Demand Remains High as Book 2 Concludes


Friday's topper J. Quirk – Hip 915 | Keeneland

by Jessica Martini & Christie DeBernardis

LEXINGTON, KY – Demand for horses remained high across the board as the Book 2 section of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale concluded Friday in Lexington.

“Today was pretty spectacular from start to finish,” Keeneland's Director of Sales Operations Cormac Breathnach said Friday evening. “It was a very strong day all the way through. We sense some frustration on the part of buyers with the momentum from September carrying through to November.”

A total of 475 head sold during the two Book 2 sessions for a gross of $76,528,000. The average of $161,112 was up 24.5% from the 2020 Book 2, while the median rose 39.2% to $135,000.

During last year's two-session Book 2, 425 head sold for $55,003,000 for an average of $129,419 and a median of $97,000.

The buy-back rate for Friday's session was 18.52%. Through three sessions, the cumulative buy-back rate stands at 22.18%. It was 28.53% a year ago.

Breeze Easy secured the section's top-priced offering when Chris Baccari made a final bid of $725,000 to secure the broodmare J. Quirk (Unbridled's Song) Friday. The operation came right back to acquire the mare's weanling filly by Gun Runner–the day's highest-priced foal–for $375,000.

Six lots topped the $500,000 mark during the section, matching the 2020 figure.

Friday's action featured a diverse buying bench, with the day's top 10 lots selling to nine different entities.

“It is great to see the depth of the competition for the mares,” said Keeneland's Vice President of Sales Tony Lacy. “I think that is very encouraging as we step forward. With the foal crops getting lighter, you see energized breeders. These are professional, established breeders, who are really investing and getting determined for the future.”

Bloodstock agent Lincoln Collins purchased two mares Friday for matching $400,000 bids on behalf of Woodford Thoroughbreds.

“It got very strong today,” Collins said. “It was strong enough yesterday, but we found it much harder to buy today than we did yesterday.”

Gainesway was Friday's leading consignor with 26 sold for $5,310,000.

“It's impossible to buy and it's really fun to sell,” admitted Gainesway's Brian Graves.

Consignor Neal Clarke of Bedouin Bloodstock expects the high demand to continue throughout the final week of the November sale.

“I think it is just going to get stronger,” Clarke said. “There is a lot of enthusiasm and a big appetite for horses right now. I wish we had 50 more horses to sell.”

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

Breeze Easy Gets Quirky

While Chris Baccari was signing Friday's session-topping ticket to acquire J. Quirk (Unbridled's Song) (hip 915) for $725,000 to join the Breeze Easy broodmare band, the operation's Mike Hall was calling an audible to go right back in and acquire the mare's weanling daughter by Gun Runner (hip 916) for $375,000.

“We are just trying to collect some really good mares,” Baccari explained of the first purchase. “And she's a proven producer and by Unbridled's Song.”

Hall added, “We liked the mare a lot. She has thrown a lot of good physical horses who have all sold well and done well.”

The 10-year-old J. Quirk, who sold in foal to Game Winner, is from the family of Tiznow. Her 3-year-old daughter Lady Mystify (Bernardini) sold for $325,000 at last year's OBS April sale and won this year's GIII Remington Park Oaks.

Hall was on the phone and giving Baccari instructions as bidding on the weanling progressed.

“We are going to race the filly,” Hall said of the day's highest-price foal. “We were here for the mare and at the last minute decided to get the weanling.”

Hall admitted, “I was a little shocked on the price. I stopped several times.”

Mare and foal were consigned by Denali Stud on behalf of Scott and Evan Dilworth. The Dilworths purchased J. Quirk for $260,000 at the 2016 Keeneland November sale.

Scott Dilworth, buying Hall and Baccari a congratulatory drink after the mare and foal sold, said the strong market had led him to offer the duo Friday at Keeneland.

“When it's raining, you sell umbrellas,” Dilworth said. “The market was so strong and I thought the mare and baby would complement each other if I sold them together. That's why I put the package together. Unbridled's Song is one of the top broodmare sires right now and there is a lot of blue skies for these guys with the Bernardini filly who is running right now. So I thought it was a great time to sell.”

Asked about the strength of the market, Dilworth shook his head and said, “It's unbelievable. I've been chasing weanlings all week. They are just running away. It's crazy. But it's a beautiful thing.”

Casner Dreams of Summer

Longtime owner/breeder Bill Casner went to $460,000 in the early part of Friday's session to secure the unraced Summer Vacation (Eskendereya) (Hip 680), a daughter of blue hen Dream of Summer (Siberian Summer).

“I've got a 3-year-old [filly] from the same family by Not This Time [Hippie Cowgirl] that was a good racehorse,” Casner said. “Unfortunately, she hurt herself after she broke her maiden, but I love that page and this mare has had good production.”

Grade I-winning millionaire Dream of Summer produced a trio of black-type winners by the late, great Giant's Causeway in Grade I-winning millionaire and sire Creative Cause; GISW mare Vexatious; and MGSW New York stallion Destin.

