Pace Picks Up As Book 1 Concludes

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Hip 300 | Keeneland

by Brian DiDonato, Jessica Martini & Christie DeBernardis

LEXINGTON, KY – If Monday's first session of the Keeneland September sale was solid, Tuesday's second day of selling and final Book 1 session was very strong. Three yearlings hit the seven-figure mark during the opener, and another eight brought that amount or more on Tuesday, led by the current sale-topping $1.6-million Quality Road colt. Consigned by Eaton Sales, agent for Stonestreet Bred & Raised, the well-related hip 300 was purchased by Woodford Racing and West Point Thoroughbreds.

“It was a great couple of days,” said Keeneland President and CEO Shannon Arvin. “We are really excited about the results, about the feeling and the excitement on the grounds. [Keeneland's retired Director of Sales] Geoffrey Russell likes to talk about the hustle and bustle and that was really present. It was a really diverse buying bench. Out of the 10 highest prices, there were nine distinct buyers, which is really encouraging to see, including domestic buyers and international participation.”

During Tuesday's session, 112 yearlings brought a combined $52,300,000 at an average of $466,964 and median of $400,000. The RNA rate for the session was 30%–an improvement on the 38.46% buyback rate Monday.

“I think it was electric today with the energy and the optimism,” said Keeneland's Vice President of Sales Tony Lacy. “I think the sellers were having as much fun as the buyers, which across the board is really what we are trying to accomplish. That's an incredible market when we get to that. The median was $350,000 cumulative over the two days and $400,000 for the session alone. I don't think we've ever hit $400,000 as a session or as close, cumulatively it's just short of 2019, which was a record year. As we go forward, I think it's really encouraging and sets a really good tone for Book 2.”

The cumulative Book 1 gross was $90,662,000 with an average of $435,683 and median of $350,000. With one more horse sold at this point last year during the pre-vaccine era of the COVID-19 pandemic, the gross was $85,215,000. The average was $407,727 (6.86% increase in 2021) and median was $335,000 (4.48% increase this year).

Fifteen horses sold for $1 million or more in 2020, including one in Book 2.

West Bloodstock, agent for Mike Repole's Repole Stable and Vinnie Viola's St. Elias, led all Book 1 buyers with 13 purchases for $6,760,000.

“It is strong, but it is Book 1,” Jacob West said midway through Tuesday's session. “They are really nice horses. If Book 1 is weak, we are in trouble. It seems like there is a big appetite around here for this type of horse. Two-turn dirt horses are what everybody wants. If the breeders have that, they are getting rewarded. I am happy for the breeders to get rewarded.”

Gainesway sold three million-dollar horses Tuesday and led all consignors in Book 1 with a gross of $12,465,000 on 23 horses sold.

“I thought it was a little spotty in Book 1,” said Gainesway's Brian Graves. “It was feast or famine and we were really lucky that clients gave us horses that broke through. I really feel fortunate to have come out that way. I am kind of expecting the market to really open up once we get into horses bringing $300,000. I think it is going to be a feeding frenzy.”

Keeneland's new RNA Reoffer Program gave sellers whose yearlings had failed to find new homes during Monday's first session the chance to run the horses through the ring again at the conclusion of Tuesday's session. At the close of business Monday, seven yearlings were entered in the program. Three of those sold privately before the end of Tuesday's session and four went through the ring again, with hip 111 selling to Ocala horseman Jesse Hoppel for $150,000. The colt, consigned by Four Star Sales on behalf of Westbury Stables, had failed to sell Monday for $145,000.

“Overall, I think it really worked,” Lacy said of the program. “It's just trying to create safety nets for the sellers.”

Two days worth of Book 2 offerings will be sold Wednesday and Thursday with sessions starting at 11:00 a.m. Buyers and sellers will get a chance to catch their breath with a dark day Friday, followed by seven more days of selling through next Friday.

