$825K Cancel This Tops 'Realistic' Book 2 Opener at Keeneland November

Cancel This | Keeneland

by Jessica Martini & Christina Bossinakis

LEXINGTON, KY – The first of two Book 2 sessions of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale saw marked polarization, as the demand for the perceived quality remained strong, but fell off for the less desired offerings.

“It's been a realistic, selective market today,” said Keeneland Vice President of Sales Tony Lacy. “I think it was pretty evident throughout the day, people knew what they wanted and they were very specific about what they were willing to invest in. Speaking to a lot of sellers, they were very pragmatic about the market. They saw, if a mare was young and was well-bred, you were in pretty good shape. I think any mares that were a little older probably have been exposed a little bit and were a tougher sell. And from the consignors we spoke to, there was an acknowledgment that that's where the market is at the moment. So a little bit of softening, but again, that's to be expected in certain areas.”

For the session, 213 head grossed $34,428,000. The session average of $161,634 fell 9.21% from a year ago, while the median fell 14.29% to $120,000.

The 4-year-old racing/broodmare prospect Cancel This (Malibu Moon), consigned by Four Star Sales, was the session's top-priced lot when selling for $825,000 to Larkin Armstrong on behalf of Helen Alexander.

Competition for the top weanlings continued to be strong Thursday, with a colt by Constitution selling for top price of $525,000 from Cherry Knoll Farm. The weanling was one of five to sell for $400,000 or over during the session. There were two to reach that level in the same session last year.

“The market has been really strong and on a bull run for some years,” said Keeneland Director of Sales Operations Cormac Breathnach. “We had a great September sale and yearling market this year. I think that's reflected in strong foal sales.”

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

Cancel This Shines at KeeNov Opener

Well into Thursday's session, Cancel This (Malibu Moon) (Hip 601) broke to the fore with a session-topping $825,000 bid from Helen Alexander, bidding from her customary place in front of the media stand at the back of the pavilion. Consigned by Four Star Sales, she was offered as a racing or broodmare prospect.

Kerry Cauthen, Larkin Armstrong, and Helen Alexander | Keeneland

“We [initially] thought maybe we should put the whole budget on one mare, but we got blown out of the water [at Fasig-Tipton Tuesday]. So we decided to divide it up instead,” said Larkin Armstrong, signing on behalf of Alexander. “We were waiting for this one. [She was good enough to] have sold in any sale.”

Alexander also signed for a pair of mares in Keeneland's Book 1: Candy Raid (Candy Ride {Arg}) (Hip 206), who brought $425,000 and Weekend Away (Malibu Moon) (Hip 166), a $400,000 purchase. Both mares were consigned by Taylor Made Sales.

“[Alexander] went into the sale wanting to buy some nice young mares for her breeding program, so I feel like we got horses that we're really excited about,” added Armstrong.

The 4-year-old filly was sold by Corey Johnson, whose CJ Thoroughbreds secured the filly for $180,000 at Keeneland September in 2020.

“When Dale Romans picked her out, I remember thinking that she was one of the most athletic, well-balanced yearlings we had ever bought,” said Johnson, obviously reveling in the moment following her sale. “That was three years ago. Our plan was to buy yearlings, race, and then sell them as broodmare prospects. I would say this one worked out very well.”

The bay made 20 starts over three seasons on the track, winning only once but hitting the board on 11 other occasions, including a runner-up effort in Presque Isle's Satin and Lace S. in July. She entered the sale with earnings over $240,000.

“She had really a good, solid racing career,” said Johnson. “And then, of course, we get a little lucky where the pedigree really booms up. It would be very difficult to expect something like that. We just figured the market would take her as far as it would go. We're very excited.”


Out of MSW Catch My Fancy (Yes It's True), the filly is a half-sister to SW and GSP Dubini (Gio Ponti), SW What a Catch and full-sister to Catch the Moon, dam of GI Haskell Invitational winner Girvin (Tale of Ekati) and Grade III scorers Midnight Bourbon (Tiznow), who also finished second in the GI Preakness S. and GI Travers S., and Cocked and Loaded (Colonel John). To add some extra luster to the page, Cancel This is also a full-sister to Clarendon Fancy, dam of this summer's GI Spinaway S. winner Brightwork (Outwork).

