Dispersals Fuel January Market


Regal Glory | Keeneland

by Jessica Martini & Christie DeBernardis

Propelled by the strength of a pair of marquee dispersals, the Keeneland January Horses of All Ages Sale churned out a powerful second session in Lexington Tuesday. Early in the day, Peter Brant's White Birch Farm purchased Regal Glory (Animal Kingdom) (hip 403) from the Lane's End consignment of the dispersal of the Estate of the late Paul Pompa, Jr. for $925,000. That bid was matched later in the session when Antony Beck's Gainesway Farm purchased Danceforthecause (Giant's Causeway) (hip 587) from the Sam-Son Farm dispersal. The two dispersals were responsible for the sessions top nine offerings.

“The power of the dispersal was very obvious here today,” said Keeneland's Director of Sales Operations Geoffrey Russell. “It was bittersweet, but we appreciate the trust they put in us to put this show on today.”

While shoppers may have come into the January sale hoping to find bargains in a down market, the dispersals proved demand was still healthy at the top of the market as breeders looked ahead to what Keeneland President Shannon Arvin called, “blue skies.”

“The opportunity, especially with the Sam-Son dispersal, to get into these mares has been limited over the years,” Russell said. “So people are hungry to get into these strong female families. And the same is true with the mares of Mr. Pompa. These are strong female families and, as Shannon quite rightly said, breeders are looking for blue skies ahead. And they have to have the product to produce yearlings to sell.”

During Tuesday's session, 247 head sold for $23,319,400. The session average was $94,411 and the median was $40,000. Through the auction's two Book 1 sessions, 456 horses have sold for $35,484,800 for an average of $77,818 and a median of $37,000.

“I thought the market was very strong,” Russell said. “I thought the foals sold exceptionally well today. Obviously, Mr. Pompa had some foals in there, but the non-dispersal foals sold very, very well. It was strong from start to finish.”

Larry Best, who purchased the top-priced lot during Monday's opening session of the auction, again purchased the top-priced short yearling Tuesday, going to $400,000 to secure a filly by City of Light (hip 660) from the Lane's End consignment.

Lane's End sold 41 horses Tuesday for a total of $5,601,000 and an average of $136,610.

“To be honest, I feel like it is fairly spotty,” Lane's End's Allaire Ryan said of the market. “It is pretty light for the average horse and the below average horses are tough to get moved. If you come up here with no expectations and no reserves, you can get them sold.”

Gainesway's Alex Solis II agreed the top of the market remained strong.

“I think it is very fair,” Solis said of the market. “Anything that is quality is bringing a lot of money.”

The Keeneland January sale continues through Thursday with sessions beginning daily at 10 a.m.

Regal Glory Jump Starts Pompa Dispersal

MGSW and 'TDN Rising Star' Regal Glory (Animal Kingdom) got the dispersal of the Estate of the late Paul Pompa, Jr., off to a quick start, summoning $925,000 from Peter Brant's White Birch Farm just three hips into Tuesday's session. Hip 403 sold as a racing or broodmare prospect.

Pompa, who campaigned the likes of dual Classic winner Big Brown (Boundary) and Grade I winner Connect (Curlin), passed away unexpectedly Oct. 10. In keeping with his wishes, his entire stock–which is a total of 39 horses, including broodmares, yearlings and racehorses–is being dispersed at this sale through the Lane's End consignment. Regal Glory was the first member of the dispersal to go through the ring.

“She was one of the top-class mares in this catalogue and was consistently competitive at the top of her generation,” said Lane's End's Allaire Ryan. “In this setting, one like her just stands out. We were really pleased with that and the fact she is going back to Chad [Brown] at the track. Hopefully, she will do more good things.”

A daughter of MGSW Mary's Follies (More Than Ready), Regal Glory currently boasts a record of 11-6-3-0 with earnings of $773,884. Trained by Chad Brown, the chestnut reeled off a trio of victories in the Penn Oaks, GIII Lake George S. and GII Lake Placid S. in 2019 and placed in two additional graded events. Kicking off 2020 with a second to her MGISW stablemate Newspaperofrecord (Ire) (Lope de Vega {Ire}) in Belmont's GIII Intercontinental S. June 6,  the 5-year-old mare was fourth to that foe again in that venue's GI Just a Game S. 21 days later and closed out the year with a win in the GIII Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf S. Sept. 12.