Stonestreet Yearlings in Demand

Barbara Banke's Stonestreet, which was responsible for the $2-million 2020 September topper, was represented by a pair of seven-figure yearlings within the space of an hour at Keeneland Tuesday.

West Point Thoroughbreds and Woodford Racing, among the partners on GIII Dwyer S. winner First Captain (Curlin), teamed up again Tuesday at Keeneland, going to a sale-topping $1.6 million to acquire a son of Quality Road (hip 300) midway through the session. Out of Catch the Moon (Malibu Moon), the yearling is a half-brother to GI Haskell Invitational winner Girvin (Tale of Ekati) and multiple Grade I-placed Midnight Bourbon (Tiznow). He was consigned by Eaton Sales on behalf of Stonestreet, which will also stay in as a partner on the colt.

“The plan is to gather a partnership together with Woodford Racing, West Point and a few others and Barbara Banke,” Woodford Racing and Lane's End's Bill Farish said after signing the ticket on the colt out back alongside West Point's Terry Finley. “He will go to [First Captain's trainer] Shug McGaughey.”

Of the colt, Farish added, “This guy is a little immature right now. He's a little high behind and I think he will grow quite a bit. He's got a fabulous pedigree and a lot of current things going on in the family, so we're very excited to get him.”

Farish agreed that, while high-power partnerships can be a mixed bag, they are a good way to get people involved in top-end offerings like hip 300.

“It's good and bad, it depends on who you are,” Farish said of the partnerships which dominate the results sheets in recent years. “If you're doing it on your own, it's tough to compete with the partnerships. But I think it's exciting for people to get in and be involved in high-end colts like this which they normally couldn't do if they did it on their own.”

Lane's End was busy selling during Book 1 and Farish said the market has been competitive in the early stages of the September sale.

“The market is strong,” Farish said. “For horses like this, it's been very, very hard to buy, as you can tell by that price. It's competitive. That's how we hoped it would be.”

Banke's Stonestreet purchased Catch the Moon for $240,000 at the 2015 Keeneland November sale. The mare is also the dam of GIII Iroquois S. winner Cocked and Loaded (Colonel John) and GIII Salvator Mile winner Pirate's Punch (Shanghai Bobby).

Stonestreet sold Midnight Bourbon for $525,000 to Ron Winchell's Winchell Thoroughbreds at the 2019 September sale. The colt was second in this year's GI Preakness S. and GI Runhappy Travers S.

Catch the Moon's colt by Curlin sold for $500,000 to Shadwell Estate at this auction a year ago and the 12-year-old mare produced a colt by Curlin this year.

“He is fabulous looking and, of course, the mare has had some great foals by some lesser stallions,” Banke said after watching the $1.6-million yearling go through the ring. “I am hoping this one takes it all the way. I think I will be back in for [a piece] of him. I am excited about that. He was on my list of favorites. We need sire power; we need another sire.”

Just some 30 hips later, Stonestreet was represented by another seven-figure yearling when Coolmore's M.V. Magnier outlasted trainer Todd Pletcher to secure a colt by Curlin (hip 333) for $1.3 million from the Gainesway consignment. The bay colt is out of Dashing Debby (Medaglia d'Oro) and is a half-brother to multiple Grade I-placed Dawn the Destroyer (Speightstown).

“[Gainesway's] Brian Graves thought we would like the horse,” Magnier said after signing the ticket. “And all of our guys liked him as well. Barbara Banke has bred some incredible horses the last couple of years and Curlin has been doing very well.”

Stonestreet founder Jess Jackson acquired Dashing Debby privately after she won her career debut in the 2009 J J's Dream S. The mare's Speightstown colt sold for $800,000 to Shadwell at last year's Keeneland September sale.

Also Tuesday, Magnier purchased a Stonestreet-bred daughter of Justify (hip 272) for $750,000. The yearling is a half-sister to sprint champion Runhappy (Super Saver).