“We sold her for some really great clients, Corey Johnsen. It's always great to win for friends,” added Kerry Cauthen.  “I think that was beyond our expectations by quite a number, but when you bring out the best-looking filly of the day, you're going to get rewarded.”–@CbossTDN

Finley Strikes Late for Exotic West

Unbeaten GI Breeders' Cup Classic winner Flightline took Terry Finley and his West Point Thoroughbred partners on the ride of a lifetime last year and Finley was keen to acquire Exotic West (Hard Spun) (hip 667), in foal to the champion, Thursday at Keeneland. Finley purchased the 5-year-old mare, the second to last horse through the ring during the second session of the November auction, for $650,000.

“David [Ingordo} really liked the mare. She was a beautiful mare,” Finley said. “The Flightlines have been selling really well, but we thought with her placement in the sale, we might get a little lucky. And I think we were–either people were tired or they went to dinner. Obviously, the appetite for Flightline is really over the top–better than we expected and we had high expectations. Anytime you can get one in a belly with a young mare like that, you're going to take a shot.”

Consigned by Grovendale Sales, Exotic West won the 2022 Top Flight Invitational and was second in the GII Allaire DuPont Distaff S. after being claimed by Louis Lazzinnaro for $40,000 at Saratoga in 2021.

Seven mares have sold in foal to Flightline for $6,625,000 through two sessions of the Keeneland November sale. Leading the way were the $1.65-million Dalika (Ger) (Pastorius {GB}) and $1.45-million Champagne Lady (Uncle Mo).

“Our outlook is we can't get enough of them,” Finley said. “We are really happy with [Flightline's] first book of mares and the second one is shaping up really well already. If you can't get excited about owning a piece of Flightline and having a shot to have his babies and the expectation of having them hit the track in a couple of years, you probably don't need to be in the game.”

Lady Scarlet Brings $625K On Day 2

Early in Thursday's Book 2 opener at Keeneland, Lady Scarlet (Union Rags) (Hip 338) brought $625,000 from Thirty Year Farm. The Saratoga-based farm's Kristen Esler handled the signing duties on the GIII Miss Preakness S. winner.

Kristen Esler | Keeneland

“We loved her,” said Esler, who operates Thirty Year Farm with her husband, Matt. “She was our first pick. She was in my heart from the moment I saw her. She's beautiful and she's everything we looked for in conformation. She was an A+. She carried herself really well. I like to look them in the eye and spend some time. She is one that we wanted to bring to our farm.”

Consigned by Lane's End, the 4-year-old is a daughter of Exclude (GB) (Include), a daughter of SW Soldera, herself responsible for MGSW Exhi (Maria's Mon) and SW Diluvien (Manduro). The daughter of Polish Numbers is also a sister to Soldata, dam of Group 2 scorer Alignement (GB) (Pivotal {GB}).

A $200,000 purchase at this venue in January, the mare visited Flightline before returning to Keeneland Thursday.

Thirty Year Farm also made a purchase in Book 1, buying Hip 163 Walking Miracle (Into Mischief) for $525,000.

“This is the one that was our highest priority. We had one that we got yesterday and we were happy with that purchase, so we may be set, but we don't know yet.” —@CbossTDN

Muths Flip a Lady

Chip Muth and his sons, always on the lookout for young mares to buy, put in foal and return to the market, purchased Lady Scarlet (Union Rags) (hip 338) for $200,000 at the Keeneland January sale earlier this year. Covered by champion Flightline, the mare returned to the Keeneland sales ring Thursday and sold for $625,000 to Thirty Year Farm.

“We needed a couple of mares and we went through looking at young stakes mares,” Muth said. “That mare kind of caught our eye. And we got lucky and got her for the right kind of money.”

Lady Scarlet | Keeneland

The 4-year-old Lady Scarlet won last year's GIII Miss Preakness S. and Cicada S.

