$650k Ancient Peace Tops Competitive KEEJAN Session

Ancient Peace | Keeneland photo


LEXINGTON, KY – The Keeneland January Horses of All Ages Sale continued to keep pace with its 2021 renewal with a day of competitive bidding topped by the 3-year-old filly Ancient Peace (War Front), who sold for $650,000 to Travis Boersma's Boardshorts Stables late in Tuesday's second session of the four-day auction.

“It started strong and it held pace,” said Keeneland's Vice President of Sales Tony Lacy. “We've got to be very encouraged with the consistency within the market. Quality was selling well. There was hunger for the good stock and it was very competitive on the buying front, with frustrated buyers in certain cases, but people were happy with what they were getting for most of the stock. There was good energy around the place and I think it bodes well as we power into 2023 and the breeding season ahead.”

Through the auction's two-session Book 1 section, 475 horses sold for $36,126,900. The average of $76,057 is up 5.47% from last year, while the median held steady at $40,000.

After two sessions in 2022, 511 head had sold for $36,848,700 for an average of $72,111.

Ancient Peace, who was supplemented to the January sale late last week after breaking her maiden at the end of December, was one of three racing or broodmare prospects to top the $500,000 mark Tuesday, while three short yearlings–topped by a son of Uncle Mo at $340,000–brought over $300,000.

“Young mares off the track and proven mares were extremely appealing and people were paying a premium for them,” Lacy said. “Quality is in strong demand. People aren't willing to spend a lot of money on something they don't feel has strong marketable value. I think it is going to be healthy all the way through [end of sale]. If you have a nice individual, it will be found.”

The January sale continued to attract a deep domestic buying bench, with the top 15 offerings bought by 14 different entities.

The buy-back rate, which was 31.29% during Monday's first session of the January sale, dropped to 22.53% Tuesday for a cumulative figure of 26.92%.

“Yesterday, I heard a lot of people making comments that the RNA percentage was high,” said Mark Taylor of Taylor Made Sales Agency. “But what is difficult for sellers, when you're in a Book 1 of January and you've got a wide variety of horses all in one session–you have half-million dollar horses and you've got $5,000 horses–that's just January. That's just the way it is. So it's a very up and down, emotional day. Some of the sellers see horses bringing a lot of money and they think their's should be doing that. You've got to keep everybody's feet on the ground to know your product. We did have very lively post-hammer trade yesterday. We originally had nine RNA's, but we got five of those sold. So it ended up being a very healthy day for us. But we stubbed our toe a couple times along the way.”

The Keeneland January sale continues through Thursday with sessions beginning daily at 10 a.m.

Ancient Peace Provides Late Sizzle

Ancient Peace (War Front) (hip 840E), who was supplemented to the Keeneland January sale late last week, became the auction's highest seller when acquired by Hunter Rankin on behalf of Travis Boersma's Boardshorts Stables for $650,000. The newly turned 3-year-old, from a deep Sam-Son family, was acquired by Mike Ryan for $180,000 at the 2021 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale. She graduated by a front-running 4 1/4 lengths at Santa Anita Dec. 30 for Ryan and trainer Graham Motion.

“We loved her from the start,” Rankin said. “We are happy that Mike Ryan supplemented her to the sale. We are trying to get something going and I think she's a really good foundation horse for Travis Boersma. She's just an exciting filly.”

Boersma is the co-founder and executive chairman of the Oregan-based coffee chain Dutch Bros. He made waves recently as the purchaser of the $4.6-million share in Flightline (Tapit) at Keeneland's November sale.

Rankin said immediate plans for Ancient Peace are still up in the air.

“We haven't totally decided yet,” he said. “We are going to get her off the sale and see how things go. We are going to get her to the farm and hang out and then make a plan.”

Also Tuesday, Boardshorts Stables purchased the 4-year-old broodmare prospect Empire Hope (Empire Maker) (hip 814) for $450,000 from the Indian Creek consignment.

Ancient Peace is out of graded stakes winner Deceptive Vision (A.P. Indy), a daughter of champion Eye of the Sphynx (Smart Strike) and a full-sister to champion Eye of the Leopard.

As part of the dispersal of Canada's historic Sam-Son Farm, Deceptive Vision sold to John Sikura's Hill 'n' Dale at Xalapa for $900,000 at the 2021 Keeneland January sale. Sikura, as well as Canadian breeder Dave Anderson, were in the sales pavilion as Ancient Peace sold Tuesday.

Ancient Peace was originally purchased by Ryan to pinhook at the 2-year-old sales, according to Sarah Sutherland of Indian Creek, which consigned the filly.

“That was the original plan,” Sutherland confirmed. “She did breeze at OBS with Niall Brennan and he decided to keep her and race her. You've got to sell some and you have to keep some. It all worked out well. She was bought right and sold well.”

