Book 1 Finishes With a Flurry at Keeneland September


Session-topping Hip 435 in the ring | Keeneland

by Brian DiDonato, Jessica Martini & Christie DeBernardis

LEXINGTON, KY–With four of the day's nine million-dollar-plus horses selling in the final dozen or so hips to be offered, the second and final session of Book 1 of the Keeneland September yearling sale finished strong.

The session topper and likely sale topper was hip 435, a son of Tapit out of the GISW and 'TDN Rising Star' Tara's Tango (Unbridled's Song) offered by Eaton Sales on behalf of Stonestreet Bred & Raised and acquired by a partnership between Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Bob LaPenta, Gainesway Farm and Ron Winchell.

The sale's leading filly thus far sold just two hips later, when Larry Best of OXO Equine took home an Into Mischief daughter of SW and GSP fellow 'Rising Star' Taylor S (Medaglia d'Oro), a half-sister to young sires Liam's Map and Not This Time. The bay was consigned by Taylor Made Sales as hip 438.

“It was a great end to the sale today, and among the last [11] hips there were four million-dollar horses,” said Keeneland's Director of Sales Operations Geoffrey Russell. “It had a frantic end to it. We appreciate Barbara Banke and her support of Keeneland and having another top-priced horse over here. [Larry] Best came in and bought the top-priced filly, so it was a very exciting couple of minutes.”

Keeneland's President Elect Shannon Arvin added, “The diversity of the buyers of horses over $1 million was exciting too– there were 14 million-dollar horses [over the course of both Book 1 sessions] and 13 different buyers. Primarily, it was domestic, but there was some international presence as well.”

Watch Arvin and Russell address the media at the end of the day.

For the session, an even 100 yearlings changed hands for gross receipts of $44,535,000. The average was $445,350 and median was $360,000. The buyback rate was a fairly high 42.86% after a significant number of outs.

The Book 1 gross was $85,215,000 at an average of $407,727 and median of $330,000. The overall buyback rate was 39.6%. Year-to-year comparisons would be inexact at this time as last year's Book 1 was spread out over three sessions.

“[The RNA rate] was a little higher than we wanted or would've anticipated,” Russell admitted. “We are in that Book 1 market where people are willing to send horses to the racetrack. As we go through the sale, there are people who are commercial breeders with commercial crops who have to sell, so hopefully we see a change in that.”

The current topper would be the lowest at Keeneland September since 2012.

There has been notable strength during Book 1 for fillies, with 11 seven-figure sellers of the fairer sex this year compared to six during Book 1 last year. This year's filly median among the top 20 was $1,012,500 versus $912,500 12 months ago.

The leading Book 1 buyer was the stallion-making partnership of SF, Starlight and Madaket, with Donato Lanni as agent, which was responsible for 12 purchases for $5,905,000. Taylor Made Sales assumed its usual spot atop the consignor standings with 38 horses sold for $14,435,000.

Into Mischief was the leading sire by gross with 20 head bringing $13,085,000, while Medaglia d'Oro led by average at $720,537 from 14 head.

After a dark day Tuesday, Keeneland will continue with two days of selling each for Books 2 through 6. Sessions will begin each day at 10:00 a.m. Visit for more information.

Powerful Conglomerate Teams Up for Topper

Aron Wellman's Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Bob LaPenta, Antony Beck's Gainesway Farm and Ron Winchell pooled their sizable resources and struck late in the day Monday to land the current KEESEP sale topper, a $2-million Tapit colt out of GISW 'TDN Rising Star' Tara's Tango (Unbridled's Song). The grey was consigned to the sale as hip 435 by Eaton Sales on behalf of Stonestreet's Barbara Banke, who will also stay in for a piece.

“The power of the partnership is so prevalent in today's market,” said Wellman. “It's wild to think how far the partnership has come. We have such a remarkable of [racing partnership pioneer] Cot Campbell, Dogwood Stable, going back to the beginning of when Eclipse really got started. To think of how the partnership model has evolved, now, we–a partnership company–are partnering with moguls, titans of industry like Bob LaPenta, like Antony Beck, like Ron Winchell. It speaks volumes for the model… Hopefully, between all of us, we have plenty of good mojo.”