Mary's Follies (Hip 725) went through the ring much later in the day, bringing $500,000 from BBA Ireland. She was followed by her 2020 Connect colt (Hip 726), who sold for $185,000 to Larry Best's Oxo Equine.

“She's just a class mare through and through,” Ryan said of Mary's Follies. “That type of quality doesn't go unnnoticed. Despite the fact that she wasn't pregnant, she was a mare that when people came to see her, she had the appeal. Even though she wasn't pregnant, her produce record made her easy to like.”

Pompa privately purchased Mary's Follies after her victory in the 2009 GIII Boiling Springs S. at Monmouth Park for trainer John Forbes. Transferred to Rick Dutrow, the bay finished second in the Lake George in her first start for Pompa and went on to win the GII Mrs. Revere S. at Churchill in 2010.

The now-15-year-old mare has been a blue hen for Pompa's operation. Her first foal, Night Prowler, carried Pompa's silks for five seasons, winning two graded events and placing in two others. He was claimed away from Pompa in 2018 and won the Barbados Gold Cup this term. Regal Glory was her fourth foal and she was followed by Cafe Pharoah (American Pharoah), a $475,000 OBSMAR buy, who is a multiple graded stakes winner in Japan.

Beautiful Lover (Arch) was another big-figure sale for the dispersal, hammering for $650,000 to Moyglare Stud. A stakes winner and MGSP, Hip 537 is a half-sister to GSW & GISP Zivo (True Direction).

“She was an exceptional-looking filly as well, especially for that sire line” Ryan said. “She just had the size, the scope, the depth and she is ready to go on training as well. She had the race record and the physical to go along with it, so everything just fell into place.”

A total of 19 of the 39 horses in the dispersal went through the ring Tuesday, selling for a gross of $3.777 million and an average of $198,789.

“Things seem to be going pretty well,” Ryan said. “At this stage of the year, you don't have as many end users attending or the shopping the sale in the yearling market. Some of the short yearlings I thought they were a little bit light on, but that is the nature of the dispersal. You are the mercy of who is in attendance. By the same token, yearlings that are good physicals are making everybody's lists and there are money for the quality ones. Overall, we are pleased with how it has gone and the top lots will exceed your expectations.” @CDeBernardisTDN

Sam-Son Consignment Dominates

The Sam-Son Farm Broodmare Dispersal dominated the results at Keeneland Tuesday, as 21 mares sold for a gross of $6,733,000 and an average of $320,619. Gainesway Farm purchased the dispersal's highest-priced offering when going to $925,000 for Danceforthecause (Giant's Causeway) (hip 587). John Sikura's Hill 'n' Dale Xalapa purchased Deceptive Vision (A.P. Indy) (hip 598) for $900,000. Danceforthecause was the co-top priced lot Tuesday and the dispersal was responsible for five of the session's top 10 offerings.

“There were definitely mixed emotions, but pride was the main thing for me because these mares have been nurtured by a Canadian operation that competed on the world stage, or at least the North American stage, for many years,” said longtime Sam-Son manager Dave Whitford after the last Sam-Son mare went through the ring Tuesday night. “So to think that they came down here to be a big part of people's future, and to be valued by those kind of dollars, speaks volumes. There is a lot of pride.”

Whitford admitted the uncertainties caused by the global pandemic were a concern for the operation, but the opportunity to buy into families that have rarely been offered at auction brought out the buyers.

“We thought long and hard about how to disperse the horses,” Whitford said. “The family was concerned about the market. They wanted to maximize their value, but they had made the decision to get out of the business. Keeneland January has always been very good to us. It's a very strong market and we thought we would really stand out in here. We seemed to be able to attract plenty of buyers. Keeneland felt the same way and they agreed to put on the show for us. I think the market is definitely off a little bit, but when you bring mares like these, the families that haven't been on the open market very often, it brings everybody out. And the fact that they can bid online and virtually, makes all the difference.”

