Keeneland September Book 1 Closes With A Bang


Session-topping hip 899 | Keeneland photo

by Jessica Martini, Christie DeBernardis & Brian DiDonato

LEXINGTON, KY – The four-session Book 1 of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale concluded Thursday evening in Lexington with a further six yearlings attracting seven-figure prices, led by a pair of Medaglia d’Oro colts bred by Stonestreet. Phoenix Thoroughbreds paid a session-topping $2.1 million for a son of Medaglia d’Oro (hip 899) consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, while Godolphin went to $1.6 million to acquire a son of the Darley stallion (hip 823) from the Gainesway consignment.

Through four days, Keeneland has sold 596 yearlings for a total of $216,813,000. The average was $363,780 and the median was $300,000. The first week of last year’s September sale, which included a one-session Book 1 followed by a three- session Book 2, saw 681 yearlings gross $196,645,000 for an average of $288,759 and a median of $200,000.

“The new format worked very well,” Keeneland’s Director of Sales Operations Geoffrey Russell said. “Our goal going in was to reduce the number of horses in Book 1 to give buyers a chance to get around to look at them all and to be able to show them in a less crowded area than last year.”

“I think it worked very well from start to finish. We sold fewer horses for more money, more average, more median and fewer not sold. So all indicators are very positive.”

Thursday’s six yearlings brought the Book 1 total of million-dollar sales to 26. That number was 13 for the entire 2017 auction.

“There is a hunger for top-quality horses,” Russell said. “People are looking for the Saturday horse. That’s what our business is founded on. At the moment, I think we have a good, strong group of top-end buyers who are willing to pay top price for these horses. I heard more complaints from people not being able to buy what they wanted to buy and they were surprised by how much they brought.”

Taylor Made was Book 1’s leading consignor by gross, with 89 head selling for $31,854,000, while Godolphin topped all buyers with 22 yearlings purchased for $18,940,000. Medaglia d’Oro was the top sire by gross over the four days with 31 sold for $19,395,000.

Runnymede Farm had its second seven-figure sale of the auction when Godolphin paid $1 million for a daughter of Medaglia d’Oro Thursday and owner Catesby Clay was one of many impressed by the strength of the market this week at Keeneland.

“I can’t say that I’ve seen it stronger,” Clay said of the market. “But, when you’re selling well, it always feels strong, doesn’t it? For the right horses, there are people willing to pay for them. For horses that, two years ago, you might have gotten $300,000 or $400,000, you might get seven figures now.”

Gainesway’s Michael Hernon continued to see selectivity in the market, but is optimistic that Saturday’s first Book 2 session will continue to be strong.

“Quality is what the market wants to buy, the good physical, the horse that can endure the process and the vet report is critical,” Hernon said. “There is a lot of money here and it is coming from various quarters. I think you are going to see people take a breath now, with [Friday] being the dark day. We were very busy [showing] at Barn 4 [Thursday]. I think we will see fresh faces in town and very strong trade when we start selling on Saturday.”

After a dark day Friday, the Keeneland September sale resumes at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Phoenix Stays Strong for Medaglia Colt

Phoenix Thoroughbreds made its biggest splash of the Keeneland September sale when going to $2.1 million to acquire a colt by Medaglia d’Oro Thursday in Lexington. The yearling (hip 899) is out of Exotic Bloom (Montbrook) and is a half-brother to GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Stopchargingmaria (Tale of the Cat). He was consigned by Taylor Made Sales on behalf of Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet.

“This is a tough game,” said Tom Ludt, head of U.S. operations for Phoenix. “We do the work, we work really hard, and the ultimate answer and the compliment at this stage comes from who we were competing against. It’s just comes down to how much you’re willing to stretch. I know Jacob [West] was on him and I know Donato [Lanni] was on him and Chad Brown was on him. So we knew going in it was going to be tough. It’s a tough game with the yearlings and those are great people to compete against and ultimately you make a decision. This man to my left really wanted him and I know Baffert loved him and obviously Bob gets a lot of our nice horses. So it’s a tough decision, but sometimes you have to make it.”

