Brisk Trade Continues at Keeneland

Session-topping hip 1547 | Keeneland photo


LEXINGTON, Ky – The action remained brisk and bidding was competitive as the Keeneland September Yearling Sale entered its Book 3 section Saturday in Lexington. A colt by Pioneerof the Nile topped the auction's fifth session when selling for $525,000 to bloodstock agent Steve Young. The yearling was consigned by Gainesway.

In all, 253 horses sold for $31,392,500. The average was $124,081 and the median was $100,000. The buy-back rate was 30.3%.

The session topper was one of seven yearlings to better the $400,000 mark and one of 17 at $300,000 or over.

While the reformatted 2017 sale makes year-to-year comparisons inexact, last year's Book 3 opener, held on the sixth day of the sale, saw 269 yearlings gross $23,243,000 for an average of $86,405 and a median of $70,000. The 2016 session topper was $700,000 and there were three yearlings over $400,000 and seven over $300,000.

“I think the session was very hot today,” said Keeneland's Director of Sales Operations Geoffrey Russell. “It started off very quickly and successfully and it went all the way through. The prices were very fair and it was quite spirited at times in the bidding. People are still hungry to buy.”

Bloodstock agent Mike Ryan, who purchased subsequent GI Preakness S. winner Cloud Computing (Maclean's Music) from the first Book 3 session two years ago, was in constant motion Saturday at Keeneland, ultimately buying 16 yearlings for a gross of $3,350,000 and an average of $209,375.

“There are a lot of nice horses, a lot of nice physicals,” Ryan said. “There always are in Book 3. A lot of people got shut out in Book 2, including ourselves. It's very strong competition still. There are a lot of end-users, a lot of energy, you can feel it. It feels like it's very strong. I thought Thursday was very strong and there is always a trickle-down effect. If a sale starts off well, it usually follows on through the sale.”

Bloodstock agent David Ingordo agreed there was plenty of competition Saturday at Keeneland.

“It's very challenging,” Ingordo said. “And $400,000 is like $250,000 used to be. So if you want to buy a nice one, you've got to be ready to spend. Especially on the colts.”

The Keeneland September sale continues Sunday with the second and final Book 3 session beginning at 10 a.m. The sale continues through Saturday.


A colt by Pioneerof the Nile topped Saturday's session of the Keeneland September sale on a final bid of $525,000 from bloodstock agent Steve Young.

“Everyone in the pavilion bid on him once. But he is a really good horse,” Young said after coming out best in a protracted bidding duel on hip 1547. “I thought he was a Book 1 horse that was in Book 3.”

While he declined to name the client he purchased the yearling for, Young said, “He's a guy who is really special to me. And I hope this is a terrific horse.”

The bay yearling is the first foal out of Bella Fafa (Brz) (Elusive Quality), who was Group 1-placed in Brazil and is a half to Argentinian Group 1 winner Reraise (Know Heights {Ire}).

He was consigned to the sale by Gainesway on behalf his breeder, Three Chimneys' Goncalo Torrealba's Stud TNT.

“We had high expectations for him based on what we thought of him ourselves and the amount of interest in him once we got him here on the grounds,” said Three Chimneys' Chris Baker. “But that [final price] exceeded our expectations by quite a bit. You never really know how much they are going to like them

or, when you have multiple parties like that, how competitive it's going to be. That was beyond our expectations, but not shocking based on the kind of colt he is.”

Baker admitted the colt's Brazilian female family, likely not well-known to U.S. buyers, played a part in his placement in Book 3.

“We talked about [his female family] plenty and thought it might be a concern that he might be undervalued because of the lack of familiarity,” Baker said. “Obviously, in his case, the sire and the way he looks like the good ones by that sire and his athleticism superceded people being unfamiliar with the pedigree.”

Baker continued, “He has developed very well physically through the prep process. In general, with placement, we believe that if you're a big fish in a small pond, you're going to sell better. And he was solid individual, he just got better with the prep process and he became an outstanding physical. We put him on a day that he would stand out and his pedigree would be less of an issue. And it worked.”

Bella Fafa produced a colt by Will Take Charge.

Baker said he has been pleased by Three Chimneys' results in the sales ring at Keeneland this week, although he still sees some selectivity in the market.

“The first two books went very well for us,” Baker said. “Today we are batting a little bit better than 50%. I think what we are finding is that the ones that they like that we're getting sold are exceeding expectations and the ones they don't, they don't. It's a little bit of chicken or feathers/feast or famine. It further demonstrates the polarization in the market. They are liking more of ours than they are not liking and the ones they like are doing very well. It's been a good sale for us overall.”