Tara's Tango, whose now 2-year-old Curlin colt was purchased by Godolphin here last year for $2.15 million, is half to 2008 GI King's Bishop S. winner Visionaire (Grand Slam)–who was bred by Eaton's Reiley McDonald–and GSWs Scarlet Strike (Smart Strike) and Madison's Luna (Tapit). The page got even more crowded when 3-year-old half-brother Toro Strike (Toronado {Ire}) was second in Goodwood's G3 Supreme S. Aug. 30.

“Visionaire was the first Grade I winner that I was associated with during my tenure at Team Valor when he won the King's Bishop,” Wellman noted. “The family speaks for itself; Tapit speaks for himself. The reality is, all I care about is that you're interviewing our partnership after he wins a Grade I. Right now, it's a big gamble, and the only thing we proved today is that we were the only people who were willing to pay $2 million for him.”

As for the colt as an individual, Wellman said, “He was just a phenomenal physical; he was a man amongst boys, to our eye, in the sale. We waited two days to pull the trigger on him. We just couldn't find any chinks in his armor; physically, mentally, pedigree wise. He handled it all, and we're just thrilled to be associated with a horse like him, and hope he makes us look smart and not silly when it really matters.”

Stonestreet paid $850,000 for the colt's stakes-placed second dam Scarlet Tango (French Deputy) while she was carrying a full to Visionaire at the 2008 Keeneland November sale.

“It was exciting,” said Banke, noting that she would've retained hip 435 if he were a filly. “I love the colt, love his mother, I love his granddam. His family is terrific. If he does it on the track, which I think he shows every indication of doing, he will be a great sire. His breeding is impeccable.” —@BDiDonatoTDN

Best Gets Into Some More Mischief

Larry Best has been a big supporter of Into Mischief for years, campaigning the likes of GSW Instagrand, Rowayton, Clivetty, Mundaye Call and Center Aisle. The OXO Equine principal added another offspring of the red hot Spendthrift sire to his stable Monday, going to $1.9 million to acquire a well-bred filly (Hip 438) out of 'TDN Rising Star' Taylor S (Medaglia d'Oro).

“I like her frame. She looks like a two-turn filly,” Best said. “She has a wonderful family. With my collection of Into Mischief fillies, she has to be one of the best in terms of pedigree. I continue to bet a lot on Into Mischief and so far, so good. I feel good about this one.”

As for the price, Best said, “I didn't get in til about $1.6 million. I knew she was going to go for between $1.5 million and $2 million. So, it did not surprise me. An earlier filly that doesn't have this pedigree went for $1.025 million. With that as a marker, I knew I was going to have to be in the $1.7-2 million range. Book 1, I think, has been unbelievably strong. It blew my expectations away. Keeneland should be very happy.”

Hip 438 will certainly carry Best's red and white silks around the racetrack, but was also bought with his broodmare band in mind, which he began to develop at last year's November sale. His purchases last fall were topped by GI Breeders' Cup Distaff heroine Blue Prize (Arg) (Pure Prize), who summoned a whopping $5-million at the Fasig-Tipton November Sale.

“I am up to about 27 fillies and mares [in my broodmare band],” Best said. “I love the breeding process. This filly fits both my racing protocol and my breeding strategy.”

Breeder Dennis Albaugh privately purchased Hip 438's second dam Miss Macy Sue (Trippi) near the end of her racing career, which was highlighted by a Grade III win and over $867,000 in earnings. Her second foal Liam's Map (Unbridled's Song) brought $800,000 at the 2012 renewal of this auction and went on to win the GI Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile and GI Woodward S. before retiring to the Lane's End stallion barn.

The Albaugh family retained her next foal Taylor S, who was a stakes winner and Grade II-placed. Two seasons later, Miss Macy Sue produced Not This Time (Giant's Causeway), who carried the Albaugh silks to a win in the GIII Iroquois S. and a second in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile. He retired to Taylor Made and has his first runners this year, headlined by Grade I winner and $1.35-million OBSAPR topper Princess Noor.

