‘Brandi’ Tops KEENOV Book 1

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Take Charge Brandi topped Monday’s Book 1 of the Keeneland November Sale | Keeneland photo

by Brian DiDonato, Jessica Martini & Christie DeBernardis

LEXINGTON, KY – Take Charge Brandi (Giant’s Causeway) (hip 111) appears well on her way to topping her second Keeneland November sale after Hill ‘n’ Dale’s John Sikura paid a Book 1 high $3.2 million Wednesday to dissolve the Elevage partnership between himself and the Bernick family. The champion 2-year-old filly of 2014 was acquired for $6 million at the 2015 renewal of the November sale, and was offered this time around in foal to Justify.

The sale’s lone Book 1 session saw 163 head change hands, yielding a gross of $70,449,500, average of $432,206 and median of $300,000. A slightly smaller Book 1 last year produced a $61,583,500 gross from 134 sales–the average was $459,578 and median was $350,000. Wednesday’s RNA rate was 24.54%, compared to 21.18% 12 months ago.

Fourteen broodmares or broodmare prospects met or exceeded the seven-figure threshold Wednesday, compared to nine last year.

Both sets of statistics above include post-sale transactions now recorded by Keeneland and in line with the policy of other sales companies. There was one horse during Book 1 last year who exceeded a million dollars after the numbers were originally published.

“We had more horses catalogued up front here and I was really happy about the supplements at the end–two million-dollar horses at the end on top of what was originally catalogued,” said Keeneland VP of Racing and Sales Bob Elliston. “Our gross is up 14.5% today. That’s tremendous and broad support. There were 14 millionaires versus eight millionaires [sold in the ring] last year. If you had a quality mare, there were tons of buyers on them. The weanling market was strong.

Between $300,000 and $750,000, we had many quality weanlings who went through. That is a significant number contributing towards that gross being up 14.5%… Congratulations to Craig Bernick and John Sikura and the Elevage dispersal. They brought some tremendously nice horses here. There was tremendous support from our Japanese buyers. The Yoshida family were very big today and [Summer Wind Equine’s] Jane Lyon continues to put nice broodmares in her band, right here at the end, too. If you have a nice mare or a nice weanling, there are lots of folks who want to buy those.”

The day’s top weanling was a $750,000 son of Curlin consigned by Eaton Sales as hip 167 and purchased by Larry Best’s OXO Equine.

Hill ‘n’ Dale at Xalapa was leading buyer with four purchases for $4.8 million. Taylor Made Sales Agency was leading consignor with 39 sales resulting in $14.45 million in gross receipts.

“I thought the market was really good,” said Taylor Made’s Duncan Taylor. “Just walking around here, it didn’t seem like as many people were here, but the horses were selling well. So, I think it’s a good, strong market. We didn’t have that many buybacks today. We appreciate all the extra things that Keeneland is doing in terms of hospitality and taking care of the buyers.”

Book 2 of the 12-session November sale begins Thursday at 10 a.m.

Sikura Takes Charge of Brandi

The last time Take Charge Brandi (Giant’s Causeway) went through the sales ring, the 2-year-old filly champion was purchased by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm’s John Sikura, as part of the Elevage partnership with Glen Hill Farm’s Craig Bernick, for $6 million at the 2015 Keeneland November sale. Sent back through the sales ring Wednesday to dissolve the partnership, Sikura was once again the winning bidder, acquiring the 7-year-old mare (hip 111) for $3.2 million. Sikura was back in action a hip later to secure the mare’s weanling colt by Tapit for $600,000, signing for both in the name of Hill ‘n’ Dale at Xalapa.

“I owned half of the mare and there was a change in the partnership strategy,” Sikura explained. “We were initially going to be a stallion investment company, which has been a big part of our portfolio. But then we started to buy some mares and some of the partners thought we should concentrate our assets as we had originally planned. They wanted to sell all of the mares here at the sale. I wasn’t supportive of the idea as far as the best time to sell because the mares have had a couple of foals and it’s kind of like, ‘How is the half-baked cake going to taste?’ But I understood and agreed with their philosophy to stick to our core purpose.”

From the partnership dispersal, Bernick purchased Notting Hill (Aus) (Pierro {Aus}) (hip 42) for $700,000; a weanling filly by War Front (hip 228) for $650,000; and a Tapit weanling filly (hip 23) for $350,000.

Hill ‘n’ Dale also purchased the mare Cassatt (Tapit) (hip 189) for $600,000; and Callback’s Medaglia d’Oro weanling colt (hip 187) for $400,000.

