Dixie Victory Leads Way at Keeneland Thursday

Susie and Dr. E. C. “Pug” Hart | hartfarmva.com


LEXINGTON, Ky – Dixie Victory (Dixie Union) (hip 1457) was the only horse to bring six figures when selling to Susie Hart for $100,000 as Book 2 of the Keeneland January Horses of All Ages Sale concluded with figures down slightly from 2016 levels Thursday in Lexington.

“It's been tough,” Matt Koch, whose Shawhan Place consigned the session topper, admitted of Thursday's session. “But it's January at Keeneland.”

Through two Book 2 sessions, Keeneland sold 406 horses for a total of $5,905,500. The average of $14,546 was down 3% from 2016 and the median dipped 21.87% to $6,250. There were three horses over $100,000 and the book's top price was $135,000.

During last year's two-session Book 2, 468 head grossed $7,021,300 for an average of $15,003 and a median of $8,000. The top Book 2 price was $240,000, one of four to bring six figures.

Thursday's buy-back rate was 24.28%–up from 15.36 at the corresponding session a year ago.

The trend of market polarization continued as buyers repeatedly landed on the same perceived quality lots which made for a feast-or-famine results sheet.

“Most mares that I think are in the $30-40,000 range are selling for double or triple that,” commented bloodstock agent Mersad Metanovic. “Everyone is on the same mares. I think most people are dropping their expectations of what they would not buy–they are buying less and paying more. I think maybe the quality and the depth of the book has kept the number of buyers down.”

Michael Hernon of Gainesway, which was active on both sides of the ledger, admitted there was plenty of competition for the top offerings.

“We are seeing polarization in the marketplace,” Hernon said. “What are perceived to be good young mares are bringing possibly a premium. Good weanlings were particularly hard to buy, some of their prices had to exceed expectations. Conversely, the more average product was very difficult to sell and buyers for those horses were scarce.”

The Keeneland January sale concludes Friday with a session beginning at 10 a.m.

Victory Well Worth the Claim
Bloodstock agent Mike Slezak's Bull O' the Woods Stables claimed two-time winner Dixie Victory (Dixie Union) for $10,000 at Laurel last Sept. 25 with the intention of sending her through the Keeneland January sales ring and the plan worked to perfection Thursday when the 6-year-old broodmare prospect sold to veterinarian Dr. E.C. 'Pug' Hart and his wife Susie for a session-topping $100,000.
Based in Virginia, the Harts were shopping at Keeneland to find a replacement for their standout mare Miz United States (Valid Appeal), who died last year, for their commercial broodmare band.

“We paid too much money for her,” Susie Hart laughed after signing the ticket on Dixie Victory. “They claimed her for $10,000 at Laurel! But she is a beautiful mare. We lost our best mare last year and [Dixie Victory] checked all my boxes to replace her. She had the right physical, had the right look with a live pedigree–half to a current graded horse. She is hopefully going to fill some big shoes that I lost last year.”

Dixie Victory is a daughter of Grade I winner Friendly Michelle (Artax) and is a half-sister to stakes winner Bonita Bianca (Curlin). She was consigned by Shawhan Place.

“We were hoping to get her for $50,000, but all the smart guys are here,” Hart admitted. “Any time a good one comes in here, you can't hide them.”

Dixie Victory's final price tag exceeded expectations, according to Shawhan Place's Matt Koch.

“She was a beautiful mare,” Koch said. “We didn't expect her to bring anywhere near that much, but we knew she was going to sell well. She was very popular at the barn. She is a pretty mare and very straightforward.”

Of Slezak's timely claim, Koch added, “He's a pretty savvy guy and he's having a lot of fun with it. We're selling a few maiden mares for him here and in [Fasig-Tipton] February.”

Gainesway Bids to Support Anchor Down
Gainesway Farm was noticeable among stallion owners bidding on mares at the Keeneland January sale to support their first-season sires and through four days of the five-day auction, the Kentucky nursery has signed for five mares targeted to visit two-time graded stakes winner Anchor Down (Tapit) when he begins his stud career next month.

During Thursday's session of the sale, farm general manager Neil Howard signed the ticket at $50,000 for the racing/broodmare prospect Glad Your Back (Speightstown) (hip 1498) and acquired Tizn'tshebeautiful (Uncle Mo) (hip 1335) for $45,000.

“We were looking for mares who combined good pedigrees with good gene pools which would be compatible with him and mares that physically fit him well,” explained Gainesway's Michael Hernon. “He's got size and scope, he's 16.1 hands. We looked for mares who were strong and well-made who would complement him physically with the idea of producing commercial first-crop foals.”

The five mares bought under the name Anchor Down Mares ranged in price from $17,000 up to $50,000.

“We were looking to add mares to his book, but not be overexposed on the price side of things,” Hernon said. “This sale has been somewhat soft, so I think we were buying mares who, in previous years, would have cost more money.”

Gainesway bred Anchor Down, who is out of Successful Outlook (Orientate) and is a half-brother to GI Test S. winner Sweet Lulu (Mr. Greeley). The farm sold the gray to Alto Racing for $250,000 at the 2012 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. He went on to win last year's GII Kelso H. and GIII Westchester S. and was second behind Frosted (Tapit) in the GI Metropolitan H. The 6-year-old stallion will begin his stud career at $10,000.

“He's drawn good attention,” Hernon said. “He got there early in December and people like him. Anchor Down has a lot of Tapit about him. He has good size and good scope, he gets the height from his mother. He was a really good miler and he showed lots of speed. He beat good horses and he ran fast. We think he has plenty of potential in the stallion department.”

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.