Ernie Samuel founded Sam-Son Farm nearly five decades ago and the Canadian operation has earned 84 Sovereign Awards, including 2019 Owner and Breeder of the Year, and four Eclipse Awards, as well as 37 Classic victories and 14 Grade I wins.

“The family wants me to thank the Keeneland operation,” Whitford said. “When we sat down to go over this a couple of months ago, we asked for the stars and they were more than accommodating. They couldn't have been any better to us.”  @JessMartiniTDN

Sikura Has Eye for Sam-Son Mares

John Sikura, who purchased Desert Isle (Bernardini) (hip 187) for $1.1 million at the Fasig-Tipton November sale last year, added two more daughters of Canadian champion Eye of the Sphynx (Smart Strike) to his broodmare band at Hill 'n' Dale at Xalapa from the dispersal of the historic Sam-Son Farm Tuesday at Keeneland. Sikura acquired Deceptive Vision (A.P. Indy) (hip 598) for $900,000 and came back a few hips later to acquire her half-sister Fun in the Desert (Distorted Humor) (hip 637) for $530,000.

The 11-year-old Deceptive Vision, who sold in foal to War Front, won the 2014 GII Canadian S. and the 2015 GIII Doubledogdare S.

“Deceptive Vision was a very good race mare,” Sikura said. “She was in the minority of their runners who left Canada and won here in the U.S., which is an important factor for me. She won the Doubledogdare at Keeneland, she was on the Kentucky Oaks trail. So she was a high-quality race filly. She has a [yearling] War Front filly. If the yearling can run, you have some activity in the family.”

The 10-year-old Fun in the Desert is the dam of Canadian champion 3-year-old filly Desert Ride (Candy Ride {Arg}) and sold Tuesday carrying a full-sibling to that 2019 Woodbine Oaks winner.

“Fun in the Desert is the dam of an Oaks winner,” Sikura said of the mare's appeal. “And Distorted Humor is a world-class broodmare sire.”

Eye of the Sphynx, Canada's champion 3-year-old filly of 2004, is the dam of champion Eye of the Leopard (A.P. Indy), as well as stakes winners Hotep (A.P. Indy).

“I bet everything on the one pedigree,” Sikura said. “That's not to take anything away from any of the others, but for me, I found that the most interesting family. The goal is to try to proliferate that pedigree, refresh it, make the success current and, over time, to have many daughters of all three of those mares enter the broodmare band and be successful both on the racetrack and in the commercial sales ring.”

Sikura grew up watching the success of the Sam-Son operation and he said the dispersal was a pivotal opportunity to get into the historic pedigrees.

“Dispersals are often important momentum shifts,” Sikura said. “If you look back at Overbrook and the [Ned] Evans dispersal and many others, there are usually one or more of those offspring who bear significant fruit to the next purchasers. That's not to say what I bought will be the ones, but history shows that those dispersals, when you have a chance to buy those elite horses and pedigrees that have been distilled over 30 years, the best of the best, it's a good opportunity. I take a long-term view in the business and adding multiple daughters from a very good family was something that was the goal.”

Sikura continued, “Ernie Samuel and the Canadian heritage and growing up knowing how important those families were from a distance, it was an honor to have the opportunity to buy those mares. Growing up, it was something I would never have dreamed of to be able to own those kind.”

Hill 'n' Dale was home to a band of Sam-Son mares and Sikura admitted it was special to watch their success over the years.

“It was like having a Hollywood friend,” he said. “To see them in the movies and then they call you on the telephone. So watching the success of those pedigrees, the mares and the foals that were on the farm, was rewarding.” @JessMartiniTDN

Gainesway Strikes for Danceforthecause

Grade I producer Danceforthecause (Giant's Causeway) was the second mare of the day to reach $925,000 when selling to Gainesway Farm as Hip 587 from the Sam-Son Farm broodmare dispersal. MGSW Regal Glory (Animal Kingdom) (Hip 403) brought the same price at the start of the session as part of the dispersal of the Estate of Paul Pompa, Jr.