“Craig and I have a great relationship and there is no animosity whatsoever,” Sikura said. “He’s bid and bought some, I’ve bid and bought some. We’ve been outbid on others. The best way to determine real market value is to bring them to the market where no one is advantaged or disadvantaged by the other.”

Take Charge Brandi, who sold Wednesday in foal to Triple Crown winner Justify, won the 2014 GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and GI Starlet S. before being named that year’s Eclipse champion 2-year-old filly. Out of Charming (Seeking the Gold), she is a half to Grade I winner Omaha Beach (War Front), who was second in the GI Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile last Saturday at Santa Anita. Her second dam is Take Charge Lady (Dehere), who produced champion 3-year-old colt Will Take Charge (Unbridled’s Song) and Grade I winner Take Charge Indy (A.P. Indy).

“It’s an impeccable female family; you get almost no opportunities to get into this family,” Sikura said. “The second dam is no longer producing and her dam, Charming, is owned by Coolmore and it’s very selective and very hard to get those offspring as well. Omaha Beach is a great stallion prospect. So this was a great opportunity. I have a long-term view. There is a commercial aspect to what I do, but I’m trying to cultivate and develop female families and create things of significance. When you get that opportunity, I’m less concerned about what they bring and more concerned about having access and opportunity to buy mares we hope can be important and breed-changing long term.”

Take Charge Brandi’s first foal, a colt by Curlin, sold to John Oxley for $850,000 at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. Her Tapit yearling colt RNA’d for $775,000 at this year’s September sale.

Sikura said, as a group, the Elevage mares offer breeders a unique opportunity.

“These are mares that have been hand-picked, one or more of these mares are going to be really important mares,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s going to be Take Charge Brandi or Mei Ling (Empire Maker) [hip 22 purchased by Claiborne Farm for $1.5 million] or Callback (Street Sense) [hip 186 purchased by Katsumi Yoshida for $2 million], or one of the others. I think there is a great opportunity in these Elevage mares. They have foals and have been bred back and now they having coming 2-year-olds by leading sires. The company has done the work for prospective buyers where you have three foals on the ground and nearly $1 million in stud fees that are paid. If one of them runs, these mares are pretty remarkable and unique, I think.”

After signing the ticket on Take Charge Brandi, Sikura stayed in his seat in the back of the pavilion to watch the mare’s weanling colt sold. He jumped in to secure the youngster for $600,000.

“Get him home and develop him the best we can,” Sikura said of plans for the weanling. “All options are open. We are commercial sellers, so hopefully he’ll be a good yearling to sell next year. I thought he was very well-bought, a fair deal. I typically don’t buy colts, but when he opened at $500,000, I bid once and they dropped the hammer. So I’m happy to have him.”

In all 13 horses sold Wednesday from the partnership dispersal for a gross of $11.7 million and an average of $900,000. @JessMartiniTDN

Elevage Dispersal Fast from the Gate

The dispersal of the Bernick family and John Sikura’s Elevage holdings figured to feature prominently among the toppers at Keeneland November Wednesday, and the first offering to go through the ring kicked things off strongly. MGSP Mei Ling (Empire Maker) (hip 22) brought $1.5 million from Claiborne’s Bernie Sams, who said he was bidding on behalf of a client of the farm.

“She’s a pretty, young mare,” Sams said, indicating that he’d be active for other prospects on behalf of the client as the sale continued. “You don’t get many opportunities to buy mares like that.”

Purchased privately by the Elevage partners after her racing career, Mei Ling hails from an extremely deep female family of highest-level winners like La Gueriere, Icon Project, Al Mamoon, Allez France and Circus Maximus (Ire). Other graded scorers from the family include popular sire Munnings, Master Command, Aurora Lights, Castaway, etc. Mei Ling produced a War Front filly in 2018 and a daughter of Tapit earlier this year. She is back in foal to Medaglia d’Oro.

Mei Ling’s Tapit foal followed her dam into the ring, and Craig Bernick was left holding the ticket after going to $350,000 on behalf of his family’s Glen Hill Farm.

“You know she’s a great mare; a really sound mare,” Bernick said. “Empire Maker is a great broodmare sire. She goes back to a sensational pedigree that is good everywhere in the world. I bid really hard on the mare, I wasn’t able to get her, but we got the filly. We have a War Front filly out of the mare and now the Tapit as well. But they’re great people who bought the mare. The first two foals are with us and they own the mare, so we’re all on the same side. But I’m glad that she goes to such a good home.” —@BDiDonatoTDN

Best’s Buying Spree Continues

Larry Best of OXO Equine purchased Tuesday’s $5-million Fasig-Tipton November topper in GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff heroine Blue Prize (Arg) (Pure Prize) along with a trio of foals for a combined $1.265 million, and was back in action Wednesday at Keeneland.