“Our broodmare band is getting better all the time,” Banke said. “We had new ones to add after they race. For example [Grade I winner] Mia Mischief (Into Mischief) is in foal this year. [Multiple Group 1 winner] Lady Aurelia (Scat Daddy) has a really nice Curlin colt, but I doubt he will come to the sale. He is my pet. We upgrade our broodmare band all the time. We retire some of them, like Lady Aurelia's mother [D'Wildcat Speed]. She has a Justify weanling that is her last. We try to keep the broodmare band current. And really fast. We raise them right.”

Magnier purchased eight yearlings during the two Book 1 sessions for a total of $5,775,000.

“It's plenty strong for the good ones,” Magnier said of the market. “Good horses are making good money, so it's good.” @JessMartiniTDN

Mandy Pope Strikes for Tapit Colt

It is not unusual to see Mandy Pope going to seven figures for a Tapit yearling, but the longtime breeder typically focuses on fillies to add to her broodmare band. So, it was a bit surprising to find Pope and advisor Todd Quast holding the $1.3-million ticket for a colt by Gainesway's record-setting stallion (Hip 331).

“I love Tapit, as everyone knows,” Pope said. “We have been buying a bunch of them. This one was raised at Gainesway and I have a lot of faith in how they raise their horses. I felt like the horse had a good foundation built into him to begin with. He is level-headed unlike some of the Tapits. We are going to go on and make a stallion.”

Pope joined the partnership on a son of Tapit before, buying into Tapwrit after his GI Belmont S. win. She indicated that she would likely seek out partners for this colt as well and may even buy a few more colts before the sale is over.

“We will probably try to work out some type of partnership,” Pope said. “This is the first one we were able to get. A lot of them we did not even get to put up our hands. I think the market is much stronger today than yesterday.”

The Whisper Hill Farm principal continued, “We may buy some less expensive [colts]. This was our opportunity to get one we thought had the potential to be a stallion. I am sure Gainesway would like to have him back as a stallion.”

Bred by Antony Beck's operation, Hip 331 is out of MSW & GSP Danzatrice (Dunkirk), who is a half-sister to champion Jaywalk (Cross Traffic). Gainesway acquired Danzatrice as a 2-year-old for $105,000 at OBS April. She produced a filly by Tapit this year.

It was a banner day for the Gainesway consignment, which was responsible for three million-dollar yearlings. Just two hips after Hip 331, a Curlin colt bred by Stonestreet Stables (Hip 333) equaled his $1.3-million price tag and earlier in the day, Eddie Woods went to $1.2 million to acquire a War Front filly from the Gainesway shedrow for Seahorse Stables (Hip 223).

“It's been a record day,” said Gainesway's Brian Graves. “We thought we had the chance for the Tapit colt and the Curlin colt to sell that well. The Tapit colt was a homebred of Mr. Beck's. Mandy Pope got him and we are about as excited as we could be. A couple of hips later we got the same amount for Barbara [Banke]. We are very excited.”  @CDeBernardisTDN

Spendthrift Continues Supporting Its Superstar

Despite the passing of its longtime principal and visionary B. Wayne Hughes last month, Spendthrift Farm continued its commitment to the industry, and its superstar stallion Into Mischief, when picking up a $1,250,000 filly by the nation's top sire Tuesday. Consigned by Bluewater Sales LLC, Agent VII as hip 356, the bay was bred by China Horse Club.

China Horse Club purchased GI Alabama S.-winning dam Embellish the Lace (Super Saver) for $2.4 million in foal to Uncle Mo at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton November sale.

“She's just a beautiful filly, obviously by the right sire out of a Grade I winner; great depth of family,” said Spendthrift GM Ned Toffey. “She sort of ticked all the boxes, as classy a filly as we thought there was in the sale. We're really excited to have her. Sometimes you see that pedigree and you're disappointed in the physical, but there's nothing disappointing in any way about this filly. You just hope that you'll be able to afford her.”

While Spendthrift was absent from the buyer sheