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KEESEP Powers On As High-Demand Book 3 Concludes

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Hip 2119, a colt by Quality Road, led the way Monday at Keeneland | Keeneland photo

By Jessica Martini

LEXINGTON, KY – The Keeneland September Yearling Sale concluded its two-day Book 3 section with a day of frenetic bidding Monday in Lexington. A colt by Quality Road became the day’s highest-priced offering when selling to bloodstock agent Justin Casse for $625,000. The yearling was one of five to sell for $400,000 or over on the day.

A total of 524 yearlings sold in Book 3–which encompassed the auction’s sixth and seventh overall sessions–for a gross of $56,781,500. The average was $108,362 and the median was $80,000. The buy-back rate was 29.1%.

With a slightly different format a year ago, the 2018 Book 3 was held over the auction’s seventh and eighth sessions and saw 560 yearlings sell for $41,963,900. The average was $74,936 and the median was $50,000. The section’s top price was $450,000 and there were five yearlings to sell for $400,000 or over.

Bidding was still fast and furious late Monday evening when Casse made his session-topping buy, securing hip 2119 from the KatieRich Farms consignment.

“I am surprised by the demand that is still here,” Casse said. “I’ve been selling some and trying to buy some. You’ve got to be prepared to pay for the ones you like. Generally, you’ve got to jump through all the hoops and do everything right, but I’m finding that even horses that make three out of four hoops, or who check most of the proverbial boxes, are getting done for a good price. We have probably the best high-end market that we’ve ever had, so there is going to be a trickle down from there. It’s nice to see. I just hope it stays this way for a little while. It doesn’t even have to get better–if it just stays this way for a little while.”

Greg Goodman’s Mt. Brilliant Farm led consignors with more than one sold on the day by average. The operation sold four yearlings for an average of $350,000, including a $500,000 son of American Pharoah. Goodman echoed many consignors who felt Book 3 was a good place for their yearlings to stand out.

“I love Book 3,” Goodman said. “We just felt really good about Book 3. We thought they would stand out more here. I think if you have a decent horse, the buyers are here. This whole sale has been incredible the whole way through. And I guess a lot of people didn’t get what they wanted in Book 1 and 2 and they are still here. So we’re happy about that.”

The first consignment of Everett Dobson’s Candy Meadows Sales had its biggest sale to date when selling a filly by Nyquist for $425,000.

“It’s all about the product,” said Candy Meadows Senior Vice President Matt Lyons. “If you have the right one, they are here for it. And it doesn’t matter what book. I think it shows the strength of the market. Books 1 and 2 were strong and a lot of people didn’t get horses, so now the good ones might be sticking out a little bit more and people are zeroing in on them.”

With six sessions still to go, the September gross passed the $300-million mark Monday, with 1,309 yearlings selling for an aggregate of $314,829,500. This is the third straight year the sale has passed that milestone. Prior to the 2017 edition, the last time the auction hit that mark was 2008–the year of the global economic crash. The 2018 gross of $377,130,400 was the highest since 2007.

The Keeneland September sale continues through Sunday with sessions beginning daily at 10 a.m. For complete results, visit www.keeneland.com.

Casse Calls for Back-Up on Quality Road Colt

As Book 3 steamed aggressively towards its conclusion Monday evening at Keeneland, bloodstock agent Justin Casse made the day’s highest bid, going to $625,000 to acquire a colt by Quality Road. Casse admitted he had to make a quick call to extend his budget before ultimately signing the ticket on hip 2119 in the name of Team Casse.

“I was given a budget and, once it went past that, I had to make a late phone call,” Casse said. “As the horse got closer up and I got to see him more, he really presented himself well and he looked the part, so I had a feeling that he was going to bring a little more than we had first hoped. But he’s a Quality Road and we’re in the second day of Book 3, so he’s going to stand out like a sore thumb. The pedigree is going to stick out pretty well here. It’s an active female family by one of the best sires in the world and he came from a good farm. I think he’ll be a beautiful horse once he gets into training.”

