Brisk Trade as Book 2 Concludes at KEESEP

Hip 1320 | Keeneland Photo

by Brian DiDonato and Jessica Martini

The Keeneland September Yearling Sale continued to churn out strong results as the two-session Book 2 portion of the 13-day auction produced figures ahead of last year's corresponding sessions.

Through two Book 2 sessions, Keeneland sold 466 yearlings for $69,281,000. The Book 2 average was $148,672–up 10.7% from a year ago–and the median was $117,500, an 11.9% increase from 2015. The book's top price was $1 million and there were 22 horses to sell for $400,000 or over.

During last year's Book 2, 525 yearlings grossed $70,557,000 for an average of $134,394 and a median of $105,000. The top price was $700,000 and there were 17 yearlings sold for $400,000 or over.

“I thought the session went very well,” reported Keeneland's Director of Sales Geoffrey Russell. “We had brisk and active trade all the way through.”

Russell sees increased participation by players such as Lane's End, which purchased Saturday's top-priced lot, as key ingredients to the buoyant trade during Book 2.

“You are seeing Lane's End, who are being very active in buying yearling colts at the moment, and you see Ron Winchell heavily buying horses, too,” Russell commented. “That's a couple of players who last year weren't playing at that level. It's an influx of new money at that level and it makes it difficult and competitive. The strength at that $400,000 to $750,000 level today was very good.”

Lane's End's Bill Farish purchased hip 1320, a son of Uncle Mo, for a session-topping $750,000. The yearling was consigned by Columbiana Farm as agent for his breeder Bo Hirsch. Bob Ochocki's Columbiana had two Book 2 offerings; the farm also sold a colt by Into Mischief (hip 1252) for $425,000 to Spendthrift Farm.

“It was great to see Columbiana top the sale today,” Russell said. “It's good to see farms like that excel at the top of the market, especially in Book 2.”

Uncle Mo was also responsible for Saturday's top-priced filly when D.J. Stable went to $450,000 to secure hip 1123.

Through five sessions, 812 yearlings have sold for $189,506,000. The sale average stands at $233,382 and the median is $170,000. The cumulative buy-back rate is 31.76%.

The Keeneland September sale continues Sunday with the first of two Book 3 sessions beginning at 10 a.m. The sale continues through Sept. 25.

Lane's End Lands Uncle Mo Colt

Lane's End, which has made a habit of adding well-bred pricey colts to its racing roster over the last year, struck Saturday at Keeneland September to take home a son of Uncle Mo for $750,000. Out of stakes-placed Magical Victory (Victory Gallop), hip 1320 was consigned to the sale by Columbiana Farm on behalf of breeder Bo Hirsch.

“He's a really nice colt,” Lane's End's Bill Farish said of the yearling. “We knew he was going to be one of the feature lots of the day, and we went a little further than we wanted to, but we got him.”

Farish continued, “It's just so competitive for these ones that everybody's on. The sire's obviously doing great. He's a Book 1 sire, and you just expect you're going to have to pay up for ones like him.”

Hirsch, standing alongside bloodstock advisor Kathy Berkey, admitted the sale was bittersweet.

“I'm not a seller,” Hirsch, son of Oak Tree Racing Association founder Clement Hirsch, explained. “I normally don't sell horses. But with the seven-year itch with Uncle Sam, sometimes you have to sell. This takes care of the situation. I have mixed emotions, but [Lane's End] will do a great job with him.”

After his father's death, Bo Hirsch purchased Miss Houdini (Belong to Me) as a weanling from the elder Hirsch's estate. The filly went on to win the 2002 GI Del Mar Debutante. She became the dam of Papa Clem (Smart Strike), who won the 2009 GII Arkansas Derby in Hirsch's colors. The mare also produced Magical Victory.

Magical Victory's 2-year-old is Thirst for Victory (Stay Thirsty), a first-out winner at Saratoga this summer for Mike Repole, who purchased the colt for $80,000 at last year's Keeneland September sale. Magical Victory produced a filly by Stay Thirsty this year and she was bred back to Declaration of War.

Hirsch, who will also offer an Exchange Rate filly through the Columbiana consignment Tuesday at Keeneland, has eight mares and, while he usually races his stock, agreed he was enjoying the successful sale Saturday.

“I didn't realize it was so much fun to sell something,” he laughed. “I hope I am miserable that I sold the horse, that would be a blessing.” @JessMartiniTDN

Dickman With Another Big Late Buy

Vern Dickman of Dickman Legacy Ranch went all the way to $975,000 to secure a Curlin filly during Book 3 of the 2015 Keeneland September Sale, and stretched to $650,000 to acquire a Ghostzapper colt (hip 1231) during Saturday's Book 2 session. The dark bay half-brother to GSW Rezif (Distant View) was consigned to the sale by his breeder, KatieRich Farms. Trainer Bob Baffert signed the ticket, and fended off the likes of Donegal Racing's Jerry Crawford.

“I'm just trying to get horses bought–I didn't think he was going to bring that much,” Baffert said. “He looks like a big, strong horse.”

