By Jessica Martini
LEXINGTON, KY – During a day of steady trade, Storm the Hill (Get Stormy) brought top price of $275,000 as Book 3 of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale opened Saturday in Lexington. The 3-year-old racing prospect, purchased by Mike Akers on behalf of Alastar Thoroughbreds, was one of three horses to bring $200,000 or more in the session. In all, 248 horses sold Saturday for a total of $15,313,000. The average was $61,746–almost idential to last year’s figure of $61,839–and the median remained constant at $47,000. Saturday’s buy-back rate was 26.84%. It was 35.06% a year ago.
“It’s pretty good trade,” Akers said. “Nothing is easy. Anything with proven produce is really tough and sire power is always a big factor as well.” Asked if he had found any soft spots in the market, Akers laughed, “I haven’t found them if there are.”
Bloodstock agent Mike Ryan went to $230,000 to secure the day’s top-priced weanling, a filly by first-crop sire Lea, from the St. George Sales consignment. The filly was purchased on behalf of an end-user and Ryan admitted a large number of end-user buyers was providing increased competition in the weanling market.
“A lot of end-users are buying weanlings,” Ryan said. “They feel they can come in here and not have to compete with the general yearling market and a lot of people are doing it. It makes it harder on the pinhookers, because they have a margin they have to work with.”
Of the overall November market, Ryan added, “The quality is selling very well. But we are seeing less and less of it available. People aren’t selling good mares, they’re keeping them. Mares with pedigrees, they want to keep them. And we’ve lost so much to overseas–like Japan–they’ve siphoned off so much quality in the last 30-35 years. But what quality is presented is selling really well.”
The Keeneland November sale continues through Saturday with sessions beginning daily at 10 a.m.
Storm the Hill to Race On
Storm the Hill (Get Stormy–Thornhill, by Good and Tough), a stakes winner and graded stakes placed since being catalogued for the Keeneland November sale, will be continuing her racing career in the colors of Lynn Alexander’s Alastar Thoroughbreds after selling for $275,000 Saturday in Lexington.
“They’ll go to the races and hopefully have some fun,” bloodstock agent Mike Akers said after signing the ticket on the 3-year-old filly. “We thought she would be $250,000-$300,000, so we were right in that range.”
Racing for Gary Barber, Silver Ranch Stable and Wachtel Stable, who acquired her from trainer/breeder Buff Bradley this past spring, Storm the Hill (hip 1570) won the Sept. 30 Unzip Me S. and was third in the Oct. 29 GIII Autumn Miss S.
“She is a lovely filly,” said Meg Levy, whose Bluewater Sales consigned Storm the Hill. “She came in and did what she was supposed to do–she won a stakes since the catalogue and then she was placed in a graded stakes. It’s what everybody wants. She vets, she’s beautiful.”
Of the decision to place the filly in Book 3, rather than in the horses of racing age section of the November auction, Levy explained, “You’re never sure what the situation is going to be. When she was placed in the catalogue, she hadn’t won a stakes yet and she had not been placed in a graded stakes, so all those things changed. Hopefully she’ll be able to move forward off of this for the new connections.”
Lea Filly to Ryan
A filly from the first crop of GI Donn H. winner Lea (First Samurai) sold for $230,000 to bloodstock agent Mike Ryan midway through Saturday’s fifth session of the Keeneland November sale. Consigned by St. George Sales on behalf of breeder Dell Ridge Farm, hip 1460 is out of the unraced Nippy (Pulpit), a half-sister to graded stakes winner Well Monied (Maria’s Mon), Grade I placed Economic Model (Flatter) and graded stakes placed Jimmy Simms (Lost Soldier).
“She is a special filly,” Ryan said after signing the ticket on the dark bay. “She’s just a beautiful filly with style, size, quality, presence and intelligence. I’ve seen four or five today by Lea and I was very impressed with them, but she was the standout.”
Ryan continued, “She was bought for an end-user and I told him that she would cost that much more as a yearling because she’s that special. After the next few days, Lea won’t be a secret because they are nice.”
Later in Saturday’s session, a colt by Lea (hip 1546) sold for $180,000 to Bloodstock Investments V. The stallion, who stands at Claiborne for $7,500, has had six weanlings sell at Keeneland this week for an average of $140,833.
Dell Ridge purchased Nippy, with this Lea foal in utero, for $180,000 at last year’s Keeneland November sale.
“We had bought her previous foal and pinhooked it,” Dell Ridge’s Des Ryan explained. “And I saw the mare last November and, since we had done well with the first foal, we decided to buy her.”
Nippy’s first foal is a colt by Data Link. Purchased for $47,000 as a weanling at the 2015 Keeneland November sale, he resold for $180,000 at last year’s Keeneland September Yearling sale before being purchased by Ryan for $185,000 at this year’s OBS March sale. The 5-year-old mare produced a colt by First Samurai last year.
“She is back in foal to Temple City,” Ryan said of the mare. “We haven’t decided who she’ll go to next year, but she throws a lovely foal. And this foal is obviously going to great people there. So we’re excited about that. It was good all around for everybody.”
Berglar Running on Faith
The 6-year-old mare Shannon Faith (Discreet Cat–Jessi Take Charge, by War Chant), in foal to Carpe Diem, will be joining the broodmare band at Stonereath Stud after farm owner Peter Berglar signed the ticket at $200,000 Saturday at Keeneland. The unraced bay is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes placed Northern Giant (Giant’s Causeway). Her second dam is Felicita, who produced Take Charge Lady (Dehere), dam of champion Will Take Charge and Grade I winner Take Charge Indy.
“The pedigree speaks for itself and we just hope it works out,” Berglar said of hip 1533.
Of Shannon Faith’s young covering sire, Berglar added, “I like Carpe Diem as a racehorse and he seems to produce lovely stock. We’ll hope she produces a nice foal and try to recoup the price next November.”
Shannon Faith was Berglar’s first purchase of the November sale.
“I’ve tried, but this is actually the first one I’ve bought,” he said. “The nice ones are making a premium and they deserve to.”
Shannon Faith was consigned by Hunter Valley Farm. SF Bloodstock purchased the mare as a 3-year-old for $180,000 at the 2014 Keeneland November sale. In foal to Pioneerof the Nile, she RNA’d for $300,000 at that auction last year.