Lady Eli Shines As Keeneland November Opens

|

Lady Eli in the ring | Keeneland

By Jessica Martini, Brian DiDonato, and Christie DeBernardis

LEXINGTON, KY–The Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale opened with a single-session Book 1 section Monday in Lexington, and champion Lady Eli (Divine Park) stole the headlines when selling for $4.2 million to John Sikura of Hill ‘n’ Dale. During Monday’s session, 120 horses sold for $56,429,000. The average was $470,242 and the median was $350,000. Year-to-year comparisons would be inexact at this time considering Keeneland offered a larger two-day Book 1 last November.

“As we forecasted, there’s just continued strength in the domestic market here in the U.S. for high-quality offerings,” said Keeneland’s Vice President of Racing and Sales Bob Elliston. “Even at the top end, it was the Japanese and the domestic buyers. The Yoshida family, both Northern and Shadai [Farms] came in a big way… Across the board, there was real strength, and I think that’s going to foreshadow a solid sale from here forward.”

Japanese buyers, who started the sales week off aggressively at Fasig-Tipton Sunday, continued to be a strong presence on the results sheets Monday. Katsumi Yoshida was the session’s leading buyer, with four purchased for $4,475,000 and an average of $1,118,750.

“They have done a great job, as always, recruiting people from all corners of the earth to shop,” said Allaire Ryan of Lane’s End, which consigned the day’s second-highest priced lot in the $4-million My Miss Sophia (Unbridled’s Song). “I hope that continues over the next couple of books.”

A total of eight horses sold for seven figures during the opening session of the auction. During last year’s two-session Book 1, 17 horses brought seven figures, including sale-topping Stellar Wind, who sold for $6 million.

War Front, the leading sire at Keeneland September this term by yearling average, put on a dominant display, with five of the top seven-priced mares selling in foal to the Claiborne stallion.

There were 251 horses catalogued for Monday’s session of the November sale and 81 were withdrawn.

“We had a lot of outs,” acknowledged Elliston. “That’s an unfortunate byproduct of a really strong September [Yearling Sale]. When you kill it in September, like a lot of breeders did–when we were up almost $75 million–they don’t necessarily have to sell that horse. If they were on the fence as to whether or not they were going to sell, they can take them back and let them go on and be yearlings and see what they do then. With 800 head in Book 2 and 800 head in Book 3, there’s going to be strong, strong demand for those quality offerings. And there are a lot of quality offerings all the way through early next week… There are a heck of a lot of good horses still to go, and a lot of folks looking to fill their orders.”

The Keeneland November Sale continues Tuesday with the first of two Book 2 sessions beginning at 10 a.m. The auction continues through Nov. 16.

Lady Eli Heading Back to Hill ‘N’ Dale

Champion turf mare Lady Eli (Divine Park) (hip 111) has been at John Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm ever since a rough trip in last year’s GI Breeders’ Cup F/M Turf left her with mostly superficial wounds that led her to be scratched from last year’s November sale, and Sikura will be taking her back home thanks to a session and presumably sale-topping winning bid of $4.2 million. Sikura’s operation consigned the nearly $3-million earner on behalf of Sheep Pond Partners of Jay Hanley, Sol Kumin, et al. She was offered in foal to War Front on an Apr. 4 cover.

“I’m shocked and pleasantly surprised,” Sikura said. “I think she’s the best turf mare in a decade. I think she was exceptionally well-bought. It’s a lot of money, time will tell, but I would’ve thought she’d make way more money than that and I’m thrilled to own her. She has everything–she’s a big, beautiful horse; her courage is beyond reproach; every time she ran, she ran her eyeballs out. She’s a champion, she was great at two, [trainer] Chad Brown did an amazing job with her. For a man who’s had that many great turf horses, he called her the best turf horse he’s ever had. We’re thrilled to add her to our broodmare band. We keep adding elite-quality mares to keep up with the competition and look to the future. She’s a mare who’s really everything that one could ask for: courage, heart, class, ability, physicality, in foal to a great horse and carrying a colt. It’s a lot of money for a horse, but I thought she was extremely good value and we’re thrilled to own her.”