Hip 438 is the third foal for Taylor S. Her first is a now 3-year-old named Four Grands (Honor Code), who won one of four starts for the Albaughs. She is also responsible for an unraced juvenile colt by Bernardini.

“I am so excited,” said a jubilant Albaugh. “This was a horse we loved a lot, but sometimes you need to take some money off the table and we have spent a lot at this sale. We are very happy. Larry Best got a very nice horse. There is a lot of upside for him on this filly. We couldn't be happier.” @CDeBernardisTDN

Anderson Farms Hits Another High Note With Orchard Beach

The Anderson Farms-bred mare Orchard Beach (Tapit) has been quite the blue hen for the operation, producing Dave Anderson's first million-dollar sale in Sergei Prokofiev (Scat Daddy). She provided the Canada native with a new high Monday when her yearling filly by Medaglia d'Oro (Hip 319) hammered for $1.6 million to Shadwell Farm.

“It means everything,” Anderson said. “I am very emotional right now. I bred the mother and now I bred this filly. She is probably the most athletic filly that I've ever had on the farm. I came in here fairly confident, hoping everyone would feel the same way I do. I am just thrilled that Mr. Nichols bought her for Shadwell. I want to thank Mr. [Joe] Allen for being the underbidder on the filly. So many wonderful people I respect, came by to see the filly and bid her. It means a lot to a little guy from Canada.”

The Ontario-based Anderson Farms purchased Hip 319's second dam Song and Danz (Unbridled's Song) for $400,000 with Orchard Beach in utero. Orchard Beach was winless in two starts on the track, but has more than made up for it in the breeding shed. Her first foal, GSW Sergei Prokofiev, sold for $1.1 million to M.V. Magnier at the 2017 renewal of this auction and her second foal, a Hard Spun filly now named Turko Beach, brought $950,000 from Shawn Dugan. She is also responsible for a now-2-year-old colt named Early Warning (Air Force Blue), who sold for $400,000 last year.

“It has been a long time,” Anderson said of his increasing success. “We try hard. I don't necessarily have the resources to buy the top stock, so I just do the best I can.”

As for this filly in particular, Anderson said, “From the day she was born she was meant to be a sale topper. Not only is she athletic, but she has unbelievable racehorse mind. She wants to do it. She dragged that showman around for three days and never turned a hair. It was amazing to watch. I could sit there for a year and watch that filly walk back and forth.”

Watch Anderson's post-sale comments below.

Anderson Farms is also responsible for the likes of Canadian Horse of the Year and GI Kentucky Oaks runner-up Wonder Gadot (Medaglia d'Oro) and one-eyed Grade I winner Hard Not to Love (Hard Spun). @CDeBernardisTDN

Shadwell Gets On the Board in a Big Way

Sheikh Hamdan's Shadwell Estate Company, perennially among the leading buyers at the September sale, purchased a pair of fillies by Medaglia d'Oro during Monday's second session of the auction and came back later in the day to secure a colt by the Darley stallion. Shadwell's Kentucky general manager Rick Nichols warmed up with the $425,000 purchase of hip 231 and then refused to be denied when bidding $1.6 million to acquire a daughter by Medaglia d'Oro out of Orchard Beach (Tapit) from Dave Anderson's Anderson Farms consignment later in the session.

“She was a beautiful filly, extremely well bred and conformationally correct,” Nichols said after signing the ticket on hip 319. “It's one of those you kind of got to have.”

Sheikh Hamdan's operation purchased 18 yearlings for $11,070,000 at last year's September sale and was the auction's second leading buyer.

“[Sheikh Hamdan] told me this morning to try to concentrate on getting some really nice fillies,” Nichols said. “We send all of our really good fillies to England and he promises that he's going to send them back, but he never does. So our broodmare band is starting to get a little old and we need to rejuvenate it a little bit. We are looking for a nice colt, but mainly our focus will be on some nice fillies.”

Later in the day, Nichols got his colt and a third yearling by Medaglia d'Oro. The horseman went to $450,000 to acquire hip 369 from the Taylor Made Sales consignment.