Consigned by Hill 'n' Dale, the 9-year-old mare sold in foal to Twirling Candy. She has already produced four foals, including MGSP Ten for Ten (Frosted).

“I think that is a good fit [her mating to Twirling Candy],” Casner said. “I think it's a good cross and that is certainly one of the things you take into consideration. You hope you can have a good baby and hope you can pay for part of the mare when that baby goes to the sales.” —@CDeBernardisTDN

Orglandes to Japan…Eventually

Orglandes (Fr) (Le Havre {Ire}) (hip 984) will be heading to Japan after selling to bloodstock agent Nobutaka Araki, bidding on behalf of Shimokobe Farm, for $440,000 late in Friday's session of the Keeneland November sale. But the mare will likely remain in the U.S. to be bred next spring and she may return to the barn of trainer Chad Brown to race again.

“Originally, we were going to buy her as a broodmare prospect and then send her to Japan next year,” Araki said. “But thanks to Elite consignment, they gave me a list of possible races for her. So she could start in this stakes Nov. 27 [GIII Long Island S.]. So I was getting Chad Brown's number from Liz and I will call Chad and say we might send her back. If she hits, we'll get some money back.”

Racing for the partnership of Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables, Wonder Stables and Michael Caruso, Orglandes won last year's GIII Red Carpet H. and she entered the Keeneland sale off a win in last weekend's Zagora S. at Belmont Park.

“She is a lovely mare–with size and a beautiful head. So we are very happy to get her,” Araki said. “Hopefully, her foals will come back for the Breeders' Cup.”

Orglandes was the second mare Araki purchased on behalf of Shimokobe Farm this week. He acquired Jolie Olimpica (Brz) (Drosselmeyer) (hip 193) for $675,000 at the Fasig-Tipton November sale Tuesday.

Curuzu to Benson Farm

Curuzu (Giant's Causeway) (hip 816) will be joining the broodmare band at Gayle Benson's Benson Farm after farm manager David Shone signed the ticket at $425,000 to acquire the 6-year-old from the Indian Creek consignment Friday at Keeneland. The mare, who is in foal to Nyquist, was proceeded in the ring by her weanling colt by Twirling Candy who sold for $200,000 to Tommy Wente's St. Simon Place.

“She is a gorgeous mare by Giant's Causeway and she's in foal to Nyquist,” Shone said of Curuzu's appeal. “But really the foal that went before her was one of the best foals I've seen today. She can obviously throw a good foal, so hopefully she can throw me a Nyquist that looks like that.”

Curuzu is a daughter of graded stakes winner La Reina (A.P. Indy) and she is a full-sister to graded winner Chief Havoc and a half to graded placed Aurelius Maximus (Pioneerof the Nile). Bred and campaigned by Emory Hamilton, she sold in foal to Twirling Candy for $140,000 to Keats Grove Farm. Her Twirling Candy weanling was bred by Idlewood Farm.

Benson Farm currently has a broodmare band of some 10 mares and most of the operation's foals will be offered at auction.

“We will see what we get and go from there, but typically we offer everything at sale and see what they make,” Shone said of plans for the farm's foals. “If they don't make enough, we'll race them.”

Also Friday, Shone purchased Something New (Medaglia d'Oro) (hip 660), in foal to Munnings, for $250,000.

Gayle Benson's G M B Racing campaigned Grade I winner Tom's d'Etat (Smart Strike) and Shone said the breeding operation will support the young WinStar stallion.

“We have some stallions now to support,” Shone said. “We have Tom's d'Etat at WinStar and a couple of stallions in Louisiana. So we have some mares we will breed to those stallions as well. We will expand a little bit so we have enough mares to breed to those stallions and some commercial mares for the farm as well.” @JessMartiniTDN

Counterparty Risk Set to Return to the Track

GSW Counterparty Risk (Ire) (Australia {GB}) (Hip 808) proved popular at Keeneland Friday, hammering for $400,000 to David Lanigan, acting on behalf of Scott Heider. She was consigned by Elite as a racing or broodmare prospect.

“She's a nice filly,” Lanigan said. “We are going to give her a little bit of a holiday and get her back in training around January or February. During that time, we will make a decision about where she will go, but the plan is to run on next year. We are happy to get her.”

Klaravich Stables purchased Counterparty Risk for 325,000gns at the 2018 TATOCT sale and shipped her stateside to Chad Brown. She captured the GIII Lambholm South Endeavour S. in February and was third in the GIII Eatontown S. in June. The 4-year-old was most recently third in Monmouth's Violet S. Sept. 25 and her record currently stands at 10-2-2-3.

Counterparty Risk hails from the family of GISW Sarah Lynx (Ire) (Montjeu) and GSWs Steel Prince (Nathaniel) and Sugar Boy (Authorized). —@CDeBernardisTDN

Woodford Continues Buying Spree

John and Susan Sykes's Woodford Thoroughbreds has been quite active all week and they struck late in Friday's session for a pair of $400,000 mares in foal to Horse of the Year Authentic (Into Mischief).

“We bought quite a few mares in the last few days, just trying to get the numbers up and have a go at having some good yearling sales,” said bloodstock agent Lincoln Collins, who signed the tickets while seated between John and Susan Sykes.

