Competitive Bidding Continues As Book 2 Concludes

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Miss Exclusive | Keeneland

By Jessica Martini & Christie DeBernardis

LEXINGTON, KY – Demand remained strong during Wednesday’s final Book 2 session of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale in Lexington, with Greg Goodman’s Mt. Brilliant Farm making the day’s highest bid of $750,000 to acquire the Juddmonte mare Miss Exclusive (Unbridled’s Song) from the Mill Ridge Sales consignment.

“I think we are at a very good spot,” Keeneland’s Director of Sales Operations Geoffrey Russell said at the close of business Wednesday. “I think Book 2 was a good, solid book from start to finish. Obviously, today was highlighted by a Juddmonte mare who was sought-after by several people. It’s good to see these local farms replenishing their stock, Mt. Brilliant, Stone Farm, Fred Hertrich, WinStar and Dixiana. So it’s good to see the success of the September sale has led to people reinvesting in broodmares. That is good and healthy for our industry.”

During Wednesday’s session, 231 horses grossed $33,856,000 for an average of $146,563 and a median of $130,000. With 88 horses reported not sold, the buy-back rate was 27.59%.

Through the two Book 2 sessions, 454 head sold for $68,798,000. The Book 2 average was $151,537 and the median was $125,000.

A reformatted 2018 auction–which featured a single session Book 1–precludes direct comparisons to the 2017 sale, but last year’s Book 2 sessions saw 459 horses sell for $60,101,000. The average was $130,939 and the median was $100,000.

The weanling market remained competitive Wednesday, with a colt by Tapit leading the way when selling to bloodstock agents Alex Solis and Jason Litt for $380,000. The youngster was one of seven to bring $300,000 or over during the session.

“The quality of the foals was unbelievable,” Russell said. “Listening to buyers–or non-buyers–there is a little frustration. It was interesting today talking to several people who said, ‘I’m giving more than I thought I should give and I’m still not getting there.’ That again reflects on the health of the September sale. These people feel comfortable that the market is on the increase and they can buy with confidence that they will be able to sell next year.”

The Keeneland November sale continues through Nov. 16 with sessions beginning daily at 10 a.m.

Miss Exclusive Joins Mt. Brilliant Band

Greg Goodman of Mt. Brilliant Farm admitted he has been trying to buy into a Juddmonte family for years and he finally got the job done Wednesday at Keeneland when purchasing Miss Exclusive (Unbridled’s Song) for $750,000. The 6-year-old mare, in foal to Noble Mission (GB), was consigned by Mill Ridge Sales as agent for Prince Khalid Abdullah’s operation. Bloodstock agent Marette Farrell signed the ticket for Mt. Brilliant.

“We really liked her,” Goodman said. “We’ve been looking at her for a few days. We tried to buy some of the family from Juddmonte at Tattersalls the year before last, but we got outbid. So, we’ve wanted to be in the family for a long time and to get a mare like this out of this family for a long time. We’re excited to be able to get her.”

Miss Exclusive (hip 898) is a daughter of champion grass mare Intercontinental (GB) (Danehill), who is out of Hasili (Ire) and is a full-sister to champions Dansili (GB), Banks Hill (GB) and Champs Elysees (GB).

“She’s obviously from a lovely family and mares like that are collector’s items,” said Juddmonte’s Garrett O’Rourke. “We’re lucky enough to have enough of them to pass one on. We’ve got to get the numbers down, so that mares like that every now and again have to find another home. But it’s great when they go to very good homes and I’m delighted for people like the Goodmans to have a jewel like that.”

Juddmonte, which enjoyed a two-win day on Breeders’ Cup weekend, also parted ways with Compression (First Defence) Wednesday at Keeneland. The 3-year-old broodmare prospect (hip 731) was purchased for $420,000 by bloodstock agent Steve Young.

“We’re always trying to keep the quality at the highest level and not let any slippage,” O’Rourke said. “I think there are plenty of people out there trying to compete or unseat us, so I think we’ve got to keep the quality at the highest level possible in order to produce the quality of horses that we are constantly trying to produce.”