Bred and consigned by KatieRich Farms, the yearling is out of multiple stakes winner Miss Red Delicious (Empire Maker) and is a half to graded winner Nootka Sound (Lonhro {Aus}).

“He was a standout here,” KatieRich’s Tammy Ingebritson explained of the colt’s placement in Book 3. “He was a very nice colt, probably a little immature for Book 1. So he just looked like he would be the right type for Book 3. He got a lot of attention here.”

KatieRich owner Larry Doyle was enjoying the standout sale and gave credit for the success to the farm’s staff.

“The team works very hard and it’s great to see their efforts rewarded,” Doyle said. “It was very nice.”

Tiznow Colt to Winchell

A colt by Tiznow jumped to the top of the results sheets Monday at Keeneland when selling for $525,000 to David Fiske, racing manager for Winchell Thoroughbreds.

“We thought he was the nicest one in today,” Fiske said after signing the ticket on hip 1941. “We had not bought a Tiznow yet this week, so we had to fill a slot. We had bought one by everyone else practically, just not a Tiznow.”

The bay yearling is out of the unraced Catch the Moon (Malibu Moon), who also produced Grade I winner Girvin (Tale of Ekati) and graded winner Cocked and Loaded (Colonel John).

He was consigned by Warrendale Sales as agent for Stonestreet Bred and Raised. Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet purchased Catch the Moon, in foal to Shanghai Bobby, for $240,000 at the 2015 Keeneland November sale.

On its own and in partnership with Phoenix Thoroughbreds, Ron Winchell’s Winchell Thoroughbreds has been active all week at Keeneland.

“He will have been the 12th one that we’ve bought this week,” Fiske said. “I think he fits in with all our other ones this week. He was a little tough to buy. He was a little bit higher than I thought he’d be. But the other highest price of the day was $500,000, so I kind of figured he’d be right around $400,000 to $500,000.”

Winchell partnered with Phoenix Thoroughbreds on an $875,000 Into Mischief colt (hip 488) and a $375,000 son of Tapit (hip 879) earlier in the week. The operation also bought a filly by Uncle Mo (hip 378) for $450,000.

Fiske said he wasn’t surprised by the continued demand as the September sale entered its second week.

“It seems like every year there are a couple of individuals in the later books that are really nice and for some reason, either the consignors thought they would stand out in the later books, or whatever, they go in later.”

Fiske added a 13th yearling to his Keeneland haul Monday, going to $230,000 to acquire a colt by Constitution (hip 2000).

Glass in Action for Wests

A colt by American Pharoah is joining the racing stable of Gary and Mary West after the couple’s bloodstock advisor Ben Glass went to $500,000 to acquire the yearling bred and consigned by Mt. Brilliant Farm Monday at Keeneland.

“We like American Pharoah,” Glass said after signing the ticket on hip 1895. “We actually just had an American Pharoah born in Australia yesterday, a half-brother to Fighting Mad (New Year’s Day). We like the family and we like the colt. He looks like he’ll take a lot of training–he looks like a tough son of a gun.”

West homebred Fighting Mad won the GIII Torrey Pines S. at Del Mar in August. Her dam Smokey’s Love (Forestry) produced her first Australian-bred foal with a son of Tapit in 2017.

Hip 1895 is out of You Make Luvin Fun (A.P. Indy), a half-sister to graded winner Classic Elegance (Carson City) and to the dam of GI Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can, whose yearling colt by War Front sold for $2.9 million during Book 1.

Glass has now purchased 18 yearlings–all colts–on behalf of the Wests this week at Keeneland for a total of $5,480,000. In addition to the American Pharoah colt, Glass signed for a Quality Road colt (hip 470) for $535,000.

“It’s been tough here all the way through,” Glass said of his September bidding assignments. “Mr. West went far on a lot of horses and they just kept going, they never quit. The partnerships are tough to outrun. If you lead a good one in there, it’s tough. We…really weren’t going to buy that many this year. But we found some colts that we liked and Mr. West said to keep going.”

Later in Monday’s session, Glass purchased a pair of colts by Candy Ride (Arg), going to $250,000 for hip 2066 and $105,000 for hip 2081.