Sikura said there were no firm plans to take on partners on Lady Eli at the time of signing the ticket, but he wouldn’t rule it out.

Of his impressions of Lady Eli since she’s been at his Lexington nursery, Sikura said: “We’ve had her since after [last year’s] Breeders’ Cup. She’s indomitable. She has a no-nonsense approach. She tolerates people, but she knows she’s special. She commands her respect. She’s an elite mare, and we want to keep accumulating elite mares so we can keep selling elite commercial yearlings. This is a good place to start, when you buy champions.”

Hill ‘n’ Dale also sold this year’s $2.4-million Keeneland September topper (a War Front Colt) and $7.5-million Fasig-Tipton November topper Lady Aurelia (Scat Daddy) Sunday night.

“It’s rewarding, and it says a lot about the staff,” Sikura said. “[Lady Eli] couldn’t have looked any better. Her coat was perfect, weight perfect–quality, presence–she was turned out beautifully. Great job to our crew.” —@BDiDonatoTDN

Chapter Closes for Lady Eli Partners

When Jay Hanley paid $160,000 for a Divine Park filly at the 2014 Keeneland April sale, he couldn’t possibly have known the ride she would take him, Sol Kumin, his other partners and trainer Chad Brown on. The dark bay dominated the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita that October and increased her perfect record to six-for-six the following season in the GI Belmont Oaks Invitational.

After missing more than a year and nearly losing her life due to a bout with laminitis, Lady Eli returned to race eight more times, winning three Grade I events and garnering an Eclipse Award as champion turf mare last year. Set to sell here as a racing or broodmare prospect a year ago, she was scratched from the sale and officially retired in January before being sent to top sire War Front.

“In the last couple of weeks, it’s been very bittersweet thinking of her leaving our stewardship, but she owes us nothing at all–she’s given us the best ride we ever could’ve hoped for,” said Hanley after watching Lady Eli sell while seated next to Brown and sporting a Lady Eli Breeders’ Cup cap. “She was the first horse I bought for the partnership with Chad… She’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime individual. We couldn’t be happier that she’s found a new home, and we’re really happy that she’s going to stay at home here in Kentucky. We can come and visit her for generations with our kids, and that was one of our underlying goals. You can never [guarantee] that when you run them through the ring, but we’re really happy she’s staying home. All in all, it’s a very good sale for us. We don’t breed, so we made that decision a while ago that we were going to sell her. You’ve got to live with the way an auction goes, and we’re very happy that she’s going to be here so we can see her.”

Hanley admitted to being particularly nervous in the lead-up to Lady Eli stepping in the ring.

“We have a lot of horses that we run, and nothing compares to the butterflies I’ve always felt with her–especially after she came back from her illness,” the Nantucket-based principal of Hanley Construction and Development said. “It’s the same feeling I had in the back ring here. It’s amazing. I had horses running in the Breeders’ Cup just a couple days ago, and it’s not the same. Meaning as much as she means to us always gives me those butterflies. Now we can just visit her and enjoy her.”

Lady Eli is a half-sister to MGSW Bizzy Caroline (Afleet Alex). She hails from the female family of graded winners Changing Ways, Pays to Dream, Jacodra’s Devil, Jacodra and Tejano Run.

Her Grade I-winning sire has since been exported to South Korea.

“She had a great breeze, probably the best breeze in the sale,” Hanley said when asked to think back to when he bought Lady Eli. “But she was feisty–she had some attitude, and people knew it then. That day, I think I was the only bidder. But Chad told me he loved her breeze. She was by Divine Park, who wasn’t a very well-known sire or well accomplished, so we took a chance. It was the first horse I bought for our partnership, and we had a ball.”

