

by Jessica Martini, Brian DiDonato & Christie DeBernardis

LEXINGTON, KY – Book 1 of the Keeneland September Yearling sale finished with a flurry Wednesday as bidders sparred on high-dollar horses from start to finish. When the dust settled, an $8.2-million American Pharoah half-sister to Into Mischief, Beholder and Mendelssohn stood out as the clear session, Book 1 and highly probably sale topper. Mandy Pope of Whisper Hill Farm outlasted a determined Sheikh Mohammed of Godolphin to take home the bay filly, who was consigned by her breeder Clarkland Farm as hip 498.

For the session, 124 head changed hands for gross receipts of $65,082,000 at an average of $524,855 and median of $375,000. The buy-back rate was a paltry 18.95%.

While it would be difficult and inexact to compare year-over-year statistics until the completion of Book 2 on Saturday (last year’s KEESEP format featured a four-day Book 1, while this year’s was only three days), the numbers stand on their own as undeniably strong. For the entirety of Book 1, 457 yearlings sold for a combined $160,463,000. The average was $471,950 and median was $355,000. The Book 1 RNA rate was 26.09%.

“I think I’d describe today’s session as the cherry on top of the sundae that is Book 1,” said Keeneland’s Vice President of Sales and Racing Bob Elliston. “That was the way to close out a book. I don’t know if I have been through a session like we had today. That was memorable. Clarkland Farm, boy, they raise a pretty nice filly. That mare is something. She is a 23-year-old mare and some people say you can’t sell foals out of older mares. I think they disproved that… Congratulations to Mandy Pope. She was tenacious. She was not going to let that filly go somewhere else. What a tremendous part of an incredible session that was.”

Twenty horses in Book 1 brought seven figures, and 61 sold for $700,000 or more.

“It has just been incredible,” Elliston continued. “It just speaks volumes to the breeders that brought these horses here and what we continue to say, which is Keeneland September is where the world comes to shop for the very best horses.”

Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin was leading buyer with 16 purchases for a combined $16 million in Book 1. Taylor Made Sales Agency led all consignors with 61 sales for $23,475,000. Curlin topped all sires by gross ($18,825,000 for 27 head) and Medaglia d’Oro led all sires by average with more than one sold ($739,063 for 16 yearlings).

“Everybody knew coming into it, it was going to be tough,” bloodstock agent Jacob West said of the market. “I think [Fasig-Tipton] Saratoga was a little bit of a benchmark for what the standard was going to be. You knew coming into here, when you saw a quality product, it was going to bring a lot of money. We knew coming into it, it was going to be strong. You heard rumors that Sheikh Mohammed was going to come and you can’t be more excited for when he does show up. That man changes people’s lives in the sales ring. He carries the sale and he has an incredible presence here. As an American, I’m just excited that he is over here supporting us.”

Buyers and sellers will get a chance to catch their breath a bit on Thursday’s dark day, before sessions start at 10 a.m. each day from Saturday to next Sunday, with each subsequent book spread out over two sessions.

The format change from last year seems to be generating mostly positive feedback.

“What we heard from last year was we need fewer horses up front because we really want to get around and do our due diligence and have the confidence to step up when the auctioneer is calling for bids,” Elliston said. “That certainly appears to have happened. They have responded to that. Now we are moving into Book 2 and we want to make sure that they have time to look at the Book 2 horses. We don’t want them to be without horses to see, so we are going to evaluate the right timing of those shows. The next two sessions have 365 horses apiece of really quality animals and there is a whole lot of money sitting on the sidelines still, people who couldn’t get in there in Book 1. I think we are going to see some fireworks still on Friday and Saturday.”

Visit www.keeneland.com for complete results and more.

Pope Queen of the Hill for Leading ‘Lady’

Whisper Hill Farm’s Mandy Pope is best known for her purchases of high-priced off-the-track racemares like $10-million Havre de Grace and $9.5-million Songbird, but she got started early this year in adding to her star-studded broodmare band when fending off the likes of Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin team and Spendthrift’s B. Wayne Hughes to secure hip 498, a blue-blooded daughter of American Pharaoh, for $8.2 million. That was the most ever paid for a yearling filly at Keeneland September by $3.8 million and tied for fourth all time in KEESEP history. The Apr. 25 foal was offered by her breeder Clarkland Farm, and is a half-sister to Spendthrift’s Grade I-winning super sire Into Mischief (Harlan’s Holiday) and its four-time champion and future Hall of Famer Beholder (Henny Hughes); as well as $3-million KEESEP ’16 topper, GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner and G2 UAE Derby romper Mendelssohn (Scat Daddy), who recently completed his first year at stud at Coolmore.