Nyquist Filly Draws a Crowd

Richard Rigney, bidding out back alongside trainer Phil Bauer, went to $425,000 to acquire a filly from the first crop of GI Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist for his Rigney Racing stable Monday at Keeneland.

“She just looks like a racehorse,” Bauer said of hip 2054. “She looks precocious and fast. And she seemed to have a good mind on her.”

The bay yearling, bred and consigned by Everett Dobson’s Candy Meadows, is out of the unraced Is It Safe (Yes It’s True), a half-sister to Grade I winners Justin Phillip (First Samurai) and Greenpointcrusader (Bernardini), as well as graded winners Keyed Entry (Honour and Glory) and Algorithms (Bernardini).

Of the filly’s final price, Bauer said, “It seems like for the good ones, you’re going to have to give a little more than you probably want.”

Rigney and Bauer signed for the filly under the name J.C.M., which was also the name on the ticket for four other yearlings this week, including a Liam’s Map filly (hip 1676) for $295,000. Rigney Racing was the name on the ticket for a filly by Ghostzapper (hip 534) for $350,000 and an Into Mischief filly (hip 1038) for $280,000.

“We’ve bought a few,” Bauer confirmed. “We think [hip 2054] might be the best. You never know what you’re going to run into in these later books. Hopefully she’ll turn out to be what we hope she is. She’ll go to Bill and Gene Recio in Ocala and probably come to us at Churchill in the spring.”

Dobson purchased Is It Safe, in foal to Hard Spun, for $275,000 at the 2016 Keeneland January sale. Her Hard Spun colt sold for $100,000 at the 2017 Keeneland September sale and the mare herself, with the Nyquist foal in utero, RNA’d for $150,000 at that year’s Keeneland November sale.

The September sale has marked Candy Meadow’s first-ever consignment and the farm recognized its highest result with the Nyquist filly.

“It felt great, but we had a high-value product there,” said Candy Meadows senior vice president and COO Matt Lyons. “She was a beautiful filly and I think she was perfectly placed in Book 3. She’s been an absolute queen the last couple of days. She showed 100 times yesterday and she showed close to 60 times today. A lot of very, very good judges had vetted her and that made us feel pretty good coming up here. You never know for sure when you come up to the auction ring what they’re going to bring, but we felt good about the judges that were looking at her. Thankfully, she realized a great price and we’re very pleased.”

Bernardini Colt to Speedway

Bloodstock agent Marette Farrell continued buying yearlings for Peter Fluor and K.C. Weiner’s Speedway Racing Monday at Keeneland, going to $425,000 to take home a colt by Bernardini (hip 2086). Farrell made her biggest of five September purchases for the group when going to $1 million for a colt by Candy Ride (Arg) (hip 1062) last Friday.

Hip 2086 is out of Listen (Chester House) and is a half-brother to Grade I winner La Coronel (Colonel John). He was bred by Kim and Rodney Nardelli and William Werner and was consigned by Nardelli Sales.

“We loved him from the day he was born,” Kim Nardelli beamed after the sale. “We knew he was special. We were hoping to get close to that [price], but we are very happy that he made it. We wanted Book 3–we wanted to be a big fish in a small pond.”

Red Oak Strikes for Uncle Mo Colt

Red Oak Stable co-owner Steve Brunetti, bidding out back alongside the farm’s Rick Sacco and Barry Dolan, went to $380,000 to acquire a flashy colt by Uncle Mo in partnership with Newtown Anner Stud Monday at Keeneland.

“He’s very well-balanced and we’ve had a lot of luck with Uncle Mo–we had a Grade I winner with Unbridled Mo, and of course, King for a Day,” Sacco said of the yearling’s appeal. “We loved everything about him and he checked all of our boxes.”

Bred and consigned by Mt. Brilliant Farm, hip 1801 is the first foal out of Secret Someone (A.P. Indy) who was a two-time stakes winner and third in the 2016 GIII Modesty H. for Greg Goodman’s operation. The mare is a daughter of Private Gift (Unbridled), whose Into Mischief filly sold for $750,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale in August. She is also a half-sister to the dam of recent GI Alabama S. winner Dunbar Road (Quality Road).