First he picked up a $375,000 Frosted half-sister (hip 72) to his MGISP Rowayton (Into Mischief) and his $900,000 OBSJUN ’19 topper (also by Into Mischief), and later acquired the top weanling of the session, a $750,000 Curlin colt out of precocious MGSP Banree (Macho Uno).

The latter weanling was consigned by Eaton Sales as hip 167. Andre Lynch paid $450,000 for Banree at the 2018 Keeneland January sale. The romping Keeneland spring meet 2-year-old winner is a half to GSW Gloryzapper (Ghostzapper), a late supplement to the November sale who brought $1.5 million late in the session.

“It’s a Curlin, number one; has a great pedigree,” Best said. “The family, if you look at the half-sister and the family, it’s really a great pipeline. The horse just looked fast.”

Best has been playing at the top of the market at all types of sales–including for broodmares after Tuesday night–but said tough competition at the yearling sales was forcing him and other buyers to look closer at foals. He purchased four yearlings at Keeneland September for a combined $3,175,000.

“I think the elevated yearling market is driving some people to buy here at higher prices,” Best said. “As I said yesterday, ‘The Sheikh [Godolphin’s Sheikh Mohammed] is not here.’ So, there were too many cases where quality buyers couldn’t buy at the yearling sales. And so, they’re coming here, looking for talent… The yearling market has gotten so expensive, that you could argue that you have more shots on goal [with weanlings] at probably 60% of the price. And, over a long period of time, hopefully it works out.”

While Best said he had found plenty of weanlings he liked, he said many on his short list failed to pass the vet.

“I’ve had a lot of weanlings not vet,” he said. “That tells you that owners are putting them in here, feeling that [buyers] will overlook a chip, overlook this, overlook that. So, that’s a little bit of what’s here. But then, you’ve got others where it’s the right time for the owners to get out and if you have a quality weanling who stands out, instead of getting $200,000 or $300,000, like last year or the year before, they’re getting $600,000 or $700,000. And because of that price point, next year’s weanling market will be even stronger, and then I’ll have to–that’s why I’m doing the breeding!” —@BDiDonatoTDN

Shadai Farm Acquires Eskimo Kisses

Grade I winner Eskimo Kisses (To Honor and Serve) (Hip 233) joined an elite group of mares destined for Japan when selling to Teruya Yoshida’s Shadai Farm for $2.3 million Wednesday.

“This mare is fantastic, very good,” said Yoshida’s son Tetsuya Yoshida, who did his bidding out back while on the phone with his father. “My dad was so excited to get this mare. She was our top pick.”

Out of a daughter of Hall of Famer Winning Colors, Eskimo Kisses captured the 2018 GI Alabama S. and ran second in the GI Central Bank Ashland S. earlier that year. Bred by Gainesway, who also consigned her, the 4-year-old was raced in partnership by Antony Beck’s operation, Harold Lerner, Ken McPeek’s Magdalena Racing and Nehoc Stables.

“I am a little bit sad that she sold, but we brought her here to sell,” Gainesway’s Michael Hernon said. “She has found a terrific home in Shadai, the supreme operation in Japan. She will be happy there and hopefully at some point in the future we will visit her there.”

He continued, “She was a terrific prospect, a Grade I winner with a strong resemblance to her grandmother Winning Colors. She had the ability to carry her speed for 10 furlongs, winning the Alabama like she did. Thank you to all the parties that had interest in her, particularly Don Alberto Corp. and Carlos Heller, who pursued her up until the very end. I want to recognize Cris Caldwell for the job he did in the stand selling the mare. I thought it was top class.”

Eskimo Kisses is the lone Grade I winner for former Gainesway stallion To Honor and Serve, who was exported to South Korea, and is now his highest-priced offspring to date. @CDeBernardisTDN

Callback Headed to Japan

Grade I winner Callback (Street Sense) (Hip 186) marked the third seven-figure sale of the day for the Elevage Dispersal when hammering for $2 million to Katsumi Yoshida’s Northern Farm. That operation also purchased Photo Call (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) for $2.7 million at Tuesday’s Fasig-Tipton November Sale.