“[She has] a lot more pedigree than some of them, but she doesn’t have the race record yet,” said Pope, referring to her other holdings. “So, we’ve got a lot of racing to do… I have my own training center now, so she’ll go [there] and we’ll break her and we’ll have a track to train her [on] and get her really ready to go. It’s a whole new addition to the farm.”

Pope, who was joined by advisor Todd Quast while bidding and who was sitting across an aisle in the sales pavilion from Hughes and his team, said she had not yet decided on a trainer for the filly.

“You can’t fault her,” Pope said, admitting that she expected to pay closer to $4 million for the filly. “She’s perfectly balanced, she’s gorgeous, she’s not too big, not too small. Obviously, we’re hoping that Beholder hits it as a broodmare. She certainly has tremendous value should she not get to the races for whatever reason. Like everything else, it’s a big gamble; fingers crossed, lots of prayers and wish us well.”

Wednesday’s expenditure could mean Pope will be a bit less active at the November breeding stock sales.

“[Hip 498] was the only thing I really wanted, so this is probably going to put us out of shopping in November,” she said. “I think I pretty much went through my broodmare budget for November.”

Whisper Hill partnered with Three Chimneys Farm to secure the $2.6-million second topper at this sale in 2017, a now winning colt named Gun It (Tapit).

Pope said Quast was trying to hold her back from going too high on Wednesday, but she wasn’t stopping.

“I was persevering, and he was trying to hold my hand still,” she said. “He was getting pretty adamant about it, but I’m getting older and going through the final phases of my life, and this is what I’m going to do. We’ve got lots to look forward to and lots to go, we’ll get our training center off to a good start. We’re good.” —@BDiDonatoTDN

The Dream Continues for Clarkland

The story of Clarkland Farm and their life-changing mare Leslie’s Lady (Tricky Creek) has been told many times before, but Wednesday’s $8.2-million sale of her American Pharaoh filly marked another important chapter in her legacy.

“I don’t have any words,” said Clarkland’s Fred Mitchell. “It’s something we haven’t seen in many years, especially for a filly to top the sale… It’s unreal. But, in my opinion, this was the best individual the old mare has ever had. Can you believe a 22-year-old mare had something like this? But Leslie’s Lady, she still thinks she’s 12 or 13 years old.”

When asked to describe hip 498, Mitchell said, “She’s just been special from the time she hit the ground. She was born with muscle, she was correct when she was born and she just has such a mind on her, it’s unreal. When I watch her compared to Beholder and Mendelssohn growing up, it looked like she had Beholder’s sprinting speed in her because when the other fillies came to her out in the field and were running, she was like ‘I’ll see ya’ and had another gear. She’s just been special since Day One.”

Clarkland paid $100,000 for Leslie’s Lady carrying an Orientate filly at the 2006 Keeneland November sale, and her value soon skyrocketed when her Harlan’s Holiday colt of 2005, Into Mischief, annexed the GI CashCall Futurity the following year before eventually emerging as one of Kentucky’s best sires. Beholder was a $180,000 graduate of this sale in 2011, and her long list of accomplishments was capped by a narrow score over Songbird in the 2016 GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Leslie’s Lady’s commercial appeal seemed to really take off after Beholder–the Curlin colt who came a year after her brought $300,000, and a Curlin filly foaled in 2013 cost $1.1 million.

“It’s something we never dreamed of in our life,” said Mitchell, who operates Clarkland with his wife Nancy, their daughter Marty Buckner and her husband Matthew Ernst. “We dream of breeding a nice horse and this is what it’s all about for the little consignors and the small guy. The farm has been in the family since 1774 and it’ll be there for the children for the rest of their lives. We’re keeping two fillies out of the old mare, this is the last one to sell out of her. The fillies will stay there for the kids and grandkids.”

Leslie’s Lady produced a filly by Not This Time May 6, and was bred back to Kantharos for 2020.