The man to Ludt’s left was Phoenix principal Amer Abdulaziz

“It’s been a very strong market,” Abdulaziz said. “We missed out on a lot of hips as well. This time, we liked this colt enough, so we decided to go for it.”

Of the yearling’s appeal, Ludt said, “He is beautiful. He’s got everything. He looks like he has a big engine on him and he looks like he’s going to be fast. He’s got all the right parts. So we’ll hope for the best.”

Phoenix has purchased 13 yearlings so far at the September sale for a total of $6,695,000. In addition to the $2.1-million Medaglia d’Oro colt, the operation also purchased a son of Empire Maker (hip 388) for $1.35 million.

Medaglia d’Oro continued to be a major presence in the sales ring. The Darley stallion has had five yearlings bring seven figures this week at Keeneland. In all, he has had 31 yearlings sell this week for $19,395,000 and an average of $625,645.

Medaglia d’Oro had three million-dollar sales at last month’s Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale. While his 2018 auction results have also included the $1.2 million co-topper at the FasigTipton Gulfstream Sale and the $1.2-million topper at Fasig-Tipton Midlantic. He was on the top of the leader board again at OBS April when a filly sold for $1.1 million. His 6-year-old daughter Mrs McDougal started the year off with a bang when topping the Keeneland January sale at $1.6 million. @JessMartiniTDN

Stonestreet-Breds in Demand

The stellar broodmare band at Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet provided much of the fireworks during Thursday’s fourth session of the Keeneland September sale, with a colt by Medaglia d’Oro (hip 899) leading the way when selling for $2.1 million to Phoenix Thoroughbreds and bringing the farm’s seven-figure sales for the week to three.

The session topper is out of Exotic Bloom (Montbrook), a mare Stonestreet purchased for $500,000 at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton November sale.

“He was a beautiful horse,” Stonestreet’s John Moynihan said. “He’s been beautiful from day one. We’ve absolutely just loved the horse. I hope he goes on and does great things because, literally every week that went by, we liked him more than the week before. Usually those horses turn out to do great things.”

Also Thursday, the farm sold a Medaglia d’Oro colt (hip 823) for $1.6 million to Godolphin. The yearling is the second foal out of champion Dayatthespa (City Zip), who was purchased by Stonestreet for $2.1 million at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton November sale.

Stonestreet’s trio of seven-figure yearlings was completed by a colt by Curlin (hip 211) who sold to Larry Best for $1.8 million Monday.

“It’s gratifying,” Moynihan said of the results. “It’s kind of our program coming full circle. We try to buy the best mares we can find and breed them to the best stallions we can find. And then raise them the right way. It’s the fruition of all that.”

Stonestreet, which offers its complete foal crop at auction every year, sold 15 yearlings during Book 1 for a total of $11,610,000 and an average of $774,000.

“We bring everything to market,” Moynihan said. “Absolutely everything. The only thing we don’t bring to market is something that has a significant vet issue that we can’t move in the market.”

Moynihan credited the entire team at Stonestreet with the organization’s success.

“Barbara is very happy, the team is very happy,” Moynihan said. “Robert Turner, who does our yearlings, has done a fantastic job, as well as Louie [Logan], who manages the mares and foals. Everybody has done a super job with them. And this is the result of that. Barbara has put a great team together and everybody works for a common goal. There is not a day that we each don’t come in and try to do the best job we can.”

Stonestreet made a splash on the buying side of the ledger when purchasing a filly by Ghostzapper (hip 740) for $1.025 million late in Wednesday’s third session of the sale. The operation also purchased a filly by Curlin (hip 311) for $350,000.

“As good a sale as we’ve had selling, we’ve had a very, very difficult time trying to buy horses,” Moynihan said of the market. “They are just bringing so much money, that it’s tough. Unless you partner up for them, they are very difficult to get.” @JessMartiniTDN

Godolphin Hits Their Thursday Target

It took some time to get there, but a Medaglia d’Oro colt out of champion Dayatthespa (City Zip) climbed all the way up to $1.6 million during Thursday’s final Book 1 session of the Keeneland September sale. Consigned as hip 823 by Gainesway on behalf of Stonestreet Bred & Raised, the Mar. 17 foal was the latest purchase from Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin.