Secret Someone produced a filly by Candy Ride (Arg) this year and was bred back to Into Mischief.

Red Oak has enjoyed plenty of success with its homebreds in recent years. Unbridled Mo won the 2018 GI Apple Blossom H. and sophomore King for a Day has won two stakes for the farm this year. Mind Control (Stay Thirsty), winner of last year’s GI Hopeful S., recently added the GI H. Allen Jerkens S. to his resume.

Hip 1801 was Red Oak’s fifth purchase of the Keeneland sale. The operation, founded by the late John Brunetti, Sr. and now run by his sons Steve and John, Jr., also purchased a colt by Into Mischief (hip 1258) for $360,000; a filly by Union Rags (hip 1687) for $190,000; and a Carpe Diem filly (hip 1040) for $170,000.

“We are starting to [buy more yearlings],” Sacco said of the buying spree this week in Lexington. “We have a lot of homebreds. Steve breeds all of our mares and we are a boutique stable. We have eight broodmares and we are trying to fill some gaps. Right now, we don’t have a strong crop of yearling colts, we have six or seven yearling fillies and hardly any colts. So everything we’re doing, we’re trying to do everything a little better. We’re upgrading all of our stock.”

Red Oak also partnered with Newtown Anner to acquire a colt by Tiznow (hip 208) for $420,000 at this year’s OBS April 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale.

“We had partnered with them in the April sale with a Tiznow colt, so we partnered with them we again. We have two-thirds and they have a third,” Sacco said of the partnership.

Timely Update for Runhappy Colt

When James Keogh first sent a colt by Runhappy out of True Kiss (Is it True) through the Keeneland sales ring, the youngster RNA’d for $145,000 as a short yearling this past January before selling privately to Jim and Katie FitzGerald. Eight months on, the bay is now a half-brother to speedy graded winner Shancelot (Shanghai Bobby) and his stock was decidedly on the rise when he sold for $360,000 during Monday’s session of the Keeneland September sale. Bloodstock agent Susan Montanye, bidding alongside trainer Steve Asmussen out back, signed the ticket on the colt on behalf of Bill and Corinne Heiligbrodt.

“He was a smashing horse,” Keogh said of the yearling (hip 1866). “He was raised by Chip Muth over at Glendalough Farm. He owns the mare. I RNA’d the foal here in January and Jim, a very good friend, came in and bought the foal off of me. He raised him on his Chilly Bleak Farm in Virginia.”

Of the FitzGeralds, Keogh added, “They pinhook about six or eight a year and they have about 15 broodmares.”

Shancelot, a $50,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling turned $245,000 OBS March juvenile, romped by 12 1/2 lengths in the GII Amsterdam S. and was just nipped at the wire when third in the Aug. 24 GI H. Allen Jerkens S. In addition, the colt’s half-sister Sweet Kisses (Carpe Diem) was a maiden winner at Saratoga in July.

“The pedigree sure has,” Keogh said when asked what had changed since January. “The update was huge. I would fully expect the 2-year-old half-sister to win a Grade I and Mr. [Jorge] Navarro has done a fabulous job with Shancelot. I think we’ll see him back in the [Dec. 26 GI] Malibu S., I think that’s what he’s calling for.”

The Heiligbrodts certainly know something about speedy types. The couple campaign GI Forego S. winner Mitole (Eskendereya), who heads to stud at Spendthrift next year.

“He looks like a fast, early, precocious horse,” Montanye said of the yearling. “He was bought for the Heiligbrodts and he quite fits their program.”

Whether the yearling will be reoffered for sale next year or race in the Heiligbrodts’ colors is still to be determined, according to Montanye.

“We’ll get all these horses home and broke and going,” she said. “Most of everything is offered in the 2-year-old sales. We’ll just see how he comes along. He might just go right to Steve. I’m not sure yet.”

 

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