$925k Twirling Candy Colt Stands Out at Keeneland's Book 4 Finale

Hip 2555 | Keeneland photo


A colt by Twirling Candy broke clear of the pack when selling for $925,000 to Jim and Dana Bernhard's Pin Oak Stud during an otherwise steadily consistent conclusion to the Book 4 section of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale Tuesday in Lexington.

Through both sessions of Book 4, Keeneland sold 606 yearlings for $46,078,000. The book average of $76,036 declined 5.0% from last year, while the median dipped 8.3% to $55,000.

During last year's Book 4 section, 609 yearlings sold for $48,726,500. The section's average was $80,011 and the median was $60,000. The book's top price was $600,000, one of seven to sell for $400,000 or over during the two sessions. Just two hit that mark this year.

With just 55 horses reported not sold Tuesday, the session buy-back rate was 15.45%.

Paramount Sales, which sold the session topper, was the session's leading consignor with 26 head sold for $2,529,000.

“We had a fantastic day,” said Paramount's Pat Costello. “I think we only had three or four RNA's, you can't beat that. It's a great sale, all in all, really. And it's still coming on. I didn't think it would be this strong, but it is.”

The Keeneland September sale continues through Saturday with sessions beginning daily at 10 a.m.

Candy Grab for Pin Oak

A colt by Twirling Candy (hip 2555) was a clear standout Tuesday at Keeneland, attracting a host of admirers from around the grounds before selling for $925,000 to Jim and Dana Bernhard's Pin Oak Stud. The operation has already enjoyed top-level success with a son of Twirling Candy's sire, Candy Ride (Arg).

“He's a big two-turn looking Twirling Candy with a standout physical,” the Bernhards' advisor Matt Weinmann said of th yearling's appeal. “We've had good luck with the Candy Ride line so far in Geaux Rocket Ride and we want to find 10 more just like him. This colt fits that bill and we're thrilled to have him.”

Geaux Rocket Ride (Candy Ride {Arg}) was one of the Bernhards' first Thoroughbred purchases when they acquired the colt for $350,000 at the 2021 Fasig-Tipton July Sale. He won this year's GI Haskell S. and was second in the GI Pacific Classic.

Bred by Alice Bramford and Highfield Investment Group, hip 2555 is out of Hiking (First Defence) and he was consigned by Paramount Sales.

“Our expectations were high for him,” said Paramount's Pat Costello. “He was a nice individual. He passed everybody and most of the grounds were on him. We were delighted for the breeders and delighted Pin Oak got him.”

Of the colt's final price tag, Costello said with a laugh, “That was on the upper side of our expectations, being honest.”

Also Tuesday, Pin Oak purchased a colt by Oscar Performance (hip 2481) for $105,000. Through eight sessions, the operation has acquired 19 yearlings for $8,835,000.

Belladonna Stays Busy at Keeneland

Trainer Cherie DeVaux continued to add yearlings to the Belladonna Racing partnership into Book 4 at Keeneland, purchasing the top-priced filly of Tuesday's session when going to $275,000 to acquire a daughter of Not This Time (hip 2631)  from the Paramount Sales consignment.

“David [Ingordo] goes out and scouts at the farms,” DeVaux said. “And he had seen this filly out prior to the sale last month and marked her down as a horse to keep an eye on. He waited for her today.”

Also Tuesday, the partnership purchased a colt by Twirling Candy (hip 2159) from Warrendale Sales for $240,000 and a son of Collected (hip 2593) for $80,000.

“You hope it gets more reasonable,” DeVaux said of the market as the Keeneland sale moved into its second week. “But these days, the way the sales have been throughout the last two years, it's been really strong throughout and you have to buy when there is a horse that you like that fits whatever your parameters are. If you try to wait to get more in the later books, it doesn't necessarily translate.”

Through eight sessions, Belladonna has now purchased 18 yearlings for $4,917,000. Leading the way was a Quality Road half-brother to GI Pacific Classic winner Arabian Lion (Uncle Mo) (hip 41) acquired for $500,000 during last Monday's opening session of the auction.

“We are just trying to get the best athlete with some pedigree for what we pay,” said DeVaux. “Some we knew we would have to stretch on, we know, but we were really just trying to stay where we evaluated them.”

Belladonna was represented last season by graded-stakes performers Coastana (Kitten's Joy), third in the GIII Fasig-Tipton Waya S. and the GII Flower Bowl S., and Bout Time (Not This Time), who won the Goldwood S.

“We started out with only getting fillies for the first four years just because that was less risk with having some residual value,” DeVaux said of the evolution of the partnership. “We introduced colts in the last couple of years buying predominately from the yearling sales instead of the 2-year-old sales. And it's gotten a lot bigger. The first group had six and it had four the third year, it continues to evolve in the numbers and the budget.”

The sixth edition of the partnership will continue its shopping next spring.

“We still have some [of the budget] left for the 2-year-old sales,” DeVaux said. “The budget really isn't that much different from last year, it's just our average per horse is less this year than it was last year.”

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