“We liked everything about him,” trainer John Gosden said after signing the ticket. “Obviously, he’s by Medaglia, who’s on the farm. He was very much the horse we wanted today. He was stuck at $900,000 and then they made the speech–we thought we had him at $900,000. Anyway, he was the one horse we wanted today and we were keen to get him. He’s out of a great broodmare, from a great farm, among the best yearlings they thought they had this year. We very much wanted him, and so did someone else.”

Given Dayatthespa’s prowess on the grass, Gosden said he expected that hip 823 would make his way to Europe.

Godolphin is the sale’s leading buyer with $18,940,000 spent on 22 horses, plus another four acquisitions for its Japanese arm for a combined $670,000. Last year, it spent $8,065,000 on 17 head. Seven of Godolphin’s buys this year were by Jonabell resident Medaglia d’Oro and totaled $6,525,000. Sheikh Mohammed’s standout runners by the sire include last year’s GI Breeders’ Cup Turf hero Talismanic (GB) and local GI Coolmore Jenny Wiley S. victoress Dickinson.

Stonestreet paid $2.1 million for Dayatthespa at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton November sale just two days after the plucky New York-bred ran away with the GI Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf en route to Eclipse Award honors.

She was a $50,000 yearling purchase by agent Pete Bradley, who co-campaigned her.

“It’s kind of like being the proud papa in some ways,” Bradley said after watching his former star’s foal sell from the back ring. “She was so good to us, and to see that clip of her on the screen was something else. That colt, he was fancy, and what a sale this has been this week. I think [Keeneland announcer] John [Henderson] said it best–when you’ve got a sire who won

$5 million and she won more than $2 million, that’s some racing royalty right there.” @BDiDonatoTDN

Best Gets Into More Mischief

Larry Best often refers to his high-dollar purchases as “bets,” and he pushed a few more chips in on sire Into Mischief Thursday. The OXO Equine principal went all the way to $1.2 million to land a flashy-looking son of the Spendthrift stallion consigned by Noel Murphy’s Castle Park Farm as hip 948.

Best campaigns brilliant GII Best Pal S. winner andTDN Rising Star Instagrand (Into Mischief)–a $1.2-million Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream purchase this March–as well as GI Del Mar Futurity runner-up Rowayton (Into Mischief), a $320,000 Fasig Saratoga grad. He bought a $950,000 filly by the son of Harlan’s Holiday from the Better Than Honour family at this year’s Saratoga sale.

“Into Mischief has been very good to me,” Best said. “I bought two last year–I’m two-for-two. I love the power of him. This horse looks the part. He needs a little work, but I think with some training he’ll develop into a nice prospect. He’s got a great pedigree, and he’s by a sire who’s been good to me so far… I’ve got four of them now, three colts and a filly.”

Best said he wasn’t surprised by the price.

“I was told there was like 27 scopes on the horse, and that’s unusual,” he said. “I also became aware that the people who own the sire wanted the horse, so I knew we’d have to pick it up, but here we are. I’m quite comfortable with the price.”

Best signed for three yearlings during Book 1–he also bought the $1.8-million Curlin–Molly Morgan colt (hip 211) and the $1.4-million American Pharoah–Bsharpsonata colt (hip 729). He leads all buyers by average price ($1,466,667).

Hip 948 is out of an unraced Distorted Humor half-sister to MGSW/MGISP Munnings (Speightstown), himself a highly regarded sire. Grade I-winning third dam La Gueriere (Lord At War) was responsible talented highest-level winner Icon Project (Empire Maker).

Dam Gaudete was already represented by British and U.A.E. GSP Snowboarder (Raven’s Pass) when Garrett O’Rourke’s Breffni Farm purchased her for $160,000 in foal to Super Saver at the 2015 Keeneland November sale. The colt she was carrying, now named Allegiance and in training at Keeneland, was an $87,000 KEEJAN short yearling. Gaudete produced a full-brother to hip 948 Mar. 10 before being bred back to Twirling Candy.