Mitchell added, “One of the biggest highlights of selling a horse that I ever had was when we sold Mendelssohn and [Keeneland Director of Sales] Geoffrey Russell brought the gavel out there in a trophy case and presented it to Clarkland. That was something we’ll always remember… and maybe we’ll get another one.” —@BDiDonatoTDN

Ryan Hoping He Found More ‘Magic’

With the dust finally settling in the pavilion following the explosive $8.2-million sale of an American Pharoah filly out of blue hen Leslie’s Lady, a son of Pioneerof the Nile (hip 519) with a pair of talented sisters charged things back up, selling to bloodstock agent Mike Ryan for $2.1 million. Ryan was acting on behalf of Bob Edwards’s e Five Racing and said the colt would join his MGISW half-sister and ‘TDN Rising Star’ Guarana (Ghostzapper) in Chad Brown’s barn.

“We are hoping he is as good as this horse up here,” Ryan said pointing to his Good Magic hat. “He is a different color, but he reminds me of him in his mechanics, his movements, his aura, his demeanor. He is young. He is a May foal, but he is beautifully made, effortless actually. He has a stallion’s pedigree and he is by a great, great sire. The mare is unbelievable. His sister Guarana went from a maiden, to the [GI] Acorn S., to the [GI] Coaching Club American Oaks. The 2-year-old is pretty good too. Based on the way market is going, we thought it would take that kind of money to buy him.”

Ryan continued, “He is an American horse, he is a dirt horse and he is a horse who is bred to go 1 1/4 miles. He looks like he will run as a 2-year-old though. He is not a big, heavy horse. He is naturally lean and athletic.”

Hip 519’s dam Magical World (Distorted Humor) hails from a deep Phipps family. Her dam is GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff heroine Pleasant Home (Seeking the Gold) and she shares a female family with MGISWs Point of Entry (Dynaformer) and Pine Island (Arch).

Three Chimneys acquired the mare privately and Guarana was her second foal. Tabbed a ‘Rising Star’ after a 14 3/4-length tour-de-force in her Keeneland debut in April, the sophomore followed suit with good-looking scores in the Acorn and CCA Oaks. Her juvenile half-sister Magic Dance (More Than Ready) also earned ‘Rising Star’ status after an impressive unveiling at Churchill Downs June 7 and she captured the Debutante S. there June 29. The bay overcame a bad start to finish third in Saratoga’s GII Adirondack S. last time Aug, 4.

“He is a special horse,” said Three Chimneys principal Goncalo Torrealba. “We have two half-sisters to him who are the real deal.”

The late Pioneerof the Nile has had a strong showing at the September sale with 17 of his offspring summoning $9,605,000 million for an average of $565,000. @CDeBernardisTDN

Al Shira’aa Continues Building Its Empire

Al Shira’aa Stables continued to add impressively bred fillies to its stables Wednesday at Keeneland, with bloodstock agent Shawn Dugan going to $2 million to acquire a filly by Empire Maker. The yearling, a half-sister to last year’s champion juvenile filly Jaywalk (Cross Traffic), was bred and consigned by Antony Beck’s Gainesway.

“We are speechless,” Dugan said after signing the ticket on hip 485. “We are so happy. We really, really wanted her. She is a top physical and a half-sister to a champion.”

Of Al Shira’aa, Dugan said, “We are over 40 horses now, most are in France, but it’s a global operation and very forward-thinking people.”

Dugan has now signed the ticket on six yearlings this week at Keeneland, all are fillies. The group includes a $900,000 daughter of Tapit (hip 325); a $750,000 daughter of Curlin (hip 325); and a $485,000 filly by Ghostzapper (hip 500).

“They want to start up a broodmare band and they are not Series B people at all, this is top of the line,” Dugan said. “They have the highest quality and their own education and their own way of thinking and their own way they run their businesses. And I’m just absolutely the luckiest person on the planet to have a small part in what they are doing.”

The Empire Maker filly is out of Lady Pewitt (Orientate). In addition to 2018 GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Jaywalk, she is also a half to Danzatrice (Dunkirk), who was a multiple stakes winner and graded placed in the Gainesway colors.

