$1.7m Three Witches Highlights Book 2 Finale at Keeneland November

Three Witches | Keeneland

by Jessica Martini & Christina Bossinakis

LEXINGTON, KY – Three Witches (Into Mischief) provided the highlight of a workaday Book 2 section of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale when selling for $1.7 million Friday in Lexington. Book 2 opened with a uneven session Thursday at Keeneland, but activity was more consistent throughout Friday's Book 2 finale.

“It was a solid day of trade,” said Keeneland's Vice President of Sales Tony Lacy. “From start to finish, it felt a little more consistent and healthy today. Yesterday was a little bumpy, the clearance rate was a little higher than we probably would have liked, but today was a lot more consistent.”

Through the two Book 2 sessions, 444 horses sold through the ring for a total of $69,520,000. The section's average of $153,599 was down 15.1% from the 2022 Book 2 figure, while the median fell 20%.

“There is certainly a little bit of an adjustment through the marketplace, but I think everyone felt pragmatic about it,” Lacy said. “I think it was an encouraging day. The money is still here for the right horses.”

Consigned by Indian Creek on behalf of Bob Edwards's e Five Racing, Three Witches brought the section's top price when selling for $1.7 million in the name of Rifa Mustang Europe, Ltd.

“Quality mares, young mares, well bred with the right breeding and not overly exposed, were highly desirable,” said Lacy. “I think that's been the consistent theme that we've seen so far. When we saw Three Witches go through for $1.7 million going to a client that is pretty established internationally, that's really encouraging. We are seeing that international investment still here.”

Justify, who had a pair of winners on Breeders' Cup weekend, was represented by the top two weanlings during Friday's session. Paul Sharp went to $525,000 for a daughter of the Triple Crown winner and AAA Thoroughbreds acquired a colt for $425,000.

The Keeneland November sale continues through Nov. 16 with sessions beginning daily at 10 a.m.

Three Witches Stars at Keeneland Friday

Three Witches (Into Mischief) (hip 936), just a week removed from a third-place finish in the GI Breeders' Cup F/M Sprint, became the 12th seven-figure filly of the Keeneland November sale when selling for $1.7 million to the internet bid of Rifa Mustang Europe, Ltd. The 4-year-old is expected to stay in training in the U.S. next year.

“She'll stay here in America and we'll try again on the racetrack,” said Keeneland Australian representative Barry Bowditch. “For a mare that raced five days ago, in one of the strongest Breeders' Cup races of the week, she looked so well and handled the trip back so well. You just feel that the best of her racing is yet to come. It will be great to have a new investor racing horses here in America.”

Bowditch said a trainer is still being discussed for the filly's 2024 campaign.

Bloodstock agent Mike Ryan purchased Three Witches on behalf of Bob Edwards's e Five Racing for $350,000 at the 2020 Keeneland September sale. Trained by Saffie Joseph, the dark bay earned a trip to the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita with a win in the GIII Princess Rooney S. in October.

“It's always a hard decision [to sell] when you have something special that's won a Grade III and you drop her in the Breeders' Cup and, at 30-1, she hits the board,” Edwards said. “We believed in her and Saffie did a phenomenal job suiting her up and getting that Princess Rooney win for us and getting to the Breeders' Cup. That was all Saffie.”

Of the decision to send the graded-stakes winner through the ring at Keeneland, Edwards said, “I have a fair number of mares now. I have graded-stakes-winning mares on the roster and I figured I would move some inventory and see what happens next. We need to make room for up-and-coming stars.”

Edwards admitted Three Witches' $1.7-million price tag was above expectations.

“I was super excited with that result,” he said. “We knew there would be interest, we knew she would be the big horse for today. Keeneland did a phenomenal job. Chip McGaughey and his crew did a great job recruiting her and obviously bringing in the buyers. We were super happy with the job they did and the outcome was phenomenal. I wasn't expecting $1.7 million, but I was very happy to get it.” @JessMartiniTDN

Sharp Splurges for Justify Filly

Paul and Sarah Sharp, sitting in a back row of the sales pavilion, went to $525,000 to acquire a weanling filly by Justify (hip 975) from the Elite consignment Friday at Keeneland. The filly was the day's highest-priced weanling.

“We have been trying to buy really nice horses like that from the beginning of the sale and across town [at Fasig-Tipton] as well,” Paul Sharp said. “It's been really hard.”

Paul Sharp | Keeneland

The bay filly is out of Ada Lovelace (Algorithms), a half-sister to sprint champion Mitole (Eskendereya) and to Grade I winner Hot Rod Charlie (Oxbow).

“That was a legit family and a very athletic, really nice filly by one of the best sires in the world at this time,” Sharp said. “I feel like that justified the price and we are very happy to have her. It was a little higher than we wanted to go, honestly, but we are running out of bullets.”

The weanling was bred by Villa Rosa Stables, which purchased Ada Lovelace for $110,000 at the 2021 Fasig-Tipton November sale.

“Right now, the plan is to sell her back next summer,” Sharp, who signed for the filly as CSWV, said. “We're not sure where, but that's the plan.”