The unraced Danceforthecause's first foal was GI Northern Dancer Turf S. winner Say the Word (More Than Ready) and her next foal was GII Canadian S. victor Rideforthecause (Candy Ride {Arg}). She did not produce foals in 2017 or 2018, but had a Distorted Humor filly in 2019 and a Street Sense filly in 2020. The 10-year-old mare is currently in foal to Twirling Candy.

Hailing from a deep Sam-Son family, Danceforthecause is a full-sister to SW Grand Style. Her second dam is Horse of the Year Dance Smartly (Danzig), who is the dam of Canadian champion and Grade I winner Dancethruthedawn (Mr. Prospector) and GSW Dance With Ravens (A.P. Indy).

“Right off the bat, her produce has been phenomenal,” said Gaiesway's Alex Solis, II. “The first foal is a Grade I winner, the second foal is a Grade II winner. It is the family of Smart Strike and, of course, her second dam is Dance Smartly.”

As for the price, Solis said, “Being 10-years-old and the dam of a Grade I winner, you know you are going to have to be in this range or even more.” —@CDeBernardisTDN

Schoenthal Continues Determined Buying

Matt Dorman continued to build his burgeoning elite broodmare band during the Keeneland January sale, with trainer Phil Schoenthal purchasing five mares on behalf of Dorman's Maryland-based Determined Stud. Leading the way was Southern Ring (Speightstown) (hip 452), a 9-year-old mare from the Sam-Son Farm dispersal purchased for $875,000. The multiple graded stakes winner, a daughter of Seeking the Ring (Seeking the Gold) and granddaughter of Radiant Ring (Halo), sold Tuesday in foal to Into Mischief.

“Matt has been wanting to buy a variety of top sires and a lot of the Speightstown mares are average size at best. [Southern Ring] was a really big, strong Speightstown mare,” Schoenthal said. “They really like the two foals she has on the ground. She is in foal to Into Mischief and she was a graded runner herself, so she kind of checked all of the boxes for what Matt is trying to do.”

Of the mare's final price tag, Schoenthal added, “We had to stretch beyond the budget of what we had thought we would have to spend, but obviously that's what you have to do when you are looking for these kind of horses. The opportunity to buy into some of these Sam-Son families obviously is a unique opportunity especially for someone who is trying to start off a broodmare band. So it all worked to his advantage today.”

Schoenthal took advantage of the January's sales other marquee dispersal a few hips later when going to $320,000 to acquire Sustained (War Front) (hip 463) from the Estate of the late Paul Pompa, Jr.  The 11-year-old mare, dam of graded winner Turned Aside (American Pharoah), is in foal to Connect.

“There were probably more higher-quality mares in the sale than there would have been in years past. So it provides opportunity that way,” Schoenthal said of the dispersals.

Also Tuesday, Determined Stud purchased Fluffhead (Animal Kingdom) (hip 631) for $165,000; Forecast (Malibu Moon) (hip 632) for $190,000; and Off Topic (Street Sense) (hip 762) for $570,000.

Dorman founded Credible Behavioral Health, a provider of electronic records for mental health, and sold the company over the summer. He purchased a farm in his native Maryland and has been steadily building his broodmare band since the November breeding stock sales. He purchased four mares–led by the $1.1-million Desert Isle (Bernardini)–at the Fasig-Tipton November sale, and a further 14–led by the $800,000 Style and Grace (Curlin)–at Keeneland November.

“I think he is taking the approach that opportunities to upgrade are what he wants,” Schoenthal said. “I believe he will keep his broodmare band at a tidy number in that 15-20 range. That might mean we will take a couple next year and put them back through the sale and just turn them over, always trying to add to the top and take from the bottom.” @JessMartiniTDN

City of Light Foals Prove Popular

Foals from the first crop of City of Light were very popular during the November sales and continued to be in demand as short yearlings in the January sale. A filly by the Lane's End stallion was the day's highest-priced yearling, summoning $400,000 from Larry Best's OXO Equine (Hip 660).