“It’s a really great result for Empire Maker,” Gainesway’s Brian Graves said. “Antony had bought this mare privately quite a while ago and bred Jaywalk. This was a very nice filly around May and June of this year and she has just gotten better every single day up to this point. There were many agents we showed her to earlier in the year and they couldn’t even hardly recognize her. She’s just getting better every day.” @JessMartiniTDN

Coolmore, Kelly Team Up for Pharoah Colt

The Coolmore contingent and California-based owner Sarah Kelly added to their respective holdings of progeny by Triple Crown-winning freshman sensation American Pharoah Wednesday as they partnered to take home hip 382 for $1.3 million. The May 13 foal was consigned by Hunter Valley Farm, which acquired him for $340,000 as a Keeneland November weanling.

“We’re absolutely delighted to get that horse,” Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier said. “He’s going to go to Bob Baffert. He was very high on the horse, and says that he’s better than a couple very good American Pharoahs from [Tuesday’s session]. We run [TDN Rising Star] Monarch of Egypt (American Pharoah) in the [G1 Juddmonte] Middle Park [S. at Newmarket Sept. 28] and Aidan [O’Brien] is pretty confident in him. American Pharoah is going so well at the moment, so let’s hope he’s lucky for everyone involved, including Mr. and Mrs. Kelly.”

With the help of agent Jamie McAlmont, Jon and Sarah Kelly acquired an $875,000 American Pharoah–Connie and Michael filly and a $340,000 War Front colt during Tuesday’s KEESEP session (see Kellys Grab Pharoah Filly). Agent Donato Lanni purchased a $425,000 Quality Road filly for Sarah on Monday.

“We loved the horse and we just knew he’d be very expensive, so we just thought it would be better to team up with them,” said McCalmont. “They’ve teamed up with horses together in Australia, so it’s not a new thing. We’re very excited to have a horse like that.”

McCalmont added “It must be American Pharoah fever, eh?” before revealing that that would probably be the final buy for the Kellys at this sale.

The Kellys are active members on the racing and sales scene in Australia–Jon Kelly bought the A$2-million topper at the 2018 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale (see Kelly Back for More Magic).

Hip 382 hails from the highly coveted and potent female family that traces back to Broodmare of the Year Courtly Dee and has produced the likes of Baffert-trained GI Breeders’ Cup Classic hero Bayern. Dam Escampette’s prior foal, now named Noble Order (Union Rags), was a $210,000 graduate of this sale and is in training in California with the silver-haired Hall of Famer.

“It was a brilliant, brilliant result,” said Hunter Valley’s Adrian Regan after thanking hip 382’s buyers. “We’re delighted. As a weanling, we thought he was the best foal on the grounds. [As a May foal], he’s only going to get better.” —@BDiDonatoTDN

Lows Go High for Curlin Colt

Domestic buyers began to be more of a presence at the top of the results sheet during Wednesday’s final Book 1 session of the Keeneland September sale, with bloodstock agent Jacob West going to $1.2 million to secure a colt by Curlin on behalf of Robert and Lawana Low.

“We waited around on him–we did our inspections early, saw him early, and we fell in love with him,” West said after signing the ticket on hip 431. “We passed on some others, which I don’t think we would have had the money for anyway based on how the sale has gone. But we waited around on him because he was one of our favorites.”

The chestnut colt is out of Grazie Mille (Bernardini) and is a half to GI Hollywood Derby winner Mo Town (Uncle Mo). His second dam is graded winner Molto Vita (Carson City). He was bred by John Gunther and Eurowest Bloodstock and was consigned by Gunther’s Glennwood Farm.

“He’s by Curlin out of a Bernardini mare and he’s a half to a Grade I winner, he comes from a big family and was raised by incredible people,” West said of the yearling’s appeal. “The guys at Glennwood do an incredible job. So that gives you a lot of confidence to buy off of them, they have a proven track record. You hope that he’s a big two-turn dirt horse. He’s a May foal, looks like a framey horse who will grow into himself. There is a lot of upside here.”

The yearling was the fifth seven-figure yearling of the week for Hill ‘n’ Dale’s Curlin.

“Curlin is an incredible stallion,” West said. “He does things that not a lot of horses can do. He was an incredible racehorse and he’s passing that on to his offspring. It seems like they are dirt, turf, short, long, it’s showing up in the sales ring and on the racetrack.”