Juddmonte’s colors were carried to victory last Saturday at Churchill Downs by the brilliant Enable (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}) in the GI Breeders’ Cup Turf and by Expert Eye (GB) (Acclamation {GB}) in the GI Breeders’ Cup Mile.

“I think it’s always our primary goal to keep Prince Khalid happy with the performance of his horses and, as long as they are winning, hopefully he is happy,” O’Rourke said.

Of the farm’s success at the Breeders’ Cup, O’Rourke said with a laugh, “It just keeps the pressure on that we have to keep it up to those standards. We’ve got to perform.” @JessMartiniTDN

Fennelly Building Broodmare Band

When David Fennelly first came to the United States, he was working as a groom at Spendthrift. The Irishman has come a full circle of sorts and is now building his own commercial broodmare band at his Mountmellick Farm, 600 acres on the former Kentuckiana Farm in Georgetown. He added multiple graded stakes placed Theogony (Curlin) (hip 1030) to the band with a $500,000 bid at Keeneland Wednesday. The 8-year-old mare, in foal to Quality Road, was consigned by Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency.

“She is a beautiful mare,” Fennelly, who did his bidding in the pavilion while seated alongside bloodstock agent Terry Gabriel, said. “She is absolutely stunning. Her conformation is amazing. We love Quality Road and she’s by Curlin, one of the most accomplished stallions in the industry. So we really wanted this mare badly. And we are so happy to get her.”

Fennelly left the Bluegrass for New Orleans and was originally in the coal transportation business before he and a partner purchased the fleeting and shifting company Turn Services in 1990.

“We are relatively new to the area,” Fennelly said. “We are coming back around to full circle. I used to work for Spendthrift when I first came to the United States. That’s where the story began and now we are here at Mountmellick Farm.”

Theogony, a daughter of multiple graded stakes placed Upcoming Story (Tale of the Cat), was Fennelly’s third purchase of the Keeneland sale. He acquired Featherspun (Hard Spun) (hip 773) for $125,000 and a weanling filly by Honor Code (hip 993) for that same price.

“Right now, with today’s purchases, we have 12 mares, but we intend to increase significantly over a period of time,” Fennelly said. “We are just a commercial operation right now, but we are just getting back in and starting, so I’m not sure what we are going to do from here.”

Just six hips after purchasing Theogony, Fennelly’s fledgling Mountmellick operation offered a weanling colt by American Pharoah out of Toast to Ashley (First Defence) as hip 1036. The bay RNA’d for $95,000. Through Scott Mallory’s consignment, Mountmellick sold a Liam’s Map colt out of La Milanesa (Mr. Greeley) (hip 857) Wednesday for $50,000. @JessMartiniTDN

Homeland Security to Moyglare

Moyglare Stud, which has had racetrack success buying such graded stakes winners as Discreet Marq (Discreet Cat) and Celestine (Scat Daddy) as racing/broodmare prospects at the fall breeding stock auctions, may be looking for similar results after purchasing Homeland Security (Smart Strike) (hip 816) for $460,000 Wednesday at Keeneland.

Racing for Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence, the 4-year-old filly won the July 8 River Memories S. and Oct. 28 Zagora S. over the Belmont Park turf for trainer Chad Brown.

“A 1 1/2-mile turf horse–that’s at least one thing we’re familiar with,” Moyglare’s Fiona Craig said after signing the ticket on the dark bay, who was consigned by Elite. “She is a very nice individual, by Smart Strike with a lovely pedigree that traces back well.”

Discreet Marq, winner of the 2013 GI Del Mar Oaks, was purchased for $2.4 million at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton November sale and went on to add a win in the GIII Beaugay S. and a third-place effort in the 2015 GI Just a Game S. in the Moyglare colors for trainer Christophe Clement. Celestine was another Grade I winner before being purchased by Moyglare for $2.55 million at the 2016 Keeneland November sale. She added another graded score to her tally before retiring to the farm’s Irish-based nursery.