While there had been some anxious moments, to be sure, throughout the Lady Eli saga, Hanley was pleased with how this chapter ended.

“It was kind of a long year, but we knew she was in very capable hands with John and his crew at Hill ‘n’ Dale,” he said, “We made the big decision last year when she came out of the Breeders’ Cup. I talked with Sol and Chad literally the next morning when we were all kind of walking out at Del Mar. She was pretty banged-up. A lot of it ended up being superficial, but it was to the point where we just didn’t want to put her through the sale experience. So, we knew we’d have kind of a long year waiting, but we were fine with it… It feels like kind of the last chapter in what’s been a really, really amazing novel.”@BDiDonatoTDN

Young Wins Out on My Miss Sophia

Bloodstock agent Steve Young made just one purchase at Keeneland Monday, but he made it count, winning a feverish bidding war to take home one of the auction’s most coveted offerings, My Miss Sophia (Unbridled’s Song), for $4 million. The 7-year-old mare (hip 147) is carrying her second foal by War Front.

“She is a great mare,” said Young, who was acting on behalf of an undisclosed client. “The term great is overused, I think, but she is a great mare. I was around her through most of her career. She was good for Todd [Pletcher], she was good for Billy Mott. She ran second in the [GI] Kentucky Oaks. Two weeks later I bought [her half-brother] Materiality (Afleet Alex) in Maryland. I didn’t buy him because of her, but she emboldened us to buy that horse. I just hope she is brave and lucky. We thought she was the best horse selling in November.”

My Miss Sophia’s $4-million price tag was second to only champion Lady Eli (Divine Park), also in foal to War Front, who topped the session at $4.2 million.

“I think you always wish they would bring less,” Young said. “When you compare to some of the horses in the last 48 hours and what they brought, that is what I thought she could possibly bring. With horses like that it depends on the underbidders and the room filled up when she got in there.”

He continued, “She has a War Front colt in her, so if he looks like she does, you could get even quickly, but she wasn’t cheap by any means.”

Bred by John Gunther, My Miss Sophia was picked up by Pletcher for $260,000 at Keeneland September for Mathis Stables. She won the 2014 GII Gazelle S. and finished second to champion Untapable (Tapit) in that year’s GI Kentucky Oaks. Acquired by Jon Clay’s Alpha Delta Stables for $2.15 million at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton November sale, the chestnut was transferred Mott, who tried her on turf, and she won an optional claimer and placed third in the 2015 GI Diana S. She produced her first foal for Clay’s operation this year, a filly by War Front.

Out of SW & MGSP Wildwood Flower (Langfuhr), My Miss Sophia is a half-sister to ‘TDN Rising Star’ and GI Florida Derby hero Materiality, a $400,000 EASMAY purchase by Young for Alto Racing. This is also the family of Grade I winners Afleet Express (Afleet Alex) and Embellish the Lace (Super Saver).

“We were delighted with her,” said consignor Lane’s End’s Allaire Ryan. “She exceeded our expectations. I do think she deserved to bring what she brought and it was just a perfect storm. Two people really, really wanted her and they were able to take her to that level, which is fantastic.”@CDeBernardisTDN

Blue-Blooded Tiffany’s Honour to Japan

The regally-bred Tiffany’s Honour (Street Cry {Ire}), a daughter of GSW & MGISP blue hen Better Than Honour (Deputy Minister), is headed to Japan after selling to Katsumi Yoshida for $2.2 million.

Consigned by Lane’s End on behalf of Don Adam’s Courtlandt Farm, Hip 221 is in foal to Medaglia d’Oro. Her second foal, a colt by War Front, summoned $1.1 million from the China Horse Club and WinStar Farm at the recent Keeneland September sale and she produced a Tapit colt this year.