Winner of the 2015 GI Las Virgenes S., Callback was purchased by the Elevage partnership of John Sikura and Craig Bernick for $2.8 million at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton November Sale. She has produced two foals thus far: a now-2-year-old colt named Side Hustle (War Front) and a weanling colt by Medaglia d’Oro, who followed her into the ring, selling for $400,000 to Sikura. The mare is back in foal to that Darley stallion.

“Last time she sold here four years ago, I loved her very much,” said Northern Farm’s Shunsuke Yoshida. “Last time I didn’t get her, but this time we have her.”

He continued, “She’s from a very good family. I think Medaglia d’Oro is more popular here, so we need to think about [where she will go], if she will stay here. We haven’t decided yet. I’ll talk to my father tonight and we’ll decide. We are going to keep some broodmares in Europe as well now so, after the sale is finished, we’ll decide which mares are going where. There are many good sires in the United States and Europe, so there are plenty of options.”

Callback is a half-sister to stakes winner Defy Gravity (Bandini). Her dam is a half to GI Kentucky Derby hero Super Saver (Maria’s Mon) and GSWs Cyrus Alexander (Medaglia d’Oro) and Brethren (Distorted Humor). @CDeBernardisTDN

Lil Indy Makes Triumphant Return to KEENOV

When Lil Indy (Anasheed) (Hip 13) went through the ring at Keeneland during last year’s November Sale carrying a foal by New Year’s Day, she brought just $11,000 and was sent to Korea. At that time, however, her then 2-year-old colt Maximum Security (New Year’s Day) was unraced. Fast forward a year and she is now the dam of one of the top 3-year-olds in the country, making her a coveted offering this time through the Keeneland ring, where she summoned $1.85 million from Jane Lyon of Summer Wind Farm.

“I was very happy before Mr. [Larry] Best got involved,” Lyon joked. “I thought I had made the deal of the century. But, knowing what a great guy he is, I appreciate him quitting when he did. I think she is a lovely mare and she has obviously produced a superb 3-year-old. Hopefully, she can do it some more. Every one of my advisors was very excited about this mare. They put her at the top of my list.”

When asked if she had reached her limit on the mare price-wise, Lyon flashed a smile and said, “You know me, I don’t know what my max is until I hit it.”

Lyon was the underbidder on two high-priced offerings during Fasig-Tipton’s November Sale Tuesday evening, including $5-million sale topper and recent GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff heroine Blue Prize (Arg) (Pure Prize), who was bought by Best.

“I obviously thought [the market] was a little high last night,” Lyon said. “But, it is what it is. I have found in this business, being a broodmare buyer, they are always a lot higher [priced] than their babies sell for. I expect a good mare to bring a good price.”

She continued, “I actually came to this sale telling every one of my advisors, I have a lot of mares and I don’t need to buy a mare. So, if this is all I get, I will be happy with it.”

Lil Indy was acquired by Gary and Mary West for $80,000 at the 2014 Keeneland January Sale and was bred to their GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner New Year’s Day, resulting in Maximum Security. She did not produce a foal in 2017, but had a Flashback colt in 2018, after which she was purchased by Korean interests.

Maximum Security went on a tear after her export, winning on debut Dec. 20 and reeling off three more victories, including the GI Xpressbet.com Florida Derby. It was after that victory that SF Bloodstock acquired the mare and her weanling filly by New Year’s Day and brought them back to the States.

It proved a very wise move as Maximum Security would go on to cross the line first in the GI Kentucky Derby, but was controversially DQ’d. The bay redeemed himself with an impressive score in the GI Haskell Invitational S. and recently defeated his elders in the GIII Bold Ruler H. at Belmont.

“It has been a very nice result,” said SF’s Tom Ryan. “Congrats to everybody involved. Hartwell Farm helped us secure this mare. They got her in foal on one cover and presented her at the sale in superb condition. Lane’s End did a great job displaying her and we are delighted she is going to a great home in Summer Wind.”

He continued, “You always hope that you reach these heights. She sold above her reserve for sure. She is the dam of the best 3-year-old in training.” @CDeBernardisTDN

Lyon Back In Action Late

Summer Wind Farm was back in action again late in the day during the supplemental section, purchasing GSW Gloryzapper (Ghostzapper) for $1.5 million. Consigned by Taylor Made on behalf of Aaron and Marie Jones, Hip 274H sold in foal to Tapit.

“I was hopeful that she wouldn’t go over that because I am already past my budget, which I do just about every sale,” Lyon said. “I can tell you I am done. This is my last mare that I am buying here or anywhere the rest of this year. I am going to take some of my mares out of production, ones that I don’t think fit the program and some older mares I am thinking of retiring. We are just going to see what happens. I would think I am adding some good ones to the pack, so hopefully they will both have beautiful, healthy babies.”