“She’s the sweetest mare we have on the farm–my daughter can handle her,” said O’Rourke’s wife and the farm’s veterinarian, Rhonda. “She’s lovely to work with. She’s the pet of the farm, for sure. That price well exceeded expectations, obviously. We had no idea she’d make that much. We’re happy to see him go to a good home.” @BDiDonatoTDN

Dame Dorothy’s Daughter Proves Popular

The first foal out of Grade I winner Dame Dorothy (Bernardini), a filly by Curlin (Hip 814), sparked early fireworks at Keeneland Thursday, becoming the first yearling of the day to hit seven figures when hammering for $1.05 million to Jacob West. The bloodstock agent was acting on behalf of Robert and Lawana Low, who campaigned last year’s GI Arkansas Derby hero and ‘TDN Rising Star’ Magnum Moon (Malibu Moon), also purchased by West.

“They have made an effort to get some two-turn dirt horses and that is exactly what this filly made me think that she was,” said West. “She is by Curlin out of a Grade I winner, who was very fast. She is going to go to Todd Pletcher, who trained the mother and he told me Dame Dorothy was probably one of his best 2-year-olds. She had a little set back, but he said that filly was very, very fast.”

He added, “She didn’t look like a first foal. She actually, to me, looked like a colt. She was big, strong, good-boned. She had everything you look for [in good colts]. She just happened to have ovaries. We just hope she goes on and maybe goes into the broodmare band.”

Dame Dorothy raced in the colors of celebrity chef and longtime owner/breeder Bobby Flay, who purchased her for $390,000 as a yearling at the 2012 edition of this sale. Winner of the 2015 GI Humana Distaff, the ‘TDN Rising Star’ also won that year’s GIII Bed o’ Roses H. and the prior season’s GIII Turnback the Alarm H. en route to earnings of $749,740. She is a half-sister to French Group 1 winner Mrs. Lindsay (Theatrical {Ire}), who produced MSW & G1SP Mr. Owen (Invincible Spirit).

“There is limited downside with that pedigree,” West said. “Mr. Flay owned her and I know it was hard for him to sell her because of his ties to the family. It’s a tip of the cap to him. You have to turn these horses into cash sometimes.”

He continued, “To be by Curlin out of a Grade I winner, we kind of figured that was going to be the price and we got it done. We are happy to own her. Mr. and Mrs. Low are ecstatic. She is a filly they turned the page down on and the physical matched up.”

The Hancock family’s historic Stone Farm raised Hip 814 and sold her on Flay’s behalf.

“She is a lovely filly and you can’t keep a good horse hidden,” said Arthur Hancock, III. “There are so many good judges up here. They bred a wonderful filly. She reminded me of a filly my dad used to have called Mocassin and I told people that. She was Horse of the Year as a 2-year-old. She looked just like her, big chestnut. If you saw her, you would say, ‘My golly, that’s her sister.’ Good people got her and good people tried to get her. We are very grateful.”

The horseman continued, “What a start. This is [Dame Dorothy’s] first foal. My daughter Lynn did a great job out here selling and Kyle and all the guys at the farm. It makes my job easy. All I have to do is worry.”

Flay was not in attendance at Keeneland Thursday as he was on vacation in Italy, but he did watch the sale online.

“She was very popular, and we had a good sense that she would do well in the ring,” Flay said. “I’m not surprised by the number, but you don’t get to cash a ticket like that ’til they actually put it up there. I’m thrilled. We bought Dame Dorothy as a yearling at Keeneland for $390,000 and she was one of two Grade I winners that I’ve had. She comes from a really good family of fillies, interestingly enough. All the fillies in the family can run. It’s crazy. [Dame Dorothy] was one of them and now I’m hoping that he first foal continues the trend.”


Tonalist Filly a Hit for Gallaghers

Brendan and Olive Gallagher, who have enjoyed success with a filly by a son of Tapit as co-breeders of likely champion 3-year-old filly Monomoy Girl (Tapizar), hit a pinhooking homerun with the daughter of another son of Gainesway’s super sire when a filly from the first crop of Tonalist sold for $410,000 at Keeneland Thursday. The Gallaghers’ Frankfort Park Farm had purchased the youngster for $100,000 at last year’s Keeneland November sale. When Manganaro Bloodstock made the final bid on the filly (hip 761), she became the most expensive offspring of the 2014 GI Belmont S. winner to sell at auction.