“She has been a really good producer for him so far,” said Lane’s End’s Allaire Ryan. “We sold a million-dollar yearling out of her here in September and she has a good foal back at the farm. This is what we were hoping to get knowing that she will be a good commercial mare down the line. It worked out well for everybody in this case. Everybody is happy.”

Tiffany’s Honour is a half-sister to a pair of GI Belmont S. winners in champion filly Rags to Riches (A.P. Indy) and Jazil (Seeking the Gold). She is also a half-sibling to Irish Highweight Man of Iron (Giant’s Causeway) and GSW & GISP Casino Drive (Mineshaft).@CDeBernardisTDN

Lyon Determined for Key to My Heart

Jane Lyon, owner of Summer Wind Farm, saw what she wanted in Key to My Heart (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and went after it. The respected breeder determinedly fended off David Nagle of Barronstown Stud to take home the mare she called her “top pick of the sale” for $1.75 million.

“Well she just ticked all the boxes,” said Lyon, who did her bidding alongside Summer Wind Farm Manager Bobby Spalding. “She is by Galileo. I am expanding a bit into some European blood. I have tried in the past to get mares out of that family and did not get them. I am excited about the family and the fact she is in foal to War Front, carrying her first foal, is a no brainer. We are very excited.”

As for Hip 105’s price, Lyon said, “It was in the range I expected her to be, especially after last night’s bidding was so high. I am just happy to get her.”

Bred by Ireland’s Triermore Stud, Key to My Heart is out of GI Frizette S. heroine A Z Warrior (Bernardini), who is a half-sister to MGSW & GISP Jojo Warrior (Pioneerof the Nile); GSW & GISP E Z Warrior (Exploit); and MSW & GSP J Z Warrior (Harlan’s Holiday). A 1,300,000gns TATOCT yearling buy, the 4-year-old was purchased for 525,000gns back at Tattersalls in February and was consigned here by Eaton Sales.

The daughter of Galileo is in foal to War Front on a Mar. 18 cover and that cross has been very successful, producing the likes of Grade/Group 1 winners U S Navy Flag, Fog of War and Roly Poly.

Lyon has been quite busy over the past two days adding bloodlines that are both new and familiar to her elite broodmare band. The Arkansas native, who bought two mares at Sunday night’s Fasig-Tipton November sale, purchased two other mares at Keeneland Monday; Interrupted (Broken Vow) and Malibu Model (Malibu Moon).

A daughter of MSW & MGSP Alternate (Seattle Slew), Interrupted (hip 93), herself a stakes winner and GSP, is a half-sister to MGSW sire Alternation (Distorted Humor). She is carrying a foal by Distorted Humor.

While Interrupted is new to the Summer Wind team, Malibu Model (hip 134) was bred by Lyon and born on her farm. Out of MGSW and MGISP Runway Model (Petionville), the 5-year-old mare, who is in foal to Curlin, is a half-sister to dual Grade I winner McKinzie (Street Sense).

“McKinzie was a wonderful surprise,” Lyon said. “I paid a lot for the dam [$2.7m KEENOV ’06] and had her for a very long time, but she had not produced a horse like McKinzie before. When McKinzie came on the scene and won his first Grade I, I had a Liam’s Map filly, who I have chosen to keep. She is a yearling now. But, I had no other fillies out of her. Runway Model is now retired, so I thought I would like to have some of that bloodline.”

It’s been a banner year for Summer Wind Farm, both on the racetrack and in the sales ring. In addition to McKinzie winning his second Grade I, the Summer Wind-bred Game Winner (Candy Ride {Arg}) won all four of his races, three of which were Grade Is, and is set to become the operation’s first Eclipse winner after a victory in Friday’s GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Also, homebred ‘TDN Rising Star’ Chasing Yesterday (Tapit), a half-sister to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile), carried the Summer Wind colors to a black-type victory and Magic On Tap (Tapit–Aubby K) scored an impressive debut win for Lyon in California.