Muth admitted he thought the mare might have brought more money Thursday.

“To be honest, we all felt like the mare would bring more,” he said. “We sold two mares out here last year almost back to back for $750,000 and one for $700,000.”

Also Thursday at Keeneland, Muth sold Miss Mattie B (Tonalist) (hip 373) for $425,000. The 4-year-old, who was third in last year's GII Santa Ynez S., sold in foal to Quality Road.

“That's pretty much what we do,” Muth said. “We buy mares and put them in foal to the right horses. We restock 24/7. We are always on the prowl. We very seldom buy on the open market–just when we have a need for one and haven't been able to find something to fill a need.”

Asked what the family looks for in mares to buy with an eye towards resale, Muth smiled and said, “Can't tell you our secrets.”

But he added, “Physicals. Young mares, nice American fillies by name brand stallions. And they have got to be drop-dead gorgeous kind of mares.”

Muth said he generally sells about 20 mares a year.

“We concentrate on November,” he said. “We bring mares here in the fall and in January we will bring some that got in our program a little later and might be carrying a later foaling date.”

Constitution Colt Tops Thursday's Weanlings

South Carolina horseman Peter Pugh purchased Thursday's top-priced weanling when going to $525,000 to acquire a colt by Constitution (hip 286) from the Nursery Place consignment.

Hip 286 | Keeneland 

“He was super well-balanced and a real good mover,” said Pugh, who purchased the weanling in the name of Cherry Knoll Farm. “Every time we saw him, he was the same.”

Asked if the plan was to pinhook the dark bay colt, Pugh said, “For now. Obviously you want to hit the home run, but I have a partner on him also, we discuss all of this stuff as time goes on.”

The weanling is out of Gone to Town (Munnings) and was bred by Nursery Place and Dicken Equine. Nursery Place purchased the mare for $240,000 at the 2019 Keeneland November sale. She RNA'd with the Constitution colt in utero for $190,000 at last year's Keeneland November sale.


“We try to bring a handful of weanlings every year to Keeneland–a very select few,” said Nursery Place's Griffin Mayer. “They have to be really, really nice with pedigrees and by the right sires. He checked all the boxes and honestly, he's probably one of the better colts that we've raised in the last 10 years. He's very special. He's a homebred for my dad and one of his partners, John Dicken of Dicken Equine.”

Cherry Knoll has purchased three weanlings at Keeneland so far this week and acquired two colts at the Fasig-Tipton sale Tuesday, going to $500,000 for a son of Into Mischief (hip 268) and $270,000 for a colt by Not This Time (hip 61).

“It's the same old, same old,” Pugh said. “The better horses bring the money. You have to pay for them.”

Klaravich Enjoys Strong Results at November Sales

Ranking as the nation's second-leading owner in earnings so far this season, Klaravich Stables capitalized on that racetrack success with the sale of a trio of its stable stars in the select sessions of this week's most important breeding stock auctions. Among the headliners at Tuesday's Fasig-Tipton November sale was GI Acorn S. winner Search Results (Flatter) (Hip 179), who sold for $3.6 million to Katsumi Yoshida.

Turning its focus on Keeneland in Book 1, the Seth Klarman-led operation also followed up with the sale of four-time graded winner and Grade I-placed Technical Analysis (Ire) (Kingman {GB}) (Hip 145), who sold to Japan's J S Company for $1 million in addition to black-type producer Strong Incentive (Warrior's Reward) (Hip 264), who realized $2.15 million from Alpha Delta Stables. She sold in foal to hot sire Good Magic.

Klaravich had GII Mother Goose S. winner Gerrymander (Into Mischief) also entered at Fasig-Tipton earlier this week, but opted to withdraw her and retain her for a 5-year-old campaign.

“[Klarman] really likes racing and he wanted to run her as a 5-year-old,” said Klaravich's bloodstock agent Mike Ryan. “If they are sound, they have talent and they still have the desire, then you can run them. Many of them are really not at their best until they're about five anyway. And with turf horses, it can be older than that. There is so much opportunity, you don't have to run them frequently. You know what they are. You pick your spots, five or six races and they can be very successful.”