Asked if the Shadwell game plan was to buy fewer horses this September, Nichols said, “Yes. We are looking for quality not quantity.” @JessMartiniTDN

Medina & Allen Keep Busy at Keeneland

Joe Allen did not make it to Kentucky for the yearling sales this year, but his presence was heavily felt with Blackwood Stables trainer and former Shug McGaughey assistant Robbie Medina signing plenty of big tickets on the breeder's behalf. Medina represented Allen on the $1.5-million Quality Road filly that topped the Fasig-Tipton sale and he kept busy at Keeneland, where his acquisitions were highlighted by a $1.4-million daughter of Medaglia d'Oro (Hip 442).

“For me, I thought she was the best horse that I saw,” Medina said after signing the ticket in the back show ring. “She's a big, athletic-looking filly. Obviously the mare has produced a Grade I winner and a 2-year-old winner and I like everything about her. She's a May foal and she'll grow into herself. I told Joe that of all the fillies I saw, and there are some great fillies in the sale, I liked her the best.”

He continued, “When I first saw her, I thought she would be in that ballpark [price wise]. I thought she was a $1-million horse. Then when I saw what happened in the last 45 minutes or so, I didn't know what would happen. I thought I'd have to stretch a little more than that. But with her pedigree and all that, there is nothing to complain about”

Chris Baccari of Baccari Bloodstock purchased Hip 442's SP dam Theycallmeladyluck (Dixie Union) for just $60,000 back in 2009 at the Keeneland November Sale. Her second foal brought $500,000 at the 2013 renewal of this auction and Baccari raced her next foal in partnership with Gary Barber and Chester Prince. That foal was Grade I winner Salty (Quality Road), who sold to Don Alberto for $3 million at the 2018 FTKNOV sale.

Chris Baccardi talks to the TDN below:

Theycallmeladyluck's 2016 foal Master of Luck (Candy Ride {Arg}) summoned $800,000 from Kerri Radcliffe here back in 2017, but has yet to race. Justin Casse purchased her 2018 filly Salty as Can Be (Into Mischief) for $850,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale and she won on debut at Churchill Downs Sept. 4.

“It has been a very good family, Baccari said. “We have had very good luck with her fillies. I wish them the best. She was one of the better individuals this mare has had. I am very pleased with what she did. I think they are going to do very well with her.” @CDeBernardisTDN

Curlin Colt Attracts a Crowd

A colt by Curlin has no shortage of new owners after Gainesway's Alex Solis signed the ticket on hip 282 at $1.2 million Monday at Keeneland. The new partnership includes Mike Repole, Vinnie Viola's St. Elias, Gainesway, John Oxley and Robert Clay's Grandview.

“We've been talking about all the colts we liked and I really liked this colt,” Solis said after signing the lengthy ticket. “I thought his mother was a pretty special filly. All week long I kept seeing him and thought I'd like to find a way to take a piece of this colt.”

The gray colt is out of multiple Grade I winner Midnight Lucky (Midnight Lute) and was co-bred by Hill 'n' Dale Farm, Mike PEgram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman. The mare was trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, who was an interested observer while standing out back as the bidding escalated.

Pegram purchased Midnight Lucky for $220,000 at the 2011 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale. She went on to win the 2013 GI Acorn S. and 2014 GI Humana Distaff S. for Pegram, Watson and Weitman. The 10-year-old mare produced a filly by Curlin this year and was bred back to Triple Crown winner Justify.

Solis did his bidding while standing in the doorway of the sales pavilion and surrounded by a crowd which included Gainesway owner Antony Beck, Clay and trainer Todd Pletcher.

“I thought he'd be somewhere around there,” Solis said of the colt's final price. “I didn't know where. In this market, it's kind of who you run into.”

Asked if the purchase was made considering a future stallion career for the yearling, Solis said, “Oh yes. When you pay that much money, you're hoping it's multiples if they hit.” @JessMartiniTDN

His consignor, John Sikura, talked to the TDN:

Well-Related 'Pharoah' Filly Keeps Ball Rolling

Longtime owner/breeder Mike Rutherford of Lexington's Manchester Farm fended off several stiff challenges to ultimately land an American Pharaoh half-sister to unbeaten GII Amsterdam S. romper Yaupon (Uncle Mo) for $1.2 million.

The chestnut (hip 291) was consigned to the sale by Bill Betz's Betz Thoroughbreds and bred by Betz, J. Betz, CoCo Equine, former Chicago newscaster Ron Magers and Burns.

“She is beautiful, gorgeous,” said Rutherford while rushing out of the sales pavilion. “Best filly I have seen. Let's hope she can run.”

Rutherford said he currently has six other sons and daughters of American Pharaoh in training. He said he hadn't yet decided on a trainer for hip 291, but he has employed Yaupon's trainer Steve Asmussen in the past.

Betz paid $195,000 for mare Modification (Vindication) at the 2010 Keeneland November sale. She was carrying her first foal by Spring At Last that day, and that $100,000 KEESEP yearling eventually because MGSP Sawyer's Hill. Other sales out of Modification include a $475,000 Candy Ride (Arg) filly, also trained by Asmussen to a couple wins. Yaupon was a $350,000 KEESEP grad, $485,000 Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream RNA and $255,000 OBS June purchase by Bill and Corinne Heiligbrodt.

Rutherford was congratulated after the sale by Heiligbrodt representative Susan Montanye, and Rutherford said that Heiligbrodt was one of the underbidders on the filly.


Blacker Strikes Late for Medag Filly

California-based trainer Dan Blacker, bidding on behalf of a new owner racing as What Time Is It Racing, made a final bid of $1.1 million to secure a filly by Medaglia d'Oro (hip 443) as Monday's session of the September sale wound down with a bevy of high-priced yearlings. Blacker did his bidding in the new show ring bidding area alongside Oracle Bloodstock's Conor Foley.

“Conor Foley and Jim Hatchet of Oracle Bloodstock found her,” Blacker said. “They just loved her. They did all the work and I just came in. I have a super generous owner, What Time Is It Racing, a new owner on the scene. He really loves racing. His father was into racing when he was a kid and he's just coming back to it. I am just pumped for him to get a horse like this. This filly just seems like a superstar. I am really thrilled.”

What Time Is It Stables also purchased a yearling colt by Constitution (hip 382) at the Fasig-Tipton Showcase last week.

Asked if he was done shopping for his new owner, Blacker said, “I need to talk to him and find out.”

Consigned by Indian Creek, hip 443 is out of multiple stakes winner Thirteen Arrows (Indian Charlie), a daughter of multiple Grade I winner Stop Traffic and a half-sister to Grade I winner Cross Traffic (Unbridled's Song). The mare was purchased for $575,000 at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton November sale. The yearling was bred by Bob Edwards's Fifth Avenue Bloodstock and Glennwood Breeding.

“She is really, really nice. She did everything great at the farm. We couldn't be more pleased,” said Indian Creek's Shack Parrish. “This is team effort between, not just myself and Mr. Edwards, but Sarah [Sutherland], Charles [Campbell] and Juan [Agular] and everyone else at the farm.”

Dan Blacker talked to the TDN's Katie Ritz, below:

Indian Creek sold an Into Mischief colt (hip 501) for Five Avenue Bloodstock for $800,000 at last week's Fasig-Tipton Showcase. The two teamed up last year to sell a Medaglia d'Oro filly out of Veracity (Distorted Humor) (hip 150) for $1 million at the Fasig Saratoga sale. @JessMartiniTDN

Brogden's Special Mare Justifies Her Faith Yet Again

The love affair between Carrie Brogden and the Unbridled's Song mare Special Me goes back quite a ways. She tried to claim her back in 2008, but her trainer talked her out of it when seeing the mare was only 14.2 hands. Six months later, Brogden saw the mare for herself in the back ring of the Keeneland January sale and found out her petite stature was due to being born six months premature (Click here for a TDN video feature on Special Me & her Into Mischief filly).

Brogden could not ignore her gut feeling on the mare and scooped her up for just $6,000, a price that would prove to be the bargain of a lifetime. Special Me has produced three graded winners, several six-figure yearlings and now her and Brogden's first million-dollar horse with her Into Mischief filly (Hip 405) selling to Liz Crow for $1.025 million Monday.

“Honestly, it means so much because it's from the beginning,” an overjoyed Brogden said. “We bought her out of the back ring as a broodmare prospect. This is the little mare that could. We bred her back to Curlin.”

The horsewoman continued, “We were just hoping to break our personal farm record for a yearling which is $550,000. But the crazy thing is Craig and I personally own half of this baby. So she's owned by Machmer Hall [Brogden's mom, Dr. Sandra Fubini's, farm] and we own the other half of her. I'm blown away. It's been the whole progression through seeing and raising every single foal. She's a special mare.”

Special Me's second foal was a fleet-footed filly named Stonetastic (Mizzen Mast), who won two graded stakes and was Grade I-placed with earnings over $856,000. Two years later came Gift Box, her first Grade I winner, and two years after that, she produced GSW Special Forces (Candy Ride {Arg}). Special Me's now-2-year-old filly Meir Point (Medaglia d'Oro) was purchased by Larry best for $500,000 as a weanling at Fasig-Tipton November. The 14-year-old mare aborted her Quality Road this year, but is back in foal to Curlin.

“David [Hayden] from Dark Hollow [who bred and sold Special Me] came up and talked to me [Sunday] at the sale,” Brogden said. “We were talking about how this was not bad for a premie, nocardioforplacentitis mare that throws beautiful foals. She's a great mom, easy to get in foal and she raises nothing but runners.”

It is no secret that Brogden loves both Into Mischief and Unbridled's Song. This is a cross she breeds a lot of and has been good to her. In fact, Crow purchased another Into Mischief filly bred on that cross and raised at Machmer Hall for $425,000 at last week's Fasig-Tipton sale.

“We bred [SW & MGISP] Shoplifted (Into Mischief) on that same cross and Intense Holiday (Harlan's Holiday) on that same cross,” said Brogden. “Because Unbridled's Songs offer him beauty and stretch. Into Mischief gives them the will, the heart, the bone and the bodies. It's been an incredible match.”

This is the first yearling sales season for Carrie and Craig Brogden's new Machmer Hall consignment. They sold four horses during Book 1 for a gross of $1.92-million and average of $480,000. They had two yearlings RNA during the opening session, but sold all three of their Monday entries.

“[Sunday] I had horses that had a lot of vetting,” Brogden said. We felt we were solid at 'X' level, but people wanted them to be at 'Y' level, so we adjusted our reserves. I think, like for this filly, her reserve was less than half of what she brought. It's about trying to be realistic, adjust our expectations, and let people get involved and feel like they're getting a fair market price for what is going on in the world right now.” @CDeBernardisTDN

Crow Goes to Seven Figs for Gift Box Sib

Agent Liz Crow went to $1.025 million late in Tuesday's Book 1 session to secure an Into Mischief half-sister to GISW Gift Box (Twirling Candy), MGSW Stonetastic (Mizzen Mast) and MGSP Special Forces (Candy Ride {Arg}). Hip 405 was bred by Carrie and Craig Brogden and Dr. Sandra Fubini's Machmer Hall and offered by their new Machmer Hall Sales.

“We just really like buying from Carrie; I think she and Craig do such a good job of raising really good racehorses,” Crow said. “Obviously, the mare has proven that she can do it time and time again, so we just hope that this is another one of the mare's good horses.”

When asked to describe the Mar. 23 foal, Crow said, “I went to see her on the farm–I saw her at Carrie's farm first. She had a great attitude; just the way she carried herself and presented herself with a lot of class. She did the same here. Every time I saw her, she was classier than the last time.”

While Crow has built her reputation as a sharp judge off of value buys like $100,000 superstar Monomoy Girl (Tapizar) and $40,000 champion 2-year-old filly British Idiom (Flashback), she and Bradley Weisbord's BSW/Crow have signed for four horses this week for $2.84 million .

“[These are] for a different client, and we'll go right back down to buying our $25,000 and $50,000 and $100,000 horses in Books 2, 3 and 4,” Crow said sheepishly. “We haven't changed our mentality, but when you're buying that kind of pedigree page, that's what it costs.”