A $15,000 KEESEP yearling, Gloryzapper won four of her 10 starts, including the 2016 GIII L.A. Woman S. Her first foal, a now-yearling filly by Medaglia d’Oro, sold to trainer Ben Colebrook on behalf of New River Equine for $1.1 million at the recent Keeneland September Sale. She produced a Pioneerof the Nile filly Mar. 3 of this year and is back in foal to Tapit.

“We liked her physically very, very much,” Lyon said. “We liked the fact she was by Ghostzapper. Obviously, she has beautiful babies. She sold the $1.1 million baby [in September], so if she can keep doing that, I can probably get out on her.”

Ghostzapper is proving to be a pretty successful broodmare sire with Horse of the Year and Triple Crown hero Justify (Scat Daddy), champion sprinter Drefong (Gio Ponti) and MGISW American Gal (Concord Point) among the list of 18 black-type winners produced by his daughters.

Gloryzapper has plenty of strength on her dam’s side as well. Her MGSP half-sister Banree (Macho Uno)’s weanling colt by Curlin (Hip 167) summoned $750,000 from OXO Equine’s Larry Best during Wednesday’s session. Her dam Grand Glory (Distorted Humor), herself a daughter of MSW & MGISP Royally Chosen (In Excess {Ire}), sold to WinStar for $650,000 at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton November Sale carrying a full-sister to Gloryzapper. The resulting filly is the now-2-year-old Superstition, who brought $850,000 from Steve Young at last year’s Keeneland September Sale. Owned by Perry and Ramona Bass, the Richard Mandella trainee finished fifth on debut at Del Mar Aug. 11 and has been breezing well at Santa Anita since.

@CDeBernardisTDN

Talk Veuve To Me Provides Brisset With Another High

Grade III winner and Grade I-placed Talk Veuve to Me (Violence) (Hip 113) helped launch trainer Rodolphe Brisset’s solo training career. He purchased her himself and she rewarded him with his first stakes win. The 4-year-old provided her part-owner and conditioner with another record achievement when selling to Stonestreet Stables for $1.3 million. Stonestreet principal Barbara Banke said she was unsure what the future would hold for the filly. She could return to the races in 2020 or be bred to Curlin.

“She’s staying here at one of the best places you can be,” said an emotional Brisset. “That’s good. I bought her with my own money to go on my own and then a friend of mine go in and she took on an awesome ride. She was amazing for us.”

Talk Veuve to Me was tabbed a ‘TDN Rising Star’ after romping by 11 1/2 lengths at second asking at Fair Grounds for Brisset and Stephen McKay and Team Valor bought in after that effort. Second behind $2.4-million FTKNOV seller Mia Mischief (Into Mischief) in the GII Eight Belles S. and to champion Monomoy Girl (Tapizar) GI Acorn S. last term, the dark bay captured the GIII Iowa Oaks next out. She won an optional claimer at Saratoga in August and was second in the GII Presque Isle Downs Masters S. this season.

Talk Veuve to Me was consigned by WinStar Racing. @CDeBernardisTDN

Nereid Added to Hunter Valley Group

The Hunter Valley Farm-led partnership which purchased Separationofpowers (Candy Ride {Arg}) for $2.1 million at Fasig-Tipton Tuesday, struck early in Wednesday’s first session of the Keeneland November sale, going to $1.25 million to acquire Nereid (Rock Hard Ten). The 11-year-old mare (hip 39) was consigned by Lane’s End and sold in foal to Quality Road.

“She has plenty going for her in the family, her sales record and she’s in foal to the right stallion,” Hunter Valley’s Fergus Galvin said after signing the ticket. “We have her daughter Figarella’s Queen (Medaglia d’Oro), too.”

Nereid, a half-sister to Grade I placed Sea Queen (Lemon Drop Kid), won the 2011 GI American Oaks. Lane Seliger’s Baumann Stables purchased Nereid for $1.3 million as a 5-year-old at the 2013 Keeneland January sale and Hunter Valley was an underbidder on that mare that day.

Nereid’s first produce, Figarella’s Queen, was second in the 2018 GIII Indiana Oaks in the colors of Qatar Racing, Hunter Valley and Marc Detampel. She RNA’d for $775,000 Tuesday night at Fasig-Tipton.