Summer Wind had an equally successful yearling sales season, topping the Fasig-Tipton July Sale with a Flatter colt out of homebred No Curfew and selling several youngsters in the $700,000 to $950,000 range at Keeneland September and the Fasig Tipton Saratoga Sale.

“Unbelievable,” said Lyon when asked how it feels to have such a successful year and to have bred her first Breeders’ Cup winner. “I never thought I would have. It is amazing and I just hope that this trend will continue. I know it can go backwards as quickly as it goes forwards in this business.”@CDeBernardisTDN

November Redux for Stays in Vegas

Graded stakes winner Stays in Vegas (City Zip), in foal to War Front, made her second straight appearance in a November sales ring Monday, selling for $1.5 million to Claiborne Farm’s Bernie Sams.

“She’s for a new client at the farm,” Sams said after signing the ticket on the mare at back.

Stays in Vegas, a $40,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase in 2014, raced for a partnership which included Jungle Racing, KMN Racing and LNJ Foxwoods. She won the 2016 GIII Senorita S. and was third in that year’s GI Matriarch S. and GI Del Mar Oaks. She was second in the 2015 GI Starlet S.

In foal to Curlin, Stays in Vegas sold for $1.45 million at last year’s Fasig-Tipton November sale. James Keogh made the winning bid on the mare on behalf of Evelyn Benoit. Keogh’s Grovendale consigned the mare Monday at Keeneland.

“We knew she was carrying a filly when we bought her,” Keogh explained of the 2017 purchase and the decision to sell the mare this year. “We have a very, very nice filly foal. It was a great way to get into a great family.”

Stays in Vegas (hip 208) is a daughter of Double Jackpot (Broken Vow), a half-sister to Grade I winner Persistently (Smoke Glacken). Her third dam is champion Heavenly Prize (Seeking the Gold).

Four of the top five-priced mares during Monday’s session of the Keeneland November sale sold while in foal to Claiborne’s War Front.

“There has been a lot of demand for them, but it isn’t all War Front,” Claiborne’s Seth Hancock said. “They were some awful nice mares. War Front has been [our franchise player] lately, but hopefully maybe Runhappy or Mastery or Lea or one of these young ones we have will come through. That’s what we have to keep hoping.” —@JessMartiniTDN

Northern Farm ‘Zips’ in for First Lady Winner

Zipessa (City Zip)’s signature win came at 16-1 in the 2017 GI First Lady S. here at Keeneland, and she lit up the board in Lexington once again Monday when Teruya Yoshida of Shadai Farm paid $1.25 million for her late in the KEENOV session. A $925,000 RNA at Fasig-Tipton November a year ago, the now 6-year-old had sold privately and visited Medaglia d’Oro in the interim.

“She’s a gorgeous filly–strong looking, good runner, good conformation,” Yoshida said.

A $30,000 weanling here the first time she sold in 2012, Zipessa was consigned by Archie St. George’s St. George Sales as hip 245.

“Any time you sell a million-dollar horse it’s very special,” St. George said. “A lot of the credit goes to the owners, SF Bloodstock, Tom Ryan and his team. Of course, I’d like to thank the buyers. She’s a lovely filly in foal to a very good stallion. There’s not a lot more to say, I guess.”

As for the market, he said: “It’s strong across the board, from weanlings to mares. We only had two go through today ourselves, but it’s a strong market and it’s very competitive at all ends. In this book, anyway.”@BDiDonatoTDN

Courtelis Gets Her Galileo

Irish Group 3 winner Pretty Perfect (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) became the third mare by her world-class stallion to reach the seven-figure mark when Louise Courtelis’s Town & Country Horse Farms stretched to $1.125 million to acquire the Eaton Sales consignee (hip 166).

The daughter of Australian GSW/G1SP Milanova (Danehill)–herself a half to MG1SW and sire Holy Roman Emperor (Ire)–was offered in foal to War Front after producing her first foal, a colt by the same stallion, earlier this season.