“I like Tonalist,” Brendan Gallagher said. “He is not a typical son of Tapit in that he is out of a Pleasant Colony mare and he looks more like a Pleasant Colony type of horse. And this particular filly being out of a mare by Bluegrass Cat, Storm Cat will put a bit of speed back into her.”

Hip 761 is out of the unraced Chausie (Bluegrass Cat) and is a half-sister to graded stakes winner Thatlookonyerface (Summer Bird).

“I thought this filly had an awful lot of quality,” Gallagher said. “She matured well and I think she is the most expensive Tonalist by a long way. I looked at all the Tonalists in Saratoga and I was happy that we had the best one. And I think she’s a runner.”

While Frankfort Park Farm doesn’t usually race, Gallagher said he was willing to make an exception for this yearling.

“We had a $249,000 reserve on her,” he said. “We don’t race them, but if we hadn’t gotten that, we would have probably put her in training ourselves.”

In addition to Monomoy Girl’s outstanding season on the track this year, Frankfort Park Farm also enjoyed success in the sales ring, including a filly by Take Charge Indy purchased for $6,000 at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton February Sale who sold for $200,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton October sale.

“It’s great,” Gallagher said of the farm’s success. “We’ve been here for eight years. It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s paying off.” @JessMartiniTDN

Dugan Strikes Again for Well-Related Filly

Shawn Dugan made headlines early in Tuesday’s session when scooping up a Hard Spun filly (Hip 268) for $950,000 and she made her presence known again late in Thursday’s session, fending off all comers to take home a $1.05 million Pioneerof the Nile filly from a very productive family. She was acting on behalf of an undisclosed client.

“There is one word for this filly: everything,” Dugan said when asked what she liked about Hip 977. “She is one of the top physicals. I know everyone says that about a horse they just bought for that kind of money, but I promise you, she was a wow.”

As for the price, Dugan said, “We were reaching. We reach very far when it’s that kind of money. We are just delighted to participate. We are very, very, very happy we were able to get her.”

Out of GSW Graeme Six (Graeme Hall), the bay filly is a full-sister to graded winner Delightful Joy, who sold to International Equities Holdings for $700,000 at the 2017 Keeneland January Sale. Hip 977 is a half-sister to Grade III winner Cali Star (Street Cry {Ire}) and stakes winner Seymourdini (Bernardini), a $900,000 OBS April purchase by Linda Rice on behalf of Iris Smith. Graeme Six’s 2-year-old filly by Strong Mandate, now named Royal Mandate, summoned $825,000 from Live Oak at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale.

“There is great residual with a filly and this filly has everything going for her,” said Dugan, who bought a total of five horses in Book 1 topped by Hip 977. “The mare has a Tapit foal on the ground, who [Gainesway’s] Michael Hernon tells me is absolutely stunning, and she is in foal to Tapit. We know Tapit is one of the best stallions in America.”

“She has been here a week,” Hernon said. “She has maintained her energy and enthusiasm. She is a really top physical. The mare has an excellent [colt] by Tapit and is back in foal to Tapit. After selling her to Shawn, she handed me the ticket back, so [the filly] will come back [to Gainesway]. Shawn knows where she is going and ultimately [the filly] will move on in a month or so.”

Antony Beck’s Gainesway and Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm went to $950,000 to buy Graeme Hall with this filly in utero at the 2016 Keeneland November Sale.

When asked if the mare was bought with the intention of taking her back to Tapit, Hernon said, “We always consider him. He is the main guy, but we have to be realistic too. She gets a great foal. Seymourdini is a beautiful horse and this is a great-looking filly. She is a bit special. She rose to the occasion. Some horses rise to the top. It’s been a great market and long may it last.” @CDeBernardisTDN

Another Home Run For Runnymede

Brutus Clay’s Runnymede Farm and Nicolas de Chambure’s Haras d’Etreham went to $500,000 for an unraced broodmare prospect named Espirit de Vie (Street Cry {Ire}) at the 2015 Keeneland November Sale. Her first foal, a filly by Medaglia d’Oro (Hip 893), repaid that purchase price and then some Thursday when selling for $1 million to Godolphin, which stands her very popular sire.