“We will figure out what to do with [Homeland Security] along the way,” Craig said. “She may go down to Florida and try and win a couple more races. We’ll see how we get on.”

One November acquisition already on her way south to join the Clement stable is My Arch Enemy (Arch) (hip 489), who was purchased Tuesday at Keeneland for $400,000.

“My Arch Enemy is already on her way to Florida,” Craig said. “Eva [Maria Bucher-Haefner] would like to have a bit of fun, a little racing, and this is actually easier than buying yearlings or foals or broodmares. It’s quicker. Now we have a dual stakes winner and we can play with her a bit and see what we get to.” @JessMartiniTDN

More Than a Spring Fling for Hunter Valley

Hunter Valley Farm’s Adrian Regan admitted he was stretched to his limit when the operation acquired Spring Fling (Lemon Drop Kid), in foal to Into Mischief, for $195,000 at last year’s Keeneland November sale. That one-last-bid proved worthwhile Wednesday at Keeneland when the mare’s weanling filly sold for $360,000 to Spendthrift Farm.

“We loved the mare last year,” Regan said after watching hip 995 go through the ring. “James Keogh was selling her and he thought well of her. But that was our final bid on the mare–thanks be to God no one bid against us after that.”

The 5-year-old Spring Fling is out of multiple graded stakes winner Swept Away (Mystery Storm) and is a half-sister to graded stakes placed Cash Refund (Petionville). The Into Mischief filly was the mare’s first foal.

“She has been beautiful the whole year,” Regan said of the filly who was co-bred with Pat Barrett. “She was a really quality filly the whole time she was here and she showed beautifully down in the barn.”

Of the weanling’s final price tag Wednesday, Regan added, “She had a lot of action, but we never thought she was going to go to that. It’s been a good day.”

Spring Fling remains in the broodmare band at Hunter Valley and she is back in foal to Into Mischief.

Hunter Valley was also active as a buyer in the weanling market Wednesday at Keeneland. The farm purchased a colt by American Pharoah (hip 767) for $340,000 earlier in the session.

“The weanling market has been very strong,” Regan said. “This is the way the weanling market seems to be every year. It’s very resilient. Everytime you go up and try to buy one, it’s very tough. Let’s hope it keeps going.” @JessMartiniTDN

Buscar Stables Off to a Strong Start

Joseph Wade grew up with a father who owned racehorses, and when he and his wife Anastasia were looking for something they could do together, Wade returned to his father’s pastime, horse racing. Starting as owners in 2013, they switched to breeding in 2016 and hit a homerun at Keeneland Wednesday when selling a Quality Road colt (hip 858) for $350,000 to Ben Glass, acting as agent for Gary and Mary West.

“My dad had racehorses from the time I was 8-years-old,” Joseph Wade said. “When we got married, we were looking for something we could do together and horse racing seemed like something we both could enjoy.”

The Los Angeles native turned Florida resident continued, “We bought our first mares with Mike [McMahon] and Jamie [Hill] in 2016 here, so this is our second sale back with the babies. We had a few years with the racing and now we switched to breeding.”

The Wade’s purchased hip 858’s unraced dam Lazy Susan (Tiznow) with this colt in utero for $120,000 at this sale last year. The 6-year-old mare is a daughter of MGISW millionaire Lazy Slusan (Slewvescent) and a half-sister to Grade I winner Last Full Measure (Empire Maker).

“Not a bad price considering we bought the mare for $120,000,” Wade said after congratulating Glass.

The Wades currently have four mares, all of which reside at Hidden Brook under the care of Sergio de Sousa, who consigned this colt. The breeders were also represented by hip 1013, a Tapit colt out of SP Sweet Dreams (Candy Ride {Arg}), who is a half-sister to MGSW Strike Charmer (Smart Strike). The couple purchased the mare at the 2016 renewal of this sale for $180,000 in foal to Street Sense. They sold the resulting colt for $210,000 here last year and her 2018 Tapit colt summoned $380,000 from Alex Solis and Jason Litt Wednesday.