“We liked everything about her,” said Town & Country CEO Shannon Potter. “Ms. Courtelis has always wanted a Galileo mare, and we love War Front–we actually have [a breeding season] to him–so it was perfect for us. We’ve really been trying to get some European blood in our broodmare band. We aren’t here to really buy too many horses this year like we’ve bought in the past, but we really wanted to add one or two top-quality broodmares. We’re very happy to get her, and I’m very happy for Ms. Courtelis to get her Galileo mare. She’s got a big page to her.”

Potter, who said the price tag was at the limit of what the Town & Country team wanted to pay, continued: “[Ms. Courtelis] loves the European breeding. She’s got some favorites that she just loves. She really gets into the breeding aspect. She loves Sadler’s Wells, Danehill–all the old, European-style pedigrees–and she wants to get some of that stamina in her racehorses. We are racing a few more now than we used to, especially ones that we breed, so it’s perfect for us.”

Just a few hips after picking up Pretty Perfect, Town & Country scooped up GI Central Bank Ashland S. heroine Sailor’s Valentine (Mizzen Mast) for $800,000 in partnership with Pollock Farms. The racing or broodmare prospect was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, Agent LXXV as hip 177.@BDiDonatoTDN

Galileo’s Song to Japan

Multiple graded stakes placed Galileo’s Song (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), in foal to Curlin joined the long list of high-priced mares heading to Japan when selling to Yukio Shimokobe for $1 million during Monday’s opening session of the Keeneland November sale. The mare was consigned by Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency.

“Galileo is very successful in Japan, so why not?,” Shimokobe asked after signing the ticket on the mare (hip 71). “Curlin is a proven stallion, so everything in the catalogue is perfect on this horse. I saw her for the very first time this morning. We will bring her back to Japan and breed her to a good stallion like Deep Impact.”

Japanese buyers were a big part of the action during Sunday’s Fasig-Tipton November sale, with at least six of the 22 seven-figure horses heading to the Far East, including the $2.3-million Caledonia Road (Quality Road) and the $2-million A Raving Beauy (Ger) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}).

Galileo’s Song was purchased by the Justice family’s Dell Ridge Farm for $475,000 as a weanling at the 2013 Keeneland November sale.

“Her family, her pedigree,” Dell Ridge manager Des Ryan said of the bay’s appeal as a weanling. “She was a Galileo filly and we liked her. She did everything the right way. We thought we’d race her and she raced well for us.”

Out of Song to Remember (Storm Cat), Galileo’s Song is a half-sister to Grade I winner Magnificent Song (Unbridled’s Song) and to the dam of graded stakes winner Royal Obsession (Tapit).

Galileo’s Song was second in both the 2016 GIII Boiling Springs S. and the 2017 GIII Long Island H. She raced 10 times in the Dell Ridge colors, all on the turf, and hit the board seven times for earnings of $220,350.

“We decided the market was good right now and we would put her back on the market and test it,” Ryan said of the decision to return the mare to the Keeneland November sales ring. “So it’s all worked out well.”

Of the final price, Ryan said, “We thought right around there. We were happy with that, but we also thougth she might bring a little bit more possibly. She’s a young mare in foal to a very hot stallion. She’s by Galileo, so we knew she would appeal to a lot of different people worldwide. We’re happy.” —@JessMartiniTDN

Pope, Three Chimneys Team on Tapit Filly

Mandy Pope purchased Stopchargingmaria (Tale of the Cat) and her Pioneerof the Nile filly for $6.3 million from Three Chimneys Farm Sunday night at Fasig-Tipton. Pope teamed up with the nursery Monday at Keeneland to acquire a weanling filly by Tapit out of champion La Verdad (Yes It’s True) for $800,000. The weanling was consigned by Eaton Sales.

“She is very correct and she is a good, average sized filly–not too big or too small,” Pope said after signing the ticket on hip 116A. “So we think she’ll grow into a nice horse. I watched La Verdad run up in New York and always admired her. So we are very thankful to get her.”