Gunther purchased Molto Vita for $24,000 at the 2000 Keeneland November sale. Her daughter Grazie Mille made only two starts, breaking her maiden for trainer Chad Brown in 2013. Mo Town, the mare’s first foal, won the 2017 GI Hollywood Derby. Courtlandt Farm purchased her Uncle Mo filly for $875,000 at Keeneland September last year.

“He’s a big strong-looking horse and he had a great walk,” Gunther said of hip 431. “He is a half to a Grade I winner. He was just special, we thought he was one of our best in the consignment that we brought over.”

Gunther admitted he was emotional watching the youngster sell.

“It takes a lot out of you–you fall in love with these animals and I don’t know whether to be sad or happy,” he said. “I loved the horse; my daughter [Tanya] loved the horse. I think she’s in tears. It’s always tough.”

Grazie Mille had no reported foal in 2019, but was bred back to the Gunther-bred Triple Crown winner Justify this spring. @JessMartiniTDN

Qatar Racing ‘Keen’ On Medaglia d’Oro Colt

Sheikh Fahad Al Thani’s Qatar Racing went to $1.2 million to acquire a Medaglia d’Oro colt out of GSW Keen Pauline (Pulpit) (hip 472) Wednesday at Keeneland. Bloodstock agent Ben McElroy signed the ticket seated alongside trained Simon Callaghan, Sheikh Fahad and his racing manager David Redvers.

“Physically, we thought he was one of the top horses in the sale,” said Callaghan. “We knew he was going to be around $1 million and we were lucky to get him. He is a very good horse.”

Qatar Racing also purchased a $1.05-million son of Pioneerof the Nile Monday (Hip 174).

“We have about eight or nine for [Qatar Racing],” Callaghan said. “Sheikh Fahad is upping his racing interests in America. He is spending more time in California, so he wants to go after these high-end colts. We are going to go down the road of the [GI Kentucky] Derby, we hope.”

When asked why Sheikh Fahad was increasing his American presence, Callaghan said, “I think his Californian wife has something to do with it.”

Consigned by Gainesway on behalf of breeder Stonestreet Stables, hip 472 is the first foal out of GII Black-Eyed Susan S. winner Keen Pauline. A fellow Stonestreet homebred, the 7-year-old mare produced a Curlin filly earlier this year.

Barbara Banke’s operation has been red hot at Keeneland this week, selling seven yearlings for $10.225 million. @CDeBernardisTDN

Colebrook Crew Step Up for Medag Filly

Trainer Ben Colebrook has seen the quality of his stock rise significantly over the past few years, and he continued with that mission Wednesday while assisting owner Mike Ball in the purchase of hip 420, a filly by Medaglia d’Oro, for $1.1 million. Consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency on behalf of Aaron & Marie Jones LLC, the bay miss was signed for as New River Equine, a relatively new entity that includes Ball and his wife K.K., who bred and campaigned the Colebrook-trained MGSW and $1.8-million earning sprinter Limousine Liberal (Successful Appeal).

“We liked the filly, thought she was a very good walker–liked the way she moved and she was probably our pick of the sale,” said Colebrook. “We knew she was going to be expensive–we knew we’d have to stretch–but we really liked the filly, liked the pedigree and thought she was an athletic filly. She’s something we wanted to get in the barn and try to race.”

While Colebrook said that this was his first time being involved with a seven-figure purchase, he wasn’t far off from that mark 12 months ago. New River purchased a trio of yearlings at last year’s sale for a combined $1.625 million, including a $900,000 Tapit filly. See Colebrook Concentrating on Quality for more.

As for the price paid Wednesday, Colebrook said, “A million was kind of where we thought we’d be. I knew she’d be in that $800,000 to $1-million range, and in this market you’ve got to stretch for what you want. It’s very strong.”

Hip 420 is the first foal out of Gloryzapper (Ghostzapper), who took the 2016 GIII L.A. Woman S. sprinting at Santa Anita. The Mar. 6 foal boasts some strong influences on her dam’s side: Ghostzapper was responsible for the dam of Triple Crown winner Justify; second dam Grand Glory is by leading sire Distorted Humor (broodmare sire of Arrogate, Elate, etc.); and her stakes winning and Grade I-placed third dam is by In Excess (Ire), who also produced the dam of GI Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming.