Of the filly's final price, Sutherland added, “It was in the range we thought she deserved to be. The timing worked out with her win and she came in looking fantastic and her pedigree speaks for itself. She showed great, was well-received and is going to an end-user, so it's all good.”

Lazenby Adds to Broodmare Band

Gigi Lazenby, sister of the late trainer David Banks, has been involved in racing for years, but has recently decided to increase her participation with the purchase of some high-priced broodmares. Through agent James Schenk, and with Claiborne Farm's Walker Hancock advising, she made her second purchase of the January sale when going to $600,000 to acquire England's Rose (English Channel) (hip 816) from the Lane's End consignment.

“I've been around for a long time,” Lazenby said Tuesday. “My brother was a trainer here in town and I have an oil company over in Eastern Kentucky. The last couple of years, I decided to try to step it up a little bit. And Walker and Jimmy Schenk–he's been a friend of mine and he was a friend of my brother's for years. My brother was a trainer and this is all sort of for him.”

The 7-year-old England's Rose, out of stakes-placed Gingham and Lace (Kris S.), won the 2021 Swingtime S. and was second in last year's GI Matriarch S. and GII Goldikova S. racing for the partnership of Mercedes Stables, West Point Thoroughbreds, Scott Dilworth, David and Dorothy Ingordo and Steve Mooney and trainer John Shirreffs.

“I am just happy with this mare,” Lazenby said. “I think she is going to be really nice. And she has a lot of possible stallions that we have to talk about.”

During Monday's first session of the auction, Schenck signed the ticket at $325,000 to acquire graded stakes winner Domain Expertise (Kitten's Joy) (hip 382) on behalf of Lazenby.

“We'd like to have four or five [broodmares],” Lazenby said. “We had a couple we've bought in the last few years. We are really interested in selling the foals. We've talked to Walker about that. We know they [Claiborne] raise a great horse. And they sell a great horse.”

Lazenby continued, “It's been a great experience. And we're enjoying it. It's just kind of fun that I had an opportunity at this time to invest back into this community, because I love it.”

In Good Spirits Has Date with Life Is Good

Graded stakes winner In Good Spirits (Ghostzapper) (hip 474), who RNA'd for $495,000 at the Fasig-Tipton November sale two months ago, found a new home when selling for $550,000 during Tuesday's session of the Keeneland January sale. Jacob West, bidding over the internet, acquired the mare on behalf of Mike Repole's Repole Stable.

“She was one of a few graded stakes winners in the catalog, so she stuck out in here as far as quality,” West said. “She was a very fast mare and by a stallion that is really making his name as a broodmare sire. She always ran in great company and held her own. She has been purchased for Life Is Good. Mike is a shareholder and wanted to make sure he supported him with a top quality mare.”

Paul Varga's Bal Mar Equine campaigned the mare, who was a $200,000 purchase by bloodstock agent Steve Young at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale. She won the 2021 GIII Mint Ladies Sprint S. and was second in that year's GIII Caress S. and third in the 2020 GIII Regret S. for trainer Al Stall.

“I felt very validated because I loved that mare,” said Mark Taylor of Taylor Made Sales Agency, which consigned In Good Spirits on behalf of Varga at both auctions. “We had her in November and she didn't sell. She had come off the track and we had her in as a racing or broodmare, and it might have muddied the waters. Some of the breeders might have thought they would be bidding against race people. So this time, we decided to hit the reset button, put her in as a broodmare only and just focus on that market of people. I told everyone upfront the reserve was going to be lower, so everyone felt comfortable getting involved.”

Taylor added the mare may have gotten lost in the shuffle of buyers making a quick turnaround after Breeders' Cup championship weekend.

“In November, with the Breeders' Cup being there, it was a very accelerated pace and I felt like people were kind of rushing and really didn't appreciate what was in front of them,” Taylor said. “She was a bigger fish in this pond. This catalogue is very solid, but there is not million-dollar mares all over the place. I thought going in she was in the top 15-20% of the catalogue, she might be end up being in the top 5%.”

In Good Spirits is out of Mon Arch Lass (Arch), a half-sister to multiple stakes winner Sir Five Star (Five Star Day) and multiple graded placed Starship Universe (Mineshaft).

“She's a beautiful mare,” said Taylor. “Al Stall did a great job developing her. There was a lot to sell there. She is kind of what everybody is looking for. She's fresh off the track and ready to breed. She's got the pedigree and she's got the race record.”

Varga, the retired chairman and CEO of Louisville's Brown-Forman, also campaigns last year's GI Beverly D. S. winner Dalika (Ger) (Pastorius {Ger}).

Castleton Way Stretches for Uncle Mo Colt

Marshall Taylor, whose Castleton Way pinhooking partnership had a banner first season last year, has been busy restocking this week in Lexington and made his biggest splash of the January sale when going to $340,000 to acquire a colt by Uncle Mo (hip 763) from the Lane's End consignment Tuesday.