Carrying the colors of Sheila Rosenblum’s Lady Sheila Stable, La Verdad won the 2015 GII Gallant Bloom H. and GIII Vagrancy H. as well as the 2014 and 2015 renewals of the GII Distaff H. She was second in the 2015 GI Breeders’ Cup F/M Sprint and was named that year’s Eclipse champion female sprinter.

The weanling, co-bred by Lady Sheila Stable and Vivien Malloy’s Edition Farm in New York, is the second foal out of La Verdad.

“I’m thrilled with who bought her,” Rosenblum said after watching the weanling sell while seated in the pavilion with Malloy and advisor Kerri Radcliffe. “This is my first introduction into actually selling a weanling. I guess I am a breeder now. It’s very exciting. I had no idea what to expect. It was a big chance, although she was beautiful, but I thought how many beautiful weanlings are there. So that’s why we decided to take a chance. [Eaton Sales’] Reiley [McDonald] and I had the exact same philosophy on this. We’d give it a shot and we’d see and she was worthy of it. I am very proud of La Verdad.”

La Verdad’s first foal, a filly by Medaglia d’Oro, RNA’d for $775,000 at this year’s Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Yearling Sale.

“She is doing beautifully,” Rosenblum said of the yearling. “She is at Bridlewood and all they can say is she is full of class. I haven’t even tried to get a partner on her. Truth be told, this is a business, but I was extremely attached to La Verdad’s first foal. So the rumor was that I named her La Kara Mia after my daughter, but [Monday’s sale] proves to everyone that I am actually a breeder. I am trying to sell. So I have to learn to let go.”

Asked if it was hard to watch the weanling sell, Rosenblum admitted, “Every time I got a little excited, Kerri would say, ‘No, Sheila, do not buy your horse back.’ But it’s pretty exciting. This is the big league.”

La Verdad is currently in foal to Curlin, while the champion’s half-sister and graded stakes winner Hot City Girl (City Zip), also owned by Rosenblum, is in foal to Bernardini. —@JessMartiniTDN

Cleary Buys Out Hill ‘n’ Dale on Arrogate Half

In June of 2017, just a few months superstar Arrogate (Unbridled’s Song) scored an unbelievable victory in the G1 Dubai World Cup, John Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale purchased 50% of the champion’s dam Bubbler (Distorted Humor) from breeder Clearsky Farms. During Monday’s opening session of Keeneland November, Clearsky’s Bernard Cleary bought out his partner, purchasing the first foal they bred together out of the mare, a weanling filly by Tapit (hip 28), for $750,000. Cleary signed the ticket as Clearsky Farm and Rac 04 Racing.

“She is a beautiful filly and obviously, we are familiar with the family,” Cleary said after being congratulated by Sikura, who consigned the filly. “We have a yearling filly be Into Mischief and a Giant’s Causeway 2-year-old [filly] out of the mare that we have high hopes for. Maybe they will add to the family in the future. We are excited.”

He continued, “We are not sure yet [whether we will race or sell]. We will make that decision at a later time. It is definitely a possibility. Like I said, we have high hopes for other fillies out of the mare that have yet to hit the track, so we will see.”

Bernard Cleary’s father, the late Eamon Cleary purchased Bubbler for $170,000 at the 2010 Fasig-Tipton November Sale. She hit it out of the park with her first foal Arrogate, who sold to Juddmonte Farms for $560,000 at Keeneland September and went on to win $17,422,600 on the racetrack, earning the title of North America’s richest racehorse. The gray rattled off four historic Grade I wins, shattering records in the GI Travers S.; defeating California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit) in both the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic and GI Pegasus World Cup; and going from last-to-first in Dubai.

Cleary did not think this weanling filly shared many similarities with her Eclipse-winning brother.

“I think she is pretty different, maybe a little bit immature right now, but hopefully she will make a nice yearling,” Cleary said.