Grand Glory sold to WinStar Farm for $650,000 carrying a full-sister to Gloryzapper at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton November Sale. The resulting foal was an $850,000 yearling here last year and was fifth in her Del Mar debut last month. —@BDiDonatoTDN

Powerhouse Trio Strikes for Blue-Blooded Curlin Colt

Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier, Mike Repole’s Repole Stables and Vinnie Viola’s St. Elias Stable joined forces for the third time this week to acquire a high-priced colt from a good family in hip 428, a $1-million Curlin son of Grade I winner Got Lucky (A.P. Indy). The powerhouse group also purchased a $1.5-million full-brother to MGISW New Money Honey (Medaglia d’Oro) (hip 185); and a $725,000 son of Uncle Mo (Hip 120). Later in Wednesday’s session they teamed up for a $675,000 son of Uncle Mo (hip 494) and a $325,000 colt by Into Mischief (hip 465), bringing their Book 1 total to five colts.

“I trained the mother. She is a Grade I winner,” said trainer Todd Pletcher after signing the ticket while flanked by Magnier and Repole’s adviser Edward Rosen. “It is a tremendous family and I am familiar with the family. He is by a world-class stallion. He is a very athletic colt, good mover, a classic, stallion prospect. He has everything we are looking for.”

Other members of the colt’s female family conditioned by Pletcher include GI Kentucky Derby hero and WinStar stallion Super Saver (Maria’s Mon), fellow WinStar colorbearer Bluegrass Cat (Storm Cat) and the St. Elias-owned GSW Nonna Mela (Arch) and GSP Nonna Madeline (Candy Ride {Arg}).

Bred by Hill ‘n’ Dale and Philip Steinberg like her son, Got Lucky won the GI Juddmonte Spinster S. in 2015 as well as the GIII Molly Pitcher S. Third dam Get Lucky (Mr. Prospector) is responsible for the likes of GISW Girolamo; and GSWs Accelerator and Daydreaming, who is the dam of GISW Imagining. Hip 428 is the second foal out of Got Lucky, who produced a Curlin filly named Make a Wish Feb. 24 of this year and was bred back to Horse of the Year Arrogate.

Curlin has been on fire throughout Book 1 of Keeneland September with 27 yearlings selling for $18.825 million–leading sire by gross receipts–good for an average of $697,222.

“It made him attractive,” Pletcher said of Hip 428’s sire. “I had [MGISW] Palace Malice early on, so I have been a fan of Curlin from the beginning. We’ve had a good year with Vino Rosso winning the [GI] Gold Cup at Santa Anita for Mr. Viola and Repole, so they are fans of Curlin as well. If you can get into a family like that by a world-class stallion with a colt that looks like that, that is what we are trying to do.” @CDeBernardisTDN

Bell Secures Well-Related Twirling Candy

Cromwell Bloodstock’s Gatewood Bell signed the $950,000 ticket on a well-bred son of Twirling Candy Wednesday on behalf of a partnership focused on colts. Bell did not name all the partners, but indicated Everett Dobson and the Roth family’s LNJ Foxwoods were part of the group. Hip 414 was bred, raised and consigned by the Hancock family’s Stone Farm.

“Where he was raised,” Bell said when asked what he liked about the colt. “He is an athletic horse. The mare has done it and the farm has done it. Arthur [Hancock] has liked the colt since they day he was born, so that is good enough for me. He has a couple of good half-brothers. That doesn’t hurt.”

Hip 414 is the most expensive yearling sold at public auction for Lane’s End’s Twirling Candy. When asked his thoughts on the sire, Bell said, “I actually love Twirling Candy. He is on an upward trajectory. Hopefully sons of Candy Ride (Arg) are firing.”

A son of stakes winner Ghost Dancing (Silver Ghost), the gray colt is a half-brother to this year’s GI Santa Anita Derby hero Roadster (Quality Road), a $525,000 KEESEP buy, and GI Woodford Reserve Manhattan S. victor Ascend (Candy Ride {Arg}). He is also a half to GSP Moro Tap (Tapit).

“We were hoping for it, but you never can tell,” Stone Farm’s Lynn Hancock said of the colt’s price tag. “We just love the colt. We were really happy with the result. We love the mare. The family has been good to us. He has been a very cool horse from the start and he has done really well up here.”