“He was a nice colt and we liked him and wanted to give him a chance,” Taylor said. “He had a great walk and a beautiful physical. He's a late May foal, so I think he will keep improving. He looked like a horse with a lot of upside.”

The bay colt is out of Canteen (Candy Ride {Arg}) and was bred by Peter Brant's White Birch Farm which purchased the mare for $550,000 at the 2017 Keeneland September sale.

Castleton Way purchased a Not This Time filly for $100,000 at the 2021 Keeneland November sale and resold her for $675,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale. A Ghostzapper filly purchased by the group for $115,000 at the 2021 Keeneland November sale resold for $340,000 at the Fasig-Tipton New York-Bred Yearling Sale.

“I grew the partnership a little bit this year,” Taylor said, “But we are sticking to upper echelon stuff. This was the highest priced one that we've bought. Last year, we had a few over $100,000 and this year we expanded a little bit more.”

Hip 763 was the third short yearling Taylor signed for during the first two sessions of the January sale. During Monday's first session, he purchased a filly by Not This Time (hip 93) for $160,000 and a daughter of Munnings (hip 305) for $170,000.

“You've got to hope the market stays good and the economy stays good,” Taylor said. “I think there is more of a demand for yearlings and racehorses than mares. It feels like the mare market gets soft after a mare has been bred a few times and hasn't produced anything. But I feel like with the weanling, yearling and 2-year-old market, it seems like a lot more people want to have a racehorse than want to be long-term with the mares. Purses are really good and the foal crop is shrinking every year, so there is more demand for these horses. So you just have to hope the market doesn't crash, say your prayers and hope the colt keeps going the right way. And hopefully we'll have some success.”

Jackpot, Heiligbrodts Team for Another Uncle Mo

Bill and Corinne Heiligbrodt and Terry Green's Jackpot Farm, who are partners on stakes winner and multiple Grade I-placed Gulfport (Uncle Mo), joined forces to purchase another son of Uncle Mo Tuesday at Keeneland. Jackpot advisor Bobby Powell, sitting alongside Heiligbrodt advisor Susan Montanye, signed the ticket at $335,000 to acquire hip 699 from the Eaton Sales consignment.

“The goal was, let's see if we can find another Gulfport,” Powell said of the decision to bid on the short yearling. “There are options on the table for what we do with him, whether he's a resale later in the year or if he's in the stable. But those guys have options. We will just let the horse grow up and let time tell us what to do.”

The bay colt is out of the unraced Victory Party (Yankee Victor), a daughter of Leslie's Lady (Tricky Creek) and a half-sister to champion Beholder (Henny Hughes), Grade I winner Mendelssohn (Scat Daddy) and leading sire Into Mischief (Harlan's Holiday).

“He was the right type for us,” Powell said. “There are really good horsemen here and we all have different types, but I looked at him at the barn and I liked his size and his attitude and his presence. The vet work was clean, so I talked to those guys on the phone. They are looking to have some fun with him.”

Gulfport romped by 12 1/4 lengths in the Bashford Manor S. in his second start last July at Churchill Downs. He was second in the GII Saratoga Special and GI Hopeful S. before finishing third in the GI Champagne S. in October. The newly turned 3-year-old had his first work since September when he went four furlongs in :52.20 at Fair Grounds Monday.

The yearling was bred by Newstead Corp. Eaton Sales signed for Victory Party, in foal to Justify, for $220,000 at the 2020 Keeneland November sale. Her Justify colt sold for $390,000 at the 2022 Keeneland September sale after RNA'ing for $190,000 at the 2021 November sale.

“He was a very tidy version of Uncle Mo and completely clean on the vet report,” Eaton's Reiley McDonald said of the yearling. “So we weren't surprised at all at that price. I think they got a good buy. We thought he was really nice right now, so we put him in the January sale where he could stand out.”

The 17-year-old Victory Party is also the dam of graded-placed Victory Kingdom (Aus) (Animal Kingdom) and stakes-placed Classic Moment (Classic Empire). She was bred to Munnings last year.

Gun Runner Filly to First Finds

Tami Bobo and Fernando De Jesus's First Finds led early returns during Tuesday's second session of the Keeneland January sale when going to $300,000 to acquire a short yearling by Gun Runner (hip 430). The bay filly, consigned by Indian Creek and bred by Ridley Farm, is out of Forest Valentine (Forestry) and is a half-sister to stakes-placed Valentine Wish (Lemon Drop Kid). Forest Valentine is a full-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Carolyn's Cat.

“She is forward, pretty and correct,” Bobo said. “I just thought she was a very elegant filly and had a lot of upside. I felt like she possibly could be a good pinhook and if she pinhooks, then great. If she doesn't, we'll be glad to race her.”

First Finds returned later in the session to secure another short yearling filly by Gun Runner, going to $175,000 to acquire hip 487 from the Hermitage Farm consignment$650k A

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