Nereid’s Kitten’s Joy colt sold for $450,000 at the 2017 Keeneland September sale; her Honor Code colt brought $375,000 at that auction in 2018; and her Speightstown colt sold for $825,000 this September. Shadwell Estate Co. purchased the Speightstown colt, now named Ebnzaidoon, as well as the Kitten’s Joy colt, Dawaam, who is now unbeaten in two starts in England.

“We thought about a million, but she is such a good-looking mare and she throws such good-looking stock, you’ve just got to reach that little bit more for those kind of mares,” Galvin said of the mare’s seven-figure price tag. “She is the type of mare we could very easily be out on in two or three foals.”

David Redvers, racing manager for Sheikh Fahad Al Thani’s Qatar Racing, signed the ticket on Separationofpowers Tuesday night.

Of the partnership, Galvin said, “We are going after those high-end type mares. The mares will stay in the U.S. and more than likely it will be commercial [broodmare band]. They are existing people we just kind of put together for these last two purchases.” @JessMartiniTDN

Delahooke ‘Successful’ in the Ring Wednesday

Agent James Delahooke wasn’t able to get anything bought during Tuesday evening’s Fasig-Tipton November sale, but he landed a big ticket item Wednesday in the form of 2017 GI Central Bank Ashland S. upsetter Sailor’s Valentine (Mizzen Mast). Delahooke paid $1.25 million for the 5-year-old on behalf of Bryant Prentice III’s Pursuit of Success LLC. Consigned to the sale by Taylor Made Sales agency as hip 78, she was carrying her first foal by War Front. Town & Country Horse Farms and Pollock Farms paid $800,000 for Sailor’s Valentine here 12 months ago.

“She’ll stay here,” Delahooke said. “I thought she was the nicest mare in the sale today, and we’re very happy to have her. That was my last bid.”

A $100,000 KEESEP yearling, Sailor’s Valentine’s third dam is MGISW Coup de Fusil (Codex).

“Number one, she’s drop dead gorgeous. The mare is a beautiful individual,” Delahooke said of Sailor’s Valentine’s appeal. “She’s a Grade I winner, in foal to a top sire–what’s not to like? She ticked all the boxes. I know that’s a cliche, but she ticked all the boxes.”

Of the competitive bidding across town Tuesday, he said, “I couldn’t get a look in. It was a very strong market… I went there I thought quite well armed, but I took a knife to a gun fight, which never works.” —@BDiDonatoTDN

Well-Related Galileo Mare Heading to PA

The regally bred Conquest (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) (hip 208) will be heading to historic Erdenheim Farm in Pennsylvania after agent James Wigan of London Thoroughbred Services stretched to $1.25 million for her Wednesday. The Denali Stud consignee was offered in foal to Triple Crown winner Justify.

She is out of Irish and English Group 1 winner Lillie Langtry (Ire) (Danehill Dancer), making her a full to seven-time highest-level winner and $3.2-million earner Minding (Ire), as well as Group 3 winner Kissed by Angels (Ire).

“It’s a beautiful family; Galileo, as we all know, is very, very good,” Wigan said. “It’s a wonderful cross, in foal to a good stallion. It’s one of the strongest pedigrees in the book… We were sort of stretching ourselves, but we’re very happy to have her.”

Erdenheim, founded in 1765 and long owned by George D. Widener, Jr., was the birthplace of Iroquois, the first U.S.-bred Epsom Derby winner (1881). Peter McCausland, the founder of Airgas, purchased the property in 2009 with his wife Bonnie. The McCauslands began to acquire mares to restore Erdenheim to its past Thoroughbred glory at the 2018 Tattersalls December Mare Sale, purchasing five lots for 2.86 million guineas with the help of Wigan. See Erdenheim Revival Gathers Pace for more.

@BDiDonatoTDN

Justify–Galileo Cross Proving Very Popular

The Scat Daddy–Galileo (Ire) cross is still in its infancy, but buyers clearly believe in it. Erdenheim Farm paid $1.25 million for a Galileo mare in foal to the 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify (Scat Daddy) Tuesday, and China Horse Club added its second mare this week bred that way after scooping up Hourglass (Ire) (hip 256) for $1.1 million. China Horse Club, which co-campaigned Justify, paid $850,000 for Easter Lily (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) Tuesday evening at Fasig-Tipton.

“She’ll go back to Ireland,” China Horse Club’s Michael Wallace said after signing the ticket. “Obviously, with her pedigree, she’s got a lot of value in Europe, so this is part of strengthening our European broodmare band. She’ll fit into that really well.”