“I think it is right about where our expectations were,” Wade said. “What’s nice about Sergio and Mike and Jamie is they keep our expectations level. This is our fourth horse we sold and is definitely [our biggest sale]. Tthis is a new high for us.”

Solis credited his assistant Madison Scott with picking out the colt.

“Madison called and said there is a Tapit you have to see,” Solis said. “She was right. He is a good horse. He is very balanced and very athletic. It is going to be a partnership.”

“He was a beautiful horse and he is by Tapit,” Scott said. “He has a great walk and a great frame.”

The Wades still have one more weanling to sell during Friday’s session, a filly by American Pharoah (hip 1726), but they are already looking towards the future.

“We are looking to build a farm here with Sergio, maybe 10 or 15 mares,” Wade said. “We are probably going to come back in January and February and look [at mares]. Since this was our first foal cycle, we wanted to see how it went before we jump more into the mares.” @CDeBernardisTDN

Ballet Dress an International Success

When Ballet Dress (Hard Spun) went through the ring at Tattersalls last December, James Keogh recognized her pedigree as one which would likely appeal to American buyers and purchased the then 3-year-old filly for 30,000gns ($42,456). The horseman was rewarded Wednesday at Keeneland when the mare, in foal to Mastery, sold for $240,000 to Frank Batten.

“I bought her in Newmarket last year from the Godolphin draft,” Keogh said from the back walking ring. “She is a very, very pretty filly and it’s one of the most important pedigrees in the American stud book. It’s the female family of Althea and Courtly Dee. It really really appealed to me and there is a lot going on under the first dam, sisters being very well-bred.”

Bred by Godolphin, Ballet Dress (hip 689) is a daughter of 2004 GI Frizette S. winner Balletto (UAE) (Timber Country). Her third dam is Althea, a daughter of blue hen mare Courtly Dee.

Ballet Dress sold carrying a foal from the first crop of unbeaten Grade I winner Mastery (Candy Ride {Ire}), who was the covering sire of 18 mares sold at Keeneland so far this week for an average of $206,389.

“I am a big Mastery fan,” Keogh said of the covering sire.

Of Wednesday’s result, Keogh said, “I’m thrilled and delighted. She is a ‘Nothing but Net.'” @JessMartiniTDN

Frosted Weanlings Prove Popular at Keeneland

Weanlings from the first crop of MGISW Frosted (Tapit) were in high demand during Keeneland November, with seven babies selling for an average of $205,00 and a gross of $1.435 million. The handsome gray stands at Darley’s Jonabell Farm for $50,000.

“We definitely were very impressed with what we had seen all spring and summer from the stallion,” said Godolphin Sales Manager Darren Fox. “He is a horse with an impeccable physical himself and he has been passing that on to his progeny. We have been seeing one good Frosted foal after another and have been receiving rave reviews from the breeders. We are thrilled.”

The highest-priced Frosted of the sale was hip 990, a colt out of the Medaglia d’Oro mare Spanish Gold, who sold to Cavalier Bloodstock for $310,000. McMahon and Hill Bloodstock purchased the most expensive Frosted filly, a $240,000 New York-bred (hip 836).

“She is a New York-bred and by a first crop sire that is a hot Darley horse, which is nice to resell,” McMahon said. “I really wanted to buy a Frosted for our group and Jamie [Hill] did, too. She is the nicest one we have come across so far. I am impressed by him. I have a couple of mares in foal to him and I am really happy about that.”

As for the price, he said, “I thought that was a great price for her. I didn’t think that was too much at all. I thought she was really, really good. I think she will look good selling in New York next summer. I think she was well bought.”

@CDeBernardisTDN

Runhappy Offspring Live Up to the Hype

The first foals by champion sprinter Runhappy (Super Saver) were well advertised, creating a lot of buzz on the sales grounds, and they lived up to the hype with eight weanlings selling for $1.53 million with an average of $191,250.