As for the market as a whole, she said, “I think the market's pretty good. We're obviously missing Godolphin and Shadwell [to an extent]–we're missing a lot of that money. But these groups, these partnerships that they're putting together, are very hard to outbid.” —@BDiDonatoTDN

Crow talked to the TDN after the sale.

Courtlandt Determined to Get Into Mischief

After missing out on a million-dollar son of leading sire Into Mischief during Sunday's opening session (Hip 121), Courtlandt Farm was determined to take home on of the Spendthrift stallion's daughter, going to $1.025 million for Hip 275 Monday.

Bred and consigned by Clearsky Farm, the bay filly is out of SP Mary Rita (Distorted Humor) and her third dam is Hall of Famer Personal Ensign.

“We thought she was a big, beautiful filly with a lot of substance to her,” Courtlandt Farm manager Ernie Retamoza said. “We've looked at a few Into Mischiefs, [Sunday] we got outbid on the colt that brought $1 million. We're a big fan of Into Mischief. We thought she had a lot of substance and a lot of class and she's the kind of filly we want in our race program. It seems like for all the better ones you have to go further than you thought you'd want to go. But that's the way the sale is going. Everybody is on the same ones it seems like.”

Don Adam's Courtlandt Farm was very active at both Fasig and Keeneland, taking home four yearlings at Newtown Paddocks and another three during Book 1 of Keeneland. In addition to Hip 275, Courtlandt purchased a $950,000 Quality Road colt (Hip 366) and a $690,000 son of Into Mischief (Hip 314).

“Mr. Adam has a plan,” Retamoza said. “I don't know if we'll stick to a number but we would like to pick up eight or 10 yearlings total. You get outbid on nice colts you have to keep swinging. We're excited about what we got at Fasig-Tipton and what we've got here so far. We have a few more to go and hopefully we will get lucky.”

As for his thoughts on the market, Retamoza said, “For the right horses [the market] it's strong. A lot of horses, if they're average or below, you see what's happening. It seems like there were more RNA's [Sunday] than [Monday], but the right horses are bringing the money.” @CDeBernardisTDN

Tapit Filly Proves Brilliant

On the day he announced the retirement of his Grade I-winning sophomore Honor A. P. (Honor Code), Lee Searing survived a protacted bidding duel to acquire a filly by Tapit for $850,000 during Monday's second session of the Keeneland Sale. The chestnut yearling (hip 417) was bred and consigned by Mt. Brilliant Farm, which purchased her dam Strike Charmer (Smart Strike), with the filly in utero, for $700,000 at the 2018 Keeneland November sale.

“She is magnificent,” bloodstock agent David Ingordo said after signing the ticket in the name of Mayberry Farm. “Mt. Brilliant raises great horses and I love buying from them. Mr. [Don] Adam [of Courtlandt Farms], raced the mare and we [Lane's End] sold the mare in foal with that baby to them. John Shirreffs will get the filly. He loved her and Mr. Searing was brave enough to keep bidding against whoever was bidding against him.”

Ingordo also found success as a breeder during Monday's session of the September sale. Hip 366, a son of Quality Road out of Rutile (Medaglia d'Oro), co-bred by Ingordo and Jerry Moss, sold for $950,000 to Courtlandt Farm. The yearling's second dam is Set them Free (Stop the Music), dam of Moss's multiple Grade I winner Tiago (Pleasant Tap) and GI Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo (Holy Bull).

“Mr. Moss let me have that mare back somewhere along the line,” Ingordo said. “She is the most like Set Them Free, the mare that my mom and Ms. Mayberry bought 100 years ago. So it was nice to get something out of that family and she went to a great home. I'm not usually much of a breeder, but that's the best work I've ever done.”

Of the market at Keeneland, Ingordo added, “I know everybody is nervous about the market out there, but I promise you, if a horse walks up here that is any good, it's very difficult to buy them.”

The Goodman family's Mt. Brilliant Farm enjoyed a quick return on its $700,000 investment in Strike Charmer. The 10-year-old mare won the 2016 GII Ballston Spa S. and GIII Beaugay S. for Courtlandt Farm.