CSWV purchased another daughter of Justify Friday at Keeneland, going to $290,000 to acquire hip 793 from the Paramount Sales consignment. Through three sessions, the partnership has purchased five weanlings for $1,295,000. @JessMartiniTDN

Justify Colt to AAA Thoroughbreds

Randy Hartley and Dean DeRenzo's AAA Thoroughbreds, which has been busy buying weanlings from the Fasig-Tipton November sale Tuesday and into the first week of the Keeneland November sale, purchased a colt by Justify (hip 855) for $425,000 Friday in Lexington.

Hip 855 | Keeneland

“He's just a beautiful horse,” said Hartley. “We are big fans of Justify. When Scat Daddy passed away, we never dreamed that we would have another stallion that could replace him, let alone a Triple Crown-winning son of his. We came here in September and tried to buy every one that we could get our hands on. We bought, I think, six of them in September. We came here with the same goal in mind and the [Justify's two winners at the] Breeders' Cup just did it for us. He's the kind of stallion we haven't seen in a long time. I know Gun Runner got off to a really good start, but it looks like Justify is going to follow in the same suit.”

The chestnut colt, consigned by Hill 'n' Dale at Xalapa, is out of Saralin (Curlin), a half-sister to graded winners Salutos Amigos (Salute the Sarge) and Sarah's Secret (Leroidesanimuax {Brz}). He was bred by Orpendale, Chelston, Wynatt, and Kaleem Shah.

Shah and M.V. Magnier purchased Saralin for $1.3 million at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream sale. She made just one racetrack appearance and her first foal, another colt by Justify, sold for $300,000 at this year's Keeneland September sale. The mare proceeded her weanling into the ring, selling not mated to Shah for $285,000.

Through three sessions, AAA Thoroughbreds has purchased 14 weanlings for $4,370,000. A filly by Curlin (hip 151) leads the operation's acquistions with a price tag of $550,000. Earlier in Friday's session, it acquired another colt by Justify (hip 812) for $250,000.

“I just had a big order for babies–I needed about 20,” Hartley said. “I buy some for Tom Durant in Texas. He likes buying babies because he feels like he gets a little bit of a discount. This colt might have made $600,000 or $700,000 as a yearling. He feels he can save a little if he can get some nice babies. Some [that we are buying here] will be for pinhooking and some will go to him in Texas.”

Also Friday, AAA Thoroughbreds added to its collection of weanlings by first-crop sire Yaupon. With the addition of a filly (hip 733) for $300,000, the operation has now purchased three weanlings by the Spendthrift stallion for $1.15 million. @JessMartiniTDN

Colt By Nyquist Goes For $385K at KEENOV

With the market continuing to remain competitive for weanlings, a colt by Nyquist (Hip 893) reached $385,000 at Keeneland Friday. Baroda Stud's David Cox signed the ticket on behalf of Goodwill Bloodstock. Hunter Valley Farm consigned the bay colt.

The Feb. 10 foal is out of the Bernardini mare Spa Treatment, a daughter of SW and GISP Silver Knockers (Silver Deputy) and a half-sister to SW Manipulated (Malibu Moon). This is the extended family of Grade I winner Joe's Tammie (Zoning).

“He's a real athlete, a great cross,” said Cox. “Hopefully, he'll be resold [pinhooked] next year. [Nyquist] is proven, and has good runners. We tried to buy a few more, but we got beat plenty, so we're delighted to get him.”–@CbossTDN

Charlatan Colt Brings $370K Early on Day 3

A colt by Charlatan brought $370,000 from Stonestreet Stables during Friday's Book 2 finale at Keeneland. He was consigned as Hip 695 by John Stuart's Bluegrass Thoroughbred Services, acting as agent for Merribelle Stable.

Charlatan | Coady

Out of Hillhouse High (Exchange Rate), the Jan. 23 foal hails from the notable Sam-Son Farm family, including Canadian champions Regal Classic, Sky Classic, Classy 'N Smart and Always a Classic.

Headed by this colt, 14 weanlings sold by the sire–with four surpassing the $200,000 mark–through three days of selling at Keeneland. The weanlings grossed $2,810,000, averaging $200,714. Charlatan stands for $50,000 LFSN at Hill 'n' Dale Farms in 2024.

Campaigned by SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Stonestreet Stables, Fred Hertrich, III, John Fielding,

and Golconda Stables, the son of Speightstown was trained by Bob Baffert. The 'TDN Rising Star' won his first four career starts, including the GI Arkansas Derby and GI Runhappy Malibu S. before finishing second in what would be his career finale in the 2021 G1 Saudi Cup.

“Barbara [Banke] owns Charlatan and we still own a good piece of him as a stallion,” said Stonestreet advisor John Moynihan. “She really wanted a nice one, so he was one of the better ones we saw. [Charlatan's] weanlings have been really well received and we're really excited. We bought him to run. Barbara saw him [Thursday] and really liked him. Hopefully, we'll get Charlatan off to a good start.”

Bluegrass Thoroughbred Services has already enjoyed a profitable run in the sales ring this week. Kicking things off with a bang, the operation sold Queen Caroline (Blame) (Hip 171), in foal to Flightline, for $3 million to John Stewart at Fasig-Tipton November Tuesday. And thus far at Keeneland, the consignment also hit a home run, selling Skims (Frankel {GB}) (Hip 125) for $1.8 million to Summer Wind Farm in Book 1. At Keeneland this week, the operation sold five head, grossing $2,437,000 with an average price of $487,400.–@CbossTDN

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