Consigned by Paramount Sales, Hourglass is a half to MG1SW and sire Shamardal (Giant’s Causeway) and hails from the female family of another top stallion in the late Street Cry (Ire). Her dam Helsinki (GB) (Machiavellian), a full to Street Cry, brought $3.9 million in foal to Cherokee Run at this sale in 2004.

“We’ve looked at a few of that cross earlier on, and we bought one last night over at Fasig on the same cross,” Wallace noted. “Obviously, we have great faith in Justify. We’ve all seen what these sort of stallions with his ability can be, and we know once we put their progeny in the sale ring, they’re going to light the place up.”

Ballet Shoes (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) (hip 166), also carrying a member of the Coolmore resident’s first crop, RNA’d for $875,000 earlier in the session; and C’Est Ca (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) (hip 194) was bought back for $585,000.

Among early advertisements for the Scat Daddy–Galileo cross is Tango (Ire) (No Nay Never), winner of the Oct. 13 Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Legacy S. at The Curragh. —@BDiDonatoTDN

Don Alberto Stays Active

The Solari-Heller family’s Don Alberto Corporation, which purchased three mares Tuesday at Fasig-Tipton, got into action at Keeneland Wednesday, going to $1.2 million to acquire Grade I placed Bernina Star (Harlan’s Holiday). The 5-year-old mare was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency and sold in foal to Curlin.

“We thought she was a great physical and she has a good race record, and of course she is in foal to Curlin, which is a big plus,” said Don Alberto’s executive director Fabricio Buffolo. “We can get a foal right out of her this year coming. She was one of our favorite mares in the sale.”

Deron Pearson’s D P Racing purchased Bernina Star for $300,000 as a Keeneland September Yearling in 2015. Running in Pearson’s colors, the mare was third in the 2018 GI Clement L Hirsch S.

Across town Tuesday, Don Alberto bought out a partner at $1.8 million for Baffled (Distorted Humor) (hip 95) and purchased Mopotism (Uncle Mo) (hip 155) for $1.05 million.

Buffolo admitted Bernina Star’s final price was slightly over expectations.

“It was just a little tick over what we expected,” he said. “There are a lot of outs, yesterday and today, so there are a lot of people landing on the same mares, so that’s why it’s probably a little bit more expensive.” @JessMartiniTDN

Purely Hot Brings the Sizzle

Bloodstock agent Hugo Merry struck late in Wednesday’s opening session of the Keeneland November sale to secure Purely Hot (Pure Prize), dam of Grade I winning juvenile Eight Rings (Empire Maker), for $1.2 million on behalf of an undisclosed partnership.

“She is a really good-looking mare and obviously has a big 2-year-old that Coolmore’s just bought,” Merry said of the mare’s appeal. “It’s all good news. I thought on the trade, she was good value. It probably helped that she was sort of an add-on at the end of the sale.”

The 11-year-old Purely Hot (hip 274G), who sold in foal to Union Rags, was purchased by WinStar Farm for $250,000 at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton November.

Eight Rings, her second foal, sold for $520,000 to SF Racing and Starlight West at the 2018 Keeneland September sale. The Bob Baffert trainee was tabbed a ‘TDN Rising Star’ following his debut win at Del Mar Aug. 4 and, after losing his rider at the start of the GI Del Mar Futurity, he was a resounding six-length winner of the Sept. 27 GI American Pharoah S. He was most recently sixth in Saturday’s GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Prior to the Breeders’ Cup, it was announced that Coolmore had acquired the breeding rights in the Grade I winner.

Purely Hot was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency.

“We have seen quite a few mares go through that are young mares with current runners at the Grade I level,” said Taylor Made’s Mark Taylor. “They are just highly sought-after by everybody. When you buy young mares, you hope they can produce a Grade I winner, but when you can find a mare that has already done it and she’s still young, then that’s the best of both worlds. You don’t have to worry about her proving herself. She can produce commercial yearlings for you for the rest of her life. Or she could produce a stallion. I think she represented the best of both worlds.” @JessMartiniTDN

Brant Strikes for Rymska

Since his return to the world of Thoroughbred racing, Peter Brant has made plenty of headlines on the racetrack and in the sales ring, albeit mostly buying young horses to add to his racing stable. The White Birch Farm principal’s latest big purchase Wednesday, the $1.05 million Rymska (Fr) (Le Havre {Fr}) (Hip 77), is one he can add to his racing stable, but was bought with his broodmare band in mind.