“She was a star physical,” said Lane's End's Allaire Ryan, who consigned the filly. “She showed herself with a lot of class every time she came out. She was shown over 200 times over 2 1/2 days, which is pretty remarkable. For a young horse to have that kind of constitution is pretty cool. She has a good family as well, so she has appeal from a residual standpoint.

Bred by Baumann Stables, Aaron Sones and Eric Crawford, Hip 660 is out of the Bernardini mare I'll Show Me, who is a half-sister to champion Proud Spell (Proud Citizen), dam of SW Indian Spell (Indian Charlie).

A total of seven of City of Light's offspring have gone through the ring thus far at Keeneland for a total of $1.233 million and an average of $174,714.

“We have been super happy with the City of Lights,” Ryan said. “He has been a very consistent stallions with what he throws. When the physicals are as good as they are by him, the breeders are fortunate when they bring them to the market.” —@CDeBernardisTDN

Moyglare Buys and Sells

Eva Maria Bucher-Haefner's Moyglare Stud was active on both sides of the sheets Tuesday at Keeneland, buying the racing/broodmare prospect Beautiful Lover (Arch) (hip 537) for $650,000 and selling the day's top-priced short yearling colt (hip 418), a son of Speightstown, for $270,000.

Part of the dispersal of the Estate of Paul Pompa, Jr., the 5-year-old Beautiful Lover won the 2019 Boiling Springs S. and was second in the GII Hillsborough S. and GIII WinStar Matchmaker S. in 2020 for trainer Chad Brown. The half-sister to graded winner Zivo (True Direction) will remain in training.

“She'll go down to Payson Park tomorrow morning and go to [trainer] Christophe Clement,” said Moyglare's Fiona Craig. “Hopefully, she'll run later this year.”

Moyglare Stud has had success buying racing/broodmare prospects and continuing their racing careers before adding them to the broodmare band. The operation purchased Celestine (Scat Daddy) for $2.55 million at the 2016 Keeneland November sale and the filly went on to add another graded race to her resume the following season. Discreet Marq (Discreet Cat), a $2.4-million purchase at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton November sale, added a pair of Grade I placings and a Grade III victory in the Moyglare colors.

Craig is hopeful Beautiful Lover fits the mold.

“Her form is good and she vetted very well,” Craig said. “She has loads of size and scope and she is by Arch from a solid American family full of winners. It's a hard-knocking pedigree. She looks like she has a bit of racing left in her. We will see. If she hasn't, then we will breed her.”

Of the filly's final price tag, Craig added, “We would have liked to buy her for a little bit less, but there was a lot of interest in her because she was a big, pretty mare. Unfortunately, when you go in after those, even though the market may not seem that strong, there are always plenty of people for good horses. And she was very good-looking.”

Hip 418, consigned by Padraig Campion's Blandford Stud and purchased by E.B.S., is out of Sansibar Jewel (Street Cry {Ire}), a daughter of group winner Irresistible Jewel (Ire) (Danehill) and a full-sister to group winner Princess Highway. After opening her career in Ireland, Sansibar Jewel was sent stateside and made three starts without success in New York for Clement.

“We brought the mare over from Ireland,” Craig said. “She didn't do much at the races, but we put her in foal to Speightstown–she is a big rangy mare–and we got a lovely foal. If he had been a filly, we would have kept her, but because he was a colt, he went to the sale. And he sold very well.”

Moyglare currently has seven broodmares based in the U.S. with a basic plan to sell colts and keep fillies.

“We are trying to do that in Europe as well, but the sales schedule has been a little upended by COVID,” Craig said. “I think everything we have planned for this year has been put on hold and we'll just have to think about it again next year. We have too many horses at the moment–so we sold three and got one. If we can keep doing that, then it works well. We sold a nice mare in November and we sold a nice mare at Tattersalls in December. If we can keep selling well and reinvesting, that makes a bit of sense. At least Eva thinks it makes a bit of sense and I agree with her.”

Craig admitted travel restrictions had made the trip to Keeneland an adventure, but she called the trip a success.

“We sold well and we bought well,” she said. “It was a bit of jumping through hoops to get into America at the moment, but Eva was able to come, so that was great. She came and I came and we had a great few days here.”@JessMartiniTDN

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