He continued, “It's been a strong sale for the good ones–I thought he'd go for around $400,000 – $500,000, but he looked really good back there.”

Dickman is the founder of Utah-based Spring Communications. He entered the aforementioned Curlin filly at Fasig-Tipton Florida in March, but later withdrew her. Now named Chaybaby, she has been working regularly at Los Alamitos. –@BDiDonatoTDN

Getting 'Rich' at KEESEP

Larry and Karen Doyle's KatieRich Farms had a productive day at Keeneland September Saturday, selling four yearlings for a combined $1,545,000, including the $650,000 Ghostzapper colt (hip 1231) who went to Dickman Legacy Ranch.

“We're very happy–they did a great job on the farm,” offered Larry Doyle while overseeing one of his other offerings in the back ring. “[Farm manager] Tammy [Ingebritson] did a terrific job raising the horse and bringing him up. I think they got a really nice horse.”

Doyle said he purchased hip 1231's dam Formal Affair (Dynaformer), a half to GI Blue Grass S. hero The Cliff's Edge (Gulch), privately several years ago. Her Harlan's Holiday filly sold for $190,000 at Fasig-Tipton Saratoga two years ago.

“I was [expecting a nice price]–maybe not $650,000, but maybe in the $400,000 [range],” Doyle said of the price tag for the Ghostzapper colt. “Our reserve was $250,000, but I thought it would go a lot higher–there was a lot of action on the horse.”

Doyle's operation has done well in previous years later in the sale. KatieRich sold a $700,000 Smart Strike filly to top Session 6 at this auction in 2014.

Among KatieRich's other Saturday offerings was hip 1274, the last Tapit to go through the ring during this year's sale. Agents Hanzly Albina and Nick Sallusto purchased the colt for $475,000 on behalf of an undisclosed client.

“He's just a beautiful example of what his good sire can do,” said Albina. “His body was unbelievable, beautiful walk–the usual.”

Sallusto noted that the colt, whose third dam is Hall of Famer Personal Ensign (Private Account), was a candidate to be resold at a 2-year-old sale next year. His dam was sold by KatieRich for $530,000 in foal to Curlin at the 2015 Keeneland November Sale.

KatieRich's third well-sold yearling was hip 1334, a More Than Ready half-sister to recent Kentucky Downs Juvenile S. runner-up Parlor (Lonhro {Aus}). The May 9 foal went to Justin Casse, Agent for Joe Minor's JSM Eqine, for $390,000.

KatieRich also sold a Tapit filly out of GISW Her Smile (Include) at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale in August. –@BDiDonatoTDN

Another Pioneer for Zayats

Zayat Stables added a colt by Pioneerof the Nile to its roster when EQB's Patti Miller signed the ticket at $575,000 for a son of the same sire as the Zayat's Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.

“We thought he was an exceptional physical,” Miller said of hip 1290. “He obviously had a tremendous way of moving. He handled the sale well–he wasn't a pushover, but he handled the sale well. And he obviously cardio-ed well. We thought he was an exceptional invidividual with a tough mind and he ticked all the other boxes.”

The May 2 foal is out of Keysong (Songandaprayer), a half-sister to stakes winner Miss Catalyst (Mr. Greeley). He was consigned to the sale by Paramount Sales on behalf of the pinhooking partnership of Olin Gentry, Gabriel Duignan and Peter Russell. Gentry signed the ticket on the youngster at $85,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton November sale.

“He was kind of a backward foal,” Duignan said of the youngster. “He was a late foal, but he still had a good walk. We hoped he would improve into a good horse and he did everything we hoped for.”

Of the colt's yearling price tag, Duignan smiled, “I'm very happy with the price. Very happy.”

Hip 1290 was bred by Bloodstock Investment II, which purchased Keysong with this foal in utero for $52,000 at the 2014 Keeneland November sale. She resold, in foal to More Than Ready, for $75,000 at the 2015 Keeneland November sale.


Crawford Comes Back Strong for Curlin Colt

Jerry Crawford missed out on the $650,000 Ghostzapper colt purchased by Bob Baffert, but the Donegal Racing president came back determined to come out on top for hip 1256, going to $450,000 to secure the son of Curlin.

“The pedigree jumps off the page,” Crawford said. “We've had success with a Curlin in [GI Travers S. winner] Keen Ice–that's value added for our people. And this is a good, strong, scopey two-turn horse and that's what we are in the business to find–horses that will go two turns in the Classic races.”

Consigned by Blandford Stud, agent, the bay colt is out of Guard the Lines (War Front), a full-sister to Grade I winner Data Link. The mare was purchased, with this foal in utero, for $400,000 at the 2014 Keeneland November sale by the South African-based Mayfair Speculators Pty.

“I got outbid a little while ago for a magnificent Ghostzapper,” Crawford admitted. “I don't even remember what I went up to–I think I went up to $625,000–and Bob Baffert bought the horse for $650,000. The fact that I missed out on that one made me more determined to get this one because I thought they were the two best Triple Crown-type horses today.”