“We haven’t decided whether she will stay in training or be bred,” said Alan Quartucci, who was acting on the absent Brant’s behalf. “She is a beautiful mare. She had a great career racing and I think she will fit [Brant’s] breeding program very well.”

A stakes winner in her native France, Rymska was privately purchased by Madaket Stables and and partners and transferred to Chad Brown. She finished second in the GIII Miss Grillo S. in 2016 in her first U.S. start and won the GIII Sweetest Chant S. the following term. She followed up with wins in the GIII Commonwealth Oaks and Winter Memories S. that season and added the GIII Athenia S. in 2018. Opening 2019 with a win in the GII Hillsborough S., Rymska finished second in both the GI Jenny Wiley S. and GI Gamely S.

“That is a great sale,” said consignor ELiTE Sales’s Brad Weisbord. “I thought the market was a little bit soft last night, but this mare was an exceptional racehorse for several years. Sol Kumin’s Madaket Stable, which is our top client, was the lead owner here with several partners. Chad Brown got her to win a Grade II, multiple Grade I-placed. The best part is Peter Brant’s White Birch Farm bought. Peter is going to build one of the best broodmare bands in the world. He is back in racing in a big way. He is also a client of ours, so it is kind of cool that we can go to wherever he sends her and visit her. She will stay in America and we know he will do the best by her. It is one of our biggest clients to one of the biggest players in the game. It is great for both guys.” @CDeBernardisTDN

Investment Pays off for West

Bob West was a man with a season to leading sire Medaglia d’Oro last fall and, with the help of advisor Ned Moore, conducted a global search for the right mare to invest in with an eye towards a quick resale. Ultimately, West purchased Cholena (Indian Charlie), in foal to Maclean’s Music, for $115,000 at this year’s Keeneland January sale. The owner of Millford Farm was rewarded Wednesday at Keeneland when the mare (hip 200) sold for $435,000 to St. Elias Stable and her Maclean’s Music weanling filly sold for $150,000 to Paca Paca Farm.

“I’m ecstatic,” West said after watching the mare and foal sell. “I am over the moon.”

He continued, “It’s taken a while, but finally I’ve come to the realization that you have to invest in quality if you expect to get a good return. It’s the only way you can play in this game and have any real chance, unless you are fantastically lucky.”

The 7-year-old Cholena was a $325,000 FTKNOV weanling in 2012 and RNA’d for $490,000 at the following year’s Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale. Out of Mini Chat (Deputy Minister), the bay mare is a half to Grade I winner Dixie Chatter (Dixie Union) and a full to graded winner Rumor (Indian Charlie). Her second dam is champion Phone Chatter (Phone Trick).

Cholena made only one start and had produced a Tiznow filly in 2017 before slipping in 2018.

“She was a full-sister to a Grade III stakes winner,” West said of the mare’s appeal. “I liked the fact that she was by Indian Charlie, a half-sister to a graded stakes winner, her second dam is a champion and she was really pretty. She had a lovely head and neck. I don’t really know how she got past me and I just thank Ned for putting me on her.”

Of his expectations taking Cholena up to the ring at Keeneland Wednesday, West admitted, “I really needed to sell her badly. I needed to get my money back. I had basically all the money I had to invest in her and the season, too, so I was prepared to take a loss, but I felt good about her. I knew we had a lot of lookers. And there were enough updates and so forth, Medaglia d’Oro was doing great, Indian Charlie had a great fall as a broodmare sire and the first foal to race [Tiz Epic] broke her maiden at Belmont a couple of weeks ago. It was one of those situations where everything came together.”

The weanling filly’s result was more of a pleasant surprise, according to West.

“I actually brought her up here to advertise the mare,” West said of the weanling. “I knew that she was a nice filly, but Maclean’s Music is not really a day one quality sire. But because she was such a good individual, I was hoping that people would look at her and because of that maybe pay a little bit more for the mare. And then she kind of took on a life of her own. People just really loved her.”

West said he hoped to limit his exposure by quickly turning around his investments.

“That’s kind of what my game plan has been, a sort of modified pinhooking investment,” he said. “But the idea is to continue to invest in the best quality that I can afford. I’ve been in this game long enough to know that bad things happen, good things can too, obviously, but if you turn them around quickly, the chances of things going wrong are less, you have more control over it, I think. That’s the main thing.”

Cholena was the only mare West invested in this year, but with his returns from Wednesday, he already has plans to reinvest.

“Yes I am. Most definitely,” he said when asked if was planning to buy more mares. “This time, there was just one. Maybe next year, I’ll have two.” @JessMartiniTDN

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