She added, “You can only hope they get into good hands. We are happy and grateful to the buyers.” —@CDeBernardisTDN

‘Quality’ Sale for Braddock

Anthony Braddock made a nice score Wednesday when a Quality Road colt (hip 436) he bred under his Two Hearts Farm banner brought a winning bid of $900,000 from China Horse Club and WinStar Farm’s Maverick Racing.

Consigned by Legacy Bloodstock, the Apr. 10 foal is out of a half-sister to WinStar homebred, graded stakes winner, TDN Rising Star and stallion Speightster (Speightstown), whose first crop of foals are yearlings. This is the stacked female family developed by Sam-Son Farm of Dance Smartly, Smart Strike, et al. Braddock paid just $70,000 for dam Haylie Brae (Bernardini) in foal to Shackleford at the 2015 Keeneland November sale.

Legacy’s Tommy Eastham gave all the credit to Braddock, who has a farm in Paris, KY, for selecting the mare: “Anthony Braddock is a longtime horseman, and really understands pedigrees, and matings and genetics. He really studies that end of it. I kind of take care of the physical end and he takes care of the genetic end. So, we’ve been a good team.”

The Shackleford filly Haylie Brae was carrying in 2015 was a $35,000 FTKOCT yearling. Her Summer Front colt was bought back for $145,000 last September.

“We had him out over 300 times, and he had a lot of vet activity,” Eastham said of hip 436. “He never lost his mental fortitude–never found the bottom of him. He was just unique in the way that he gained weight during the process. He just separated himself. We were just blessed to have him. Manny, who runs the farm out there, does a fabulous job and brought him in well prepared. Arsenio, my showman stayed with him and he performed beautifully. We really love him and I’m glad he’s going to a really good home.”

The colt is bred on the same Quality Road–Bernardini cross as this year’s GI Alabama S. winner Dunbar Road.

“We were–when you have that much activity, you kind of expect it,” Eastham said when asked if he expected that kind of price. “Anthony Braddock’s conservative, so I told him I thought [we should expect] a certain number, and he said, ‘Well, let’s go half of that [when setting the reserve].’ We knew we had considerable interest in him, so we knew it wouldn’t come down to the reserve on him.”

Braddock paid just $35,000 for horse of racing age Fioretti–also by Bernardini–at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton July sale. Co-campaigned with Don Janes, she pulled off a 17-1 upset in the 2015 GII Thoroughbred Club of America S. at Keeneland.

“He’s been in the game a long time,” Eastham said of Braddock. “It’s good to see a guy like that who has put so much into the game, and has been so good to the horses and so good to the community do well.” —@BDiDonatoTDN

Uncle Mo Colt Pays Dividends for Dailey

Nestled among a bevy of high-priced tickets early in Wednesday’s session of the Keeneland September sale was a colt by Uncle Mo who brought a final bid of $900,000 from the partnership of Robert LaPenta’s Whitehorse Stables and Bridlewood Farm. LaPenta’s racing manager John Panagot signed the ticket on the yearling, who sold as hip 419 and was consigned by VanMeter-Gentry Sales.

The result was a pinhooking success for Renee Dailey, who purchased the bay as part of a pinhooking partnership for $450,000 at last year’s Keeneland November sale.

“We are ecstatic about that sale,” Dailey said. “He was very mature and balanced as a weanling and he was an exceptional mover. He has stayed exactly as he was, but he’s just grown bigger and he’s stronger. He’s did everything right from the day that we had him. He just grew into what we hoped for when you spend that much on a pinhook.”

Out of Gloomy I’m Knot (D’wildcat), the yearling is a half-brother to stakes winner and graded placed Fusaichi Red (Fusaichi Pegasus).

“He was our highest-priced pinhook ever, for me putting partnerships together,” Dailey admitted. “Tom [VanMeter] loved him when he saw him, he was his favorite foal of the short list that we had developed. So we went strong and bought him. And then there is a lot of pressure for the next few months over that.”