Bubbler’s second foal is the now-3-year-old filly Osare (Medaglia d’Oro), who was purchased by Bridlewood for $300,000 and won the Dueling Grounds Oaks. She produced the aforementioned Giant’s Causeway and Into Mischief fillies in 2016 and 2017, respectively, who Clearsky still owns. Bubbler went through the ring at the 2016 Keeneland November Sale, just days after Arrogate won the Classic, and she RNA’d for $4.6 million with the Into Mischief in utero.

When asked what qualities the mare puts into her foals, Cleary said, “A lot of scope, balance and good minds. We have been really happy with pretty much everything she has produced so far. Obviously, we sold half of her, but that was the right decision because we believe in the mare quite a bit and are hopeful she can produce more good horses. Since Arrogate, Osare has come along, who is now a stakes winner, so we are excited to keep this filly.”

It has been a sensational past couple of years for Clearsky. In addition to Arrogate, the farm has also produced champion Abel Tasman (Quality Road), who they campaigned in partnership with China Horse Club; MGISW Lord Nelson (Pulpit), who now stands at Spendthrift; GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner New Year’s Day (Street Cry {Ire}) and his MGSW half-brother Mohaymen (Tapit); and GI Kentucky Derby runner-up Firing Line (Line of David).

Abel Tasman was retired Sunday after a disappointing effort in the GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff. The 4-year-old won six Grade Is during her three seasons on the racetrack, including two this year, and earned $2,793,385.

As for future plans for the star filly, Cleary said, “We need to discuss that with the China Horse Club. We haven’t made a firm decision at this point. We will settle that in a couple of weeks. We wanted to let the dust settle a little after the Distaff.”

He added, “Obviously her last race was disappointing, but she doesn’t owe us anything. She has been a champion for us, a Grade I winner at two, three and four, and a [GI] Kentucky Oaks winner. She really doesn’t owe us anything.”@CDeBernardisTDN

LNJ Finally Gets into Teeley Family

Agents Alex Solis II and Jason Litt tried to get into the highly-coveted family of hip 58 on behalf of client LNJ Foxwoods at the blockbuster 2014 dispersal of Muzaffar Yaseen’s Teeley Assets at the Magic Millions National Sale. While they struck out there, they scooped up a War Front weanling filly from the family Monday a bit closer to home. The $525,000 Mar. 7 foal was consigned by Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency and bred by the Elevage II partnership of Hill ‘n’ Dale and Glen Hill Farm’s Craig Bernick.

“She’s a really athletic-moving filly,” said Solis. “This is a family we actually tried to buy into–we couldn’t buy a mare from it in Australia at the dispersal, and we’ve been waiting. Now we’ve done it with a War Front filly, so here we go.”

Hip 58’s dam Drifting Cube (Aus) (Encosta de Lago {Aus}) was picked up for A$1.1 million out of the same Teeley dispersal. Her now 2-year-old full-brother Captainofthebounty was the top-priced weanling at the 2016 renewal of this sale thanks to a $1.45-million bid from Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier. He was most recently second in Dundalk maiden company Friday.

Drifting Cube is a full-sister to brilliantly fastTDN Rising StarRubick (Aus). The MGSW stands at Coolmore Australia and his oldest foals are juveniles. This is also the female family of legendary sire Redoute’s Choice (Aus) and other Group 1 winners Manhattan Rain (Aus), Platinum Scissors (Aus), Shoals (Aus), etc.

“I think she’ll be in California,” Solis said as to where hip 58 would likely race. “They love the firm grass, the War Fronts. This is a family that’s really versatile. If she misses a year later on as a broodmare, we can send her to Australia and they’re going to love this page. Rubick looks like he can hit [as a stallion], too, so we’ll see how it goes.”–@BDiDonatoTDN

Not a subscriber? Click here to sign up for the daily PDF or alerts.