Ron Winchell admitted he was thinking long-term when he purchased a filly by Trappe Shot for $480,000 to top early returns during the first Book 3 session of the Keeneland September sale Saturday.

“We really bought her from a breeding perspective and we're hoping that she's a really nice racehorse as well,” Winchell said after signing the ticket on hip 1276. “We'll race her and breed her. Maybe breed her to [Winchell and Three Chimeys's MGISW] Gun Runner–we're looking long-term.”

The chestnut filly is out of In Truth (Quiet American), a half-sister to stakes winner Mr. Palmer and from the family of Hot Novel, Behrens and Cowboy Cal.

“She was way more expensive than I thought she'd be, but that's the way every horse is,” Winchell said.

The yearling was consigned by Elm Tree Farm on behalf of North Carolina-based breeder Nancy Shuford.

“She was a beautiful filly,” Elm Tree's Jody Huckabay said. “The Winchells bought her and she couldn't have gone to a better home.”

Huckabay has plenty of faith in the filly's sire, Trappe Shot, who is a graded-stakes winning son of Winchell's Tapit.

“We own a share in the horse, we've supported him from day one,” Huckabay said of Trappe Shot. “I think he is going to have a really big horse one day. Claiborne doesn't breed tons of mares to him, so you get rewarded by not having the numbers you have to compete with.”


Bloodstock agent David Ingordo, standing alongside Dottie Ingordo-Shirreffs, signed the ticket at $475,000 to secure a colt by First Samurai on behalf of Jerry and Ann Moss. The yearling (hip 1586) will eventually join the barn of trainer John Shirreffs.

“John and my mother and I have been walking around here for three days looking at horses and that was one of the finest colts to walk up here,” Ingordo said. “He was raised right and we had to have him.”

Bred by Popatop and consigned by Elm Tree Farm, the dark bay colt is out of stakes winner Coastal Sunrise (Congrats), a half-brother to graded stakes placed Wall Street Wonder (City Place).

Two hips after purchasing the First Samurai colt for the Mosses, Ingordo was back in action again, going to $200,000 to secure a filly by red-hot young sire Cairo Prince on behalf of West Point Thoroughbreds.

“They are very well-balanced horses,” Ingordo said of the offspring of Cairo Prince that he has seen. “They look like they'll stretch out, but they also don't look like they'll be plodders. I won't be surprised to see them run early. The filly we bought, she just looked fast, but she also looks like she'll be able to go on. They are just very athletic, a very uniform bunch of horses.”


Ernie Retamoza admitted he had finished much of his shopping during the first week of the Keeneland September sale, but the longtime farm manager for Don Adam's Courtlandt Farms is still in town picking up some last-minute purchases. Retamoza, sitting alongside trainer Mark Hennig, signed the ticket at $450,000 to secure a filly by More Than Ready.

“We loved her,” Retamoza said of hip 1385. “We thought she was a beautiful filly from a great young family. We bought out of Book 1 and what we're trying to do now is gather up some good physicals with decent young families and see if we can make good racehorses out of them and help develop some families.”

The dark bay filly is the first foal out of Quality Rose (Quality Road), a half-sister to graded stakes winner Warning Zone (Chester House) and from the family of Dancing Spree, Furlough and Fantastic Find.

“Most of the ones that we were looking for in this book had kind of light first dams, but with strong second dams because you feel like you get a little better physical like that,” Retamoza said. “We are looking to hopefully develop them, maybe this is the one that makes the first dam.”

The More Than Ready filly was Courtlandt Farm's ninth purchase of the sale. Later on durin the book three opener, they added a 10th, hip 1426, a Woods Edge Farm-consigned filly by Uncle Mo for which they paid $350,000. The operation went to $600,000 to acquire a colt by Tapit (hip 36) in Book 1 and have thus far spent $3.475 million.

“It's strong for the right horses,” Retamoza said of the market. “We were the underbidders on the Trappe Shot filly (hip 1276). We hated to lose her, but we went a lot stronger on her than we thought we'd have to.”

Hip 1385 was consigned by Lane's End, as agent for Kinsman Farm. Kinsman purchased Quality Rose, with this foal in utero, for $180,000 at the 2015 Keeneland November sale. She was bred to Shanghai Bobby this year.

Not a subscriber? Click here to sign up for the daily PDF or alerts.

Copy Article Link


Never miss another story from the TDN

Click Here to sign up for a free subscription.