Of expectations for Wednesday’s sale, Dailey said, “This is a tough game and coming into the sale, we knew what we paid for him and we knew that he was the horse that we thought he would turn out to be. And then you have to feel out the market. He was very popular and had all the right people on him. I think he was purchased right. He is a fabulous individual.” @JessMartiniTDN

Mischief Pays for Dilger

Gerry Dilger admitted he had a place at his Dromoland Farm for any offspring of Into Mischief and the horseman’s admiration for Spendthrift’s hot sire paid dividends in the sales ring at Keeneland Wednesday. Dromoland sold a pair of pinhooking prospects by Into Mischief during the session and recognized a profit on both. Hip 532, a bay colt out of stakes placed Mary Rita (Distorted Humor), was purchased for $375,000 at this year’s Keeneland January sale and sold Wednesday for $850,000 to Godolphin.

“He was a nice, neat horse, well put together, I thought,” Dilger said of the yearling. “I thought he would go on and do well and he did.”

Dilger was forced to $500,000 to acquire an Into Mischief colt out of the unraced Nest Egg (Eskendereya) (hip 565) at Keeneland last November.

“He was a big, rangy type,” Dilger said. “A different type altogether.”

Asked if there was extra pressure in paying that much for a pinhooking prospect, Dilger said, “But I wasn’t alone the day I bought him. I wasn’t lonesome. There were plenty of people there for the colt. It’s a little worrying at times, but you have to go on and do it. Otherwise, he’d have been in somebody else’s barn today.”

Into Mischief has set the racetrack and sales ring alight this year and Dilger said of the stallion, “Every day, you open up the paper and he has winners. All over. He’s an every-day horse, he’s a weekend horse, winners, winners and winners.”

Asked what he thought when looking over a catalogue of weanlings by Into Mischief to potentially pinhook, Dilger said, “Hopefully, they’ll come to Dromoland.” @JessMartiniTDN

St. Georges Double Up

Archie and Michelle St. George sent a pair of pinhooking prospects through the sales ring at Keeneland Wednesday and came away with two outstanding results. The couple’s Dudley Racing pinhooking partnership purchased a colt by Kitten’s Joy (hip 445) for $250,000 at this year’s Keeneland January sale. Sent back through the Keeneland ring Wednesday, the yearling brought a final bid of $700,000 from Shadwell Estate Company. Later in the session, a filly by Empire Maker (hip 525), purchased for $240,000 at Keeneland last November, sold for $500,000 to Tommy Town Thoroughbreds.

“Any time you get that kind of money for a horse, you have to be happy,” Archie St. George said. “It’s a lot of money. We’re ecstatic.”

The Kitten’s Joy colt is out of Illegal Search (Officer), a half-sister to graded placed Third Chance (Kafwain) and Zulu (Bernardini).

“He was just really classy and he walked really well,” St. George said of the colt’s appeal. “Kitten’s Joy is an outstanding stallion. He just seems to do it all over the world, every weekend. Thanks to Shadwell for buying him and we wish them the best of luck.”

The Empire Maker filly is out of Mama Kay (Mineshaft), an unraced sister to Grade I winner Dialed In and a half to Broadway Gold (Seeking the Gold), dam of graded winner Broadway’s Alibi (Vindication).

“All the credit has to go to my wife. She picked her out,” St. George said of purchasing the filly last fall.

St. George said he targets to pinhook some 20 weanlings to yearlings a year, but he admitted buying weanlings last fall was challenging.

“It was tough last year, the prices for foals were quite high,” he said. “It’s nice when you get it right. It makes up for the ones you lose on. It was definitely tough last year, but when you have days like today, it makes up for the mistakes and it’s pretty satisfying.” @JessMartiniTDN

It’s In the Walk for Campion

Padraig Campion saw promise in a Candy Ride (Arg) colt at Keeneland in January, and he saw it mostly in the short-yearling’s walk. He purchased the bay for $52,000 and watched as that promise developed over the subsequent eight months before the youngster sold for $490,000 to China Horse Club and Maverick Racing Wednesday in Lexington.

“He was a little immature and he didn’t look good,” Campion explained of the yearling. “But he had a great walk and that’s what attracted us to him.”

Hip 543, the only horse sent through the ring by Campion’s Blandford Stud Wednesday, is out of Miss Catomine (Bernardini), a daughter of champion Sweet Catomine (Storm Cat).

“He’s gotten much stronger and filled out,” Campion said of the yearling’s development. “But he still has the walk. The walk might even be better.”

Asked if Wednesday’s result exceeded expectations, Campion laughed and said, “It was beyond my wildest dreams. And I’ve had some wild dreams.” @JessMartiniTDN

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