When asked if the shared covering sire was a factor in their purchases, Collins said, “Absolutely. We love Authentic. We think he is going to be a good stallion and we hope we are going to get good-looking ones out of the mares we bought in foal to him. We bought a mare out of Mrs. Abercrombie's [Pin Oak] dispersal in foal to Authentic, so now, I believe, we have four mares in foal to Authentic.”

The Woodford team's first purchase Friday was Mucho Amor (Mucho Macho Man) (Hip 967) from the Paramount Sales draft. The 5-year-old won four of her 19 starts, including the Seattle S. Bloodstock agent Christina Jelm purchased Mucho Amor for $100,000 at this year's Keeneland January Sale, just days after she finished third in the New Orleans S. Returned to the races under the name of new owner Michael Pegram, the dark bay was unplaced in her next three starts and was sent to Authentic just 18 days after her final race at Oaklawn Apr. 10.

Woodford's next acquisition came just seven hips later in the Elite-consigned New York Groove (Verrazano) (Hip 974). The bay was a perfect four-for-four as a juvenile, including wins in the Presque Isle Debutante S. and Woodbine's Glorious Song S. Campaigned by Commonwealth New Era Racing, Madaket Stables and Wonder Stables, she made her final start in January of this year and retired with four wins from nine starts. Her second dam Potrinner (Arg) (Potrillazo) was a Group 1 winner in Argentina, who produced GSW & MGISP Melhor Ainda (Pulpit).

“In the case of both mares, they are both stakes winners,” Collins said. “The Verrazano mare is a very useful 2-year-old, which I think is quite important. The other mare was a stakes winner and they were very, very good-looking. Looks are everything in the yearling game now. There is nothing that says that good-looking mares will get good-looking foals, but it is all about trying to increase your probability of getting a good-looking one.”

Woodford has purchased 10 mares so far at Keeneland November for a total of $2.92 million. —@CDeBernardisTDN

Baccari Strikes for Uncle Mo Colt

A weanling colt by Uncle Mo (hip 681) is destined for resale in the yearling market after selling for $360,000 to Chris Baccari early in Friday's session of the Keeneland November sale. The weanling is out of the unraced Sunshiny Day (Bernardini), a daughter of champion Storm Song (Summer Squall). He was bred by Aaron Sones and consigned by Eaton Sales.

“I knew he was going to cost a lot of money,” Baccari said. “In my opinion, he has a unique look for his sire, and I like his sire a lot. He is out of a Bernardini mare and moves like a cat.

[Uncle Mo] has sons that are reproducing now, so anytime you can, you need to get involved in something like that. He is a straightforward, good-moving horse. He looks like a straight racehorse.”

Of paying that much for a pinhooking prospect, Baccari explained, “I'm trying to acquire horses I can sell to my customers that will be racehorses. Sometimes I have to give a lot for some of them. Making money is good, but I want to make sure when I bring my product to town, my clients do well.

It is important to me to sell the very best I can get.”

The weanling had attracted a varied group of shoppers, according to Eaton's Reiley McDonald.

“He's a beautiful, beautiful horse,” McDonald said. “Physically, he is as good as it gets and he is out of a Bernardini mare with pedigree, so [the price] was not a surprise. We had end-users, pinhookers, a lot of people on him. He is a different class of individual.”

Well-Related Speightstown Set to Return to Auction

Those interested in Hip 817, a well-bred son of Speightstown, will get another shot to buy him next year as he was purchased by Brian Graves for one of his pinhooking partnerships. Graves signed the ticket as CeCe Stables.

“He will go in Saratoga or maybe Book 1 or Book 2 [at KEESEP], who knows,” said Graves after signing the ticket out back. “He is a select colt by a really good stallion and we are just excited to get him.”

He continued, “He was just an outstanding physical, just what you want to see from a Speightstown. He's got that speed look with a big hip and beautiful shoulder. He looks like he will be really fast.”

SF Bloodstock acquired Hip 817's MSW & MGSP dam Czechers (Indian Charlie) for $275,000 at the 2018 renewal of this auction carrying a foal from the first crop of Connect. That was the same year her son Switzerland (Speightstown) won a pair of Grade III events.

The full-brother to this weanling took quite some time to come into his own, but found his best form in 2018, winning the GIII Maryland Sprint S. and GIII Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash. Switzerland is now racing in Dubai and won the G3 Dubawi S. at Meydan in January.

“We have loved him from day one,” said consignor Bedouin Bloodstock's Neal Clarke. “He has been a great colt and is very well related. He came in here and did everything very professionally. We are thrilled with the price.”

Bedouin and SF Bloodstock have been having a very successful Keeneland November Sale, teaming up to sell the $800,000 Exotic Notion (Lemon Drop Kid) and her $600,000 Quality Road colt; the $600,000 Stormy Embrace (Circular Quay); a $350,000 Into Mischief colt; a $250,000 son of Uncle Mo; a $200,000 Justify colt; and the $65,000 mare Surreptitious (Speightstown). —@CDeBernardisTDN

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