Technical Analysis | Sarah Andrew

All consigned by Elite, the trio of mares were campaigned throughout their careers by Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown, whom Ryan credits with much of the team's success on the track.

“Chad is a huge part of the success,” said Ryan. “We understand each other very well now. When I tell him I really like something, he listens. And I know what he likes. We have a great dialogue and a tremendous trust between us. That's important.”

The most accomplished of the trio, Search Results, a daughter of Co Cola (Candy Ride {Arg}), was bred by Machmer Hall. In addition to the Acorn, she also won five more black-type races, including the GII Ruffian S. and GIII Gazelle S. She also hit the board in six Grade I tests, headed by the Kentucky Oaks.

Search Results, who brought $310,000 at the 2019 Keeneland September Sale, led that season's Book 4 opener.

Ryan recalled, “She was an exceptional-looking filly. I remember when I bought her [at KEESEP] it was very late in the sale and I said 'this filly will top the sale today. We need to buy her.' And she did. I remember saying at the time that I thought she could win the Spinaway. She was really special. And she is by a sire that I really like and out of a mare by Candy Ride, who is starting to show up prominently in pedigrees. She was a magnificent physical all her life.”

He continued, “From a physical perspective, it was very hard to fault her. She reminded me of [champion turf female] Rushing Fall [More Than Ready]. Very elegant, had size and substance and class. She had the whole deal.”

Through four seasons on the track, Technical Analysis accounted for eight wins, six at the stakes level, including her latest trip to the winner's circle in the Athenia S. last month. She also placed in the GI QEII Challenge Cup S. and the GI Diana S. The daughter of Sealife (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}), who realized 200,000gns at the 2019 Tattersalls October Sale, sold at Keeneland as a racing or broodmare prospect.

“When we bought her in Newmarket, there was no black-type in the first two dams,” recalled Ryan. “We thought we just bought a nice filly at the time. Kingman was starting to roll on pretty good. But she really made her own pedigree. She proved to be a very successful filly, just a notch below Grade I. I thought she was going to bring a little bit more than she did, to tell you the truth, but I think the fact she was the only black-type under the first two dams might have had something to do with it.”

Also showing stakes prowess on the racetrack albeit lightly raced, Strong Incentive collected her only taste of black-type in Woodbine's Jammed Lovely S. in 2015 before retiring to the breeding shed. The mare proved to be of greater value in her latter career, producing Grade III winners Highly Motivated (Into Mischief) and Surge Capacity (Flintshire {GB}).

Ryan went to $200,000 on behalf of Klarman and William Lawrence at the OBSAPR sale in 2014, and was back to secure the filly for Klarman at Keeneland November in 2018 after the Klaravich partners decided to part ways. Her son, Highly Motivated, was also sent to the sale's ring that season, bringing $240,000.

“Both Strong Incentive and Highly Motivated went to the sale that year to dissolve the partnership,” said Ryan. “She was open at the time she sold. She was a big, beautiful mare and didn't have any black-type at that time, but she was a gorgeous mare and there was so much going for her. I told [Klarman] he needed to keep this mare. For only $40,000, she's proven to be a steal.”

Underscoring the point, Strong Incentive's most recent foal to race, Ways and Means (Practical Joke), finished runner-up in this summer's GI Spinaway S. And according to Ryan, the 'TDN Rising Star' could be the crowning jewel of the mare's produce thus far.

Highly Motivated was very good, but I think the best one might be Ways and Means,” he opined. “She missed the Breeders' Cup with a bit of an issue, but she is very, very good. Three top horses out of three different sires. That's impressive for any mare.”

Given Klaravich's latest success in the sales ring, Ryan is quick to give props to the patience and commitment of Klarman, who is likely to find himself once again among the finalists for leading owner of the 2023 season.

Ryan said, “It is great to see him rewarded because he invests a significant amount of capital every year to buy yearlings and 2-year-olds and racing is his passion. He's a great owner. Really loves the game. And he deserves all the success.” —@CbossTDN

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