“She is a beautiful filly from a really good family,” Hutton Goodman said of the yearling. “This filly has been the top of the class from the beginning. From the day she was born, she's been straightforward, one of those that never has anything wrong with them, always the front of the pack. We are thrilled she is going to a great home. It's the best possible scenario for us–to get to that barn where you know she is going to get the best chance she could possibly get. With owners who have a great track record and do right by them and give them every chance. We are just thrilled.”

Goodman said purchasing the mare in 2018 had been a no-brainer.

“She is a beautiful mare who could really, really run,” he said. “That year, Tapit averaged $600,000 and we paid $700,000 for the mare. So we thought it was a smart buy, to get a gorgeous mare who was a multiple graded stakes winner from a family which continues to produce. They produce stallions and race fillies and broodmares. That's something that appealed to us-a family that just keeps on growing and getting better.”

Strike Charmer has a weanling colt by Medaglia d'Oro and was bred back to Justify. @JessMartiniTDN

Heider Jumps for Another 'Joy'

Heider Family Stable's Scott Heider will be sending another high-class filly over to trainer Joseph O'Brien in Ireland after snatching up hip 229 for $800,000 early in Tuesday's second Book 1 session. The daughter of Kitten's Joy was consigned by Gainesway, Agent XII.

Heider and O'Brien campaign the likes of June's G3 Gallinule S. heroine Crossfirehurricane (Kitten's Joy), as well as Thursday's G2 Park Hill Fillies S. winner Pista (American Pharaoh), a $675,000 buy here two years ago.

“She'll go to Joseph O'Brien–we've got a 3-year-old Kitten's ?Joy with Joseph now, Crossfirehurricane, who's doing really well over there; we've got a 2-year-old Kitten's Joy with Joseph as well, Corsa [who was a $250,000 KEENOV '18 buy],” said Heider, who was joined during the bidding process by advisors Tony Lacy and Donato Lanni. “We love sending Kitten's Joys to Joseph over in Europe. They fit really well.”

Hip 229 is of MSW turf sprinter Joya Real (Eddington), who's half to GSW grasser La Dolce Vita (Quiet American). She was a $140,000 KEENOV acquisition by the pinhooking partnership led by Gainesway's Brian Graves and which signs as Fish Bloodstock.

“We were really excited about this filly the last couple days,” Heider said. “We had to certainly stretch here–Kitten's Joys, commercially, aren't usually lightning up the board like that. But, part of [the decision to keep bidding] was the strength of our conviction for Kitten's Joys in Ireland, specifically with Joseph. It's worked, so we're going to go back to the same well and try it again.”

Other Kitten's Joys to find success on the other side of the pond are fellow KEESEP grads and international superstars Hawkbill ($350,000 in 2014) and Roaring Lion ($160,000 in 2016).

“We've looked at them all, and there are some great offerings–colts and fillies–but this one was our favorite,” said Heider when asked how hip 229 stacked up with other Kitten's Joys in Book 1. “This filly is super athletic. She looks like a horse who's going to fit Ireland with the way she moved. I think Joseph will be very happy with her. We're excited.”

Graves, who had a productive day as co-breeder and pinhooker Sunday when selling a $1-million Quality Road colt and a $260,000-to-$635,000 Nyquist colt, had plenty more to celebrate Monday with the rest of the Gainesway team.

“It was for myself, [Gainesway President Antony] Beck, [Gainesway Yearling Manager] Sherri Ivanovich, [retired Gainesway General Manager] Neil Howard and some other people at Gainesway,” the farm's GM said. “It's a family operation, and everybody works hard so when I buy a weanling it's open to anybody at Gainesway to get involved. We got lucky on this filly. She just developed the right way. We thought she was one of the top fillies we had on the farm this year. When buyers came through everybody liked her. She walked the same every time. The top judges found her. Mr. Heider liked a Tapit filly he bought from us at Saratoga last year (Thoughtfully, $950,000) that is undefeated now and has won the [GII Adirondack S. at Saratoga]. Everything came together and we wish him a lot of luck. The filly proved herself to be a top prospect. There have been a lot of good Kitten's Joys and she looks like she could be one of them.” —@BDiDonatoTDN

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