“We were quite pleased with her,” said Clay, who bred the filly in partnership with de Chambure, Peter Callahan and Ecurie des Charmes. “For a first foal, she certainly looks the part of a horse that can go on and be quite professional on the track. We couldn’t be more delighted for our partners, Ecurie des Charmes, Nicolas de Chambure and Peter Callahan, and our farm team, who have done an extraordinary job. [Runnymede Vice President and Manager] Romain Malhouitre has done an extraordinary job for us over the past five years. This being our second horse to sell for over a million dollars in one sale [following a $1.1 million Uncle Mo filly Wednesday (Hip 703)] has been a long time coming. I think the last time was 2004. We are absolutely delighted. A lot goes to our team and our partners.”

When asked his thoughts on the farm’s re-emergence at the top of the market, Clay said, “The market is tremendous right now. It is strong. That has a lot to do with it. A lot of work has gone into it as well. Also, getting the right mares and breeding them right has had a large impact.”

Out of Irish Highweight Irresistible Jewel (Ire) (Danehill), Espirit De Vie is a full-sister to GSW & G1SP Princess Highway and a half-sister to Group 1 winners Royal Diamond (King’s Best) and Mad About You (ire) (Indian Ridge).

“We thought it was worth the price to spend half a million on an empty mare to get into that family,” Clay said. “I joked to Nicolas, saying, ‘Did I ever tell you about the first time I bought a mare?’ He was like, ‘No.’ And I was like, ‘Well, you’re looking at her.’ She was the first one I actively chose and was part of that process. Thank God for such a wonderful outcome. It was a lot of fun.” @CDeBernardisTDN

Spendthrift Picks Up Two Pricey Colts

B. Wayne Hughes’s Spendthrift Farm was active towards the top of the market on Thursday. First it picked up an Uncle Mo colt (hip 822) for $850,000 in partnership with Albaugh Family Stable, and it took home a son of red-hot Quality Road (hip 881) solo soon after for $800,000.

The former, consigned by Paramount Sales, Agent LX, is one of two purchases thus far at KEESEP for the Spendthrift and Albaugh partnership, the other being a $1 million Pioneerofthenile–Pomereys Pistol colt (hip 297) bought on Tuesday. Spendthrift stands MGISW Albaugh colorbearer Brody’s Cause (Giant’s Causeway) at its Kentucky nursery.

“It was hard to fault him,” said Spendthrift general manager Ned Toffey of hip 822. “Obviously, we like Uncle Mo–we bred [four-time champion] Beholder (Henny Hughes) to him [for her first mating last year]. That horse was just as good-looking as they make horses, so we were happy to get him.”

The Uncle Mo colt hails from the extended female family of champion 2-year-old filly Countess Diana. He was bred by Gabriel Duignan and Crosshaven Bloodstock. His winning Unbridled’s Song dam Dawn Chorus was a $220,000 KEENOV ’12 purchase in foal to More Than Ready. The resulting colt was a $485,000 graduate of this sale in 2014. A War Front filly sold a year later for $180,000, and her now 2-year-old daughter Blue Moonrise (Malibu Moon) went to Kerri Radcliffe Bloodstock for $500,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale. That unraced filly most recently breezed a bullet five furlongs at Los Alamitos on Monday.

Hip 881 was mentioned in TDN‘s coverage of Wednesday’s session (see Conway’s Big Week Continues). The Gainesway consignee was bred by Tom Conway and Charlie Moore’s Waymore LLC out of multiple stakes-placed Emma Darling (Hennessy).

“Obviously, Quality Road’s a hot sire and this is a really good-looking horse,” Toffey said. “He looks like he’ll be precocious. There’s really nothing not to like about him. The mare had pretty good talent, and he’s just a gorgeous animal.”

Spendthrift fended off Hall of Famer Bob Baffert for the Quality Road colt.

“His qualities floated him to the top of buyers’ shopping lists,” said Gainesway’s Michael Hernon. “He has balance, power and motion combined with a great temperament. We wish Spendthrift the very best with him, and appreciate Bob Baffert’s strong pursuit of the colt through the bidding process.” @BDiDonatoTDN

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