The Curlin colt was Crawford's eighth purchase of the September sale. He also acquired a son of Tiznow (hip 257) for $370,000. His purchase average is $233,750.

“We had really been dancing between the raindrops the last couple of days, managing to get horses that not everybody was on,” he explained. “But today, these two, I'm pretty sure my 4-year-old grandson could have figured out that these were horses you needed to bid on. We're not done. We're going to be around for a little bit longer for today and I wouldn't be surprised if something else happened.” @JessMartiniTDN

Uncle Mo Filly Costs Some 'Green'

The Green family's New Jersey-based D. J. Stable paid up for an Uncle Mo filly Saturday, reaching to $450,000 to secure hip 1123, who was consigned by Four Star Sales.

“Aside from the fact that she was the most outstanding athlete that we had [on our list] in the entire sale, there's a lot to say about this filly,” said Jonathan Green, whose parents Lois and Leonard Green founded D. J. Stable in the 1980s. “She looks like she's going to go a route of ground, we think she's going to have early speed, and we're already campaigning an Uncle Mo filly who we like a lot and she reminds us of her, as well.”

That other Uncle Mo filly is the 3-year-old Joe Orseno trainee Mo' Green, a 5 3/4-length Monmouth optional claiming winner July 29 who was most recently sixth with a troubled trip in the GIII Monmouth Oaks Aug. 20. She was a $70,000 OBS April juvenile buy.

“From what we've seen so far, [Uncle Mo has] thrown just such an outstanding athlete,” Green added. “It's really hard to delineate the differences between [individuals], but this filly had a little bit extra leg under her and just enough sex appeal–for lack of a better term–that we were just really enamored with her. We came down here looking to get one top filly and one top colt, and she was by far our top filly and we were really pleased to get her for that price.”

Green, whose operation also picked up a Stormy Atlantic colt out of GSW Palanka City (hip 962) for $135,000 Thursday, noted that this was the most that D. J. Stable had ever paid for a filly.

“In the past, we've come down here and bought 10-12 yearlings for an approximate budget of $500,000 – $700,000,” he explained. “This year we decided we were going to come down and really solidify the group by only adding a couple top ones.”

D. J. Stable spent $1.1 million on six yearlings here last year, topped by a $400,000 Unbridled's Song colt.

Leonard Green is the founder and chairman of the Woodbridge, N.J.-based accounting, tax, consulting and advisory firm The Green Group. The Greens were co-owners of GI Fountain of Youth S. winner Songandaprayer (Unbridled's Song), and also own Hawkeye Farm in Kentucky.

Hip 1123's second dam is SW and GSP Jaramar Rain (Thunder Gulch), who was also responsible for MGSP Imperial Council (Empire Maker). The Uncle Mo colt was just a $30,000 KEENOV weanling buy by a group that included John Greathouse III and his cousin Deuce.

“We weren't expecting that [price]–you always hope for as much as you can get,” said John Greathouse III, general manager of his family's Glencrest Farm. “She did everything she was supposed to do, and obviously we're thrilled. We wish them the best of luck, and hopefully she goes on to win many, many races for them. She's one of those horses who you just enjoy being around–she's got a great mind on her. I had Uncle Mo on my farm as a yearling. It's nice to get some of his [progeny], and we've had quite a few and it's nice to have a little luck with him. These pinhooks are few and far between–they don't always go the right way, but when they do, you've got to enjoy it.”


Distorted Humor Filly to Jay Em Ess Stables

Jay Em Ess Stable's Samantha Siegel, who admitted she was finding plenty of competition when bidding on her chosen hips, went to $380,000 to secure a filly by Distorted Humor during Saturday's fifth session of the Keeneland September sale.

“She is a nicely made, correct filly who handled herself well,” Siegel said of hip 1198. “She is well-made and from a nice family. Hopefully there is a lot of upside.”

Consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, the yearling is out of Edit (Unbridled's Song), a half-sister to stakes winner Miss Catalyst (Mr. Greeley).

“Unfortunately, the good horses are all bringing a lot of money, but I'm happy to have her,” she added. “There is lots of money still here. We all have good taste and good taste is expensive.”

Hip 1198 was Siegel's third purchase of the September sale. She purchased a daughter of Uncle Mo (hip 842) for $325,000 during Friday's session of the auction and went to $270,000 to take home a filly by Into Mischief (hip 1075).

Asked if she was specifically shopping for fillies, Siegel said, “Absolutely not. I was underbidder on two colts yesterday. I loved the Paynter (hip 747), but couldn't get close to him. You make your list up and they fall where they fall, but it was just a coincidence that we've gotten fillies.”

Jay Em Ess, which has campaigned Grade I winners Include Me Out (Include) and Rail Trip (Jump Start), currently has GI Ballerina S. runner-up By the Moon (Indian Charlie) carrying its colors with trainer Michelle Nevin.

Trainers for Siegel's most recent purchases will be determined next year.

“They will go to Taylor Made and chill out for a month or so,” Siegel explained. “Then they will go to Ocala with Brian Rice and he'll break them and next year we will decide where they go.” @JessMartiniTDN


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