By Steve Sherack
With Wednesday's Keeneland September Book 5 opener winding down, Maddie Matt Miller, agent, went to a session-topping $250,000 to secure a filly from the first crop of Army Mule.
Consigned by Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency, agent, as Hip 3158, the chestnut is out of six-time winner Henny's Hurricane (Henny Hughes), a daughter of GSW Amarillo (Crafty Prospector). Hip 3158 is a half-sister to Amynta (Atreides), a multiple stakes winner in Panama. She was bred in Kentucky by Hill 'n' Dale Equine Holdings.
The Hill 'n' Dale stallion, standing for $7,500, has also been represented by a $390,000 colt, a $225,000 colt, a $180,000 colt, et al, at Keeneland September. Army Mule has had 15 yearlings sell for $1.766 million at KEESEP, good for an average of $117,733. He had a pair of $400,000 sellers at Fasig-Tipton Saratoga as well.
A total of 325 yearlings sold at Keeneland Wednesday for $12,929,500, good for an average of $39,783 (+55%) and a median of $30,000 (+100%). The RNA rate for the session was a remarkable 9.2%.
During the 2020 Book 5 opener, conducted during the pre-vaccine pandemic, 252 yearlings grossed $6,469,100 for an average of $25,671 and a median of $15,000. The RNA rate was 18.2%.
With two sessions remaining, Keeneland has sold a total of 2,125 horses through the ring for $339,691,500, for an average of $159,855 (+25%) and a median of $90,000 (+45.2%).
John Oxley led all buyers at Wednesday's session, purchasing five yearlings for $382,000. Leading consignor Taylor Made Sales Agency sold 29 horses for $1,279,000.
Glatt Strikes for Arrogate Colt
Southern California-based trainer Mark Glatt, bidding on behalf of an undisclosed client, brought home a son of the late Arrogate for $230,000–the top price paid for a colt–during Wednesday's Book 5 opener at Keeneland September.
The richest North American racehorse in history was humanely euthanized last June at Juddmonte Farms after suffering from an undetermined illness. He currently has two winners from his first crop. Arrogate was also represented by colts that brought $550,000, $500,000, $360,000, etc, earlier in the sale.
Consigned by Woods Edge Farm (Peter O'Callaghan), agent, Hip 3004 is the first foal out of Wicked Lick (Maclean's Music), runner-up in the 2017 GII Twinspires.com Fair Grounds Oaks. Barry and Judith Becker purchased Wicked Lick, carrying Hip 3004, for $350,000 at the 2019 KEENOV sale. She subsequently brought $450,000 from Aaron and Marie Jones, in foal to Into Mischief, at the 2021 KEEJAN sale.
“He was a very nice, athletic-looking horse with a lot of size and scope,” Glatt said. “He's bred to have some speed on the bottom side being out of a Maclean's Music mare. He's a very nice individual. Arrogate was a very outstanding horse. He had a good weekend a couple of weeks ago–maybe a little bit later, developing kind of horses. If he hits, it could be a very good thing since there's not going to be very many of them out there.”
“The business seems to be very healthy,” Glatt said. “The numbers don't lie. It makes buying these horses a little tough– you obviously want to buy them for as cheap as you can. But it shows the business is healthy right now and that certainly isn't a bad thing.”
McPeek Continues to Reload
Trainer Ken McPeek continued his Keeneland September shopping spree, purchasing five yearlings, as agent, for a total of $317,000 during Wednesday's session, the second-highest amount spent on the day.
His purchases included:
- Hip 2784, f, Shaman Ghost–Lady Dyna; $100,000
- Hip 2983, c, Mendelssohn–Tocame Linda; $85,000
- Hip 2771, f, Tamarkuz–Kanotwait; $50,000
- Hip 2776, c, Klimt–Kika; $45,000
- Hip 2783, c, Army Mule–Kusama; $37,000
“We've been cherry picking some horses out of there the last several days and it seems like we're averaging five or six a day– it's been good,” McPeek said. “It's been a lot of work, I'm glad the market has softened from the early books. I've got a lot of really good clients that have given us a budget to work with and we've been fortunate enough to acquire what we wanted.
Of his Wednesday purchases, McPeek said, “I was real pleased with the Mendelssohn colt that we bought. The Shaman Ghost was a beautiful filly. The Tamarkuz was a filly that looked quite fast. Overall, it was good.”
No stranger to finding value at KEESEP, McPeek's honor roll is led by Hall of Famer and two-time Horse of the Year Curlin (Smart Strike, $57,000 in 2005); and last year's champion 3-year-old filly Swiss Skydiver (Daredevil, $35,000).
“I bought my first Derby horse Tejano Run out of Book 7 [for $20,000],” McPeek concluded. “We don't assume anything.”