“We are thrilled with the way they are selling,” said Walker Hancock, whose Claiborne Farm stands Runhappy for $25,000. “We saw the quality at the farm and were very high on him. He has been stamping the foals just like himself. They are very athletic, very uniform and have a very racy look. I think they appeal to pinhookers, end users and maybe even Europeans too because he raced on no Lasix.”

Spendthrift took home the most expensive colt (hip 480) by the multiple Grade I winner for $240,000 and Peter O’Callaghan’s Cavalier Bloodstock snapped up the highest-priced filly (hip 954) for $215,000.

“We thought she was very nice, very classy and full of quality,” O’Callaghan said. “She is really athletic. She is the one we wanted of the ones we saw by him so far.”

He continued, “I thought we would get her for less than $200,000. We were really at our outer limit there. If somebody else had bid again, they would have had her. She was expensive, but she is lovely and we just have to hope it works out.”

Claiborne had success with another one of their young stallions at Keeneland in Mastery, whose first foals are due to hit the ground in 2019. Eighteen mares in foal to the undefeated, Grade I-winning son of Candy Ride (Arg), who stands for $25,000, sold for an average of $206,389 and a gross of $3.715 million.

“He has been doing very well,” Hancock said. “He doesn’t have as high a stud fee as some of these other stallions in their first year, but he had the highest average as of Tuesday [and was second-highest after Wednesday’s session]. I think people are excited to see what the foals look like. He is a very good-looking sire. He retired with a lot of buzz, winning all those races by open lengths, and he appeared to be one the best of his crops. We thought he was.” @CDeBernardisTDN

Tapwrit Partners Busy at Keeneland

Gainesway, Bridlewood Farm and Mandy Pope, who partnered to stand GI Belmont S. winner Tapwrit (Tapit), kept busy during Book 2 of Keeneland November, purchasing mares to support their young stallion in his first season at stud.

“We have an endeavor to make Tapwrit a very successful sire,” Gainesway’s Michael Hernon said. “He has all the attributes. He was a $1.2-million yearling, has a great physical, is out of a Grade I winner at two who won the Spinaway and is by Tapit, which speaks for itself. He won a stake at two, set a new stakes record at Tampa Bay and won the all-important Belmont S.”

He continued, “He’s got the pedigree, the physical, the performance and now we are going to support him. There is a big groundswell of demand for him and we are purposely buying mares suitable to him in partnership with our co-owners, namely Bridlewood Farm and Mandy Pope, and of course Gainesway and Antony Beck are behind the whole deal pressing the buttons.”

The partnership bought a total of five mares for Tapwrit in Book 2 for $505,000. Pocket of Aces (Harlan’s Holiday) (hip 938) topped the group at $160,000. The partnership also purchased Spangled Banner (Tiz Wonderful) (hip 578) for $120,000; Secret Return (Put It Back) (hip 555) for $105,000; Abbreviate (Harlan’s Holiday) (hip 657) for $65,000; and Cashconsiderations (Super Saver) (hip 316) for $55,000.

“We are looking for quality mares that are well conformed and have good speed in their pedigree,” Hernon said. “That is basically the formula: give them a good opportunity, put numbers on the ground, give them representation and then it is up to the progeny. They will perform. The gene pool is there. We are highly optimistic of his chances.”

He continued, “Some of those will be put on the market next year pregnant to him so we can disperse some of the first year product, sell mares fairly and give good representation. We’d like to put those mares into various state programs and position the horse to succeed right out of the gate.”

Team Tapwrit is looking to buy 35 to 40 mares for the Classic winner, who will breed between 175 and 200 mares total this season. The 4-year-old will stand for $12,500 LFSN in 2019.

“I would say in these days of bigger numbers and focus on quality with some polarization,” Hernon said. “I think we will approach 175 to 200 with him assuming all goes well. He has shown good interest in mares. He will be test bred in January and we will see how it goes. We will put good numbers underneath him, but we won’t spoil the position by making it too heavily supplied. We have to look after the horse.”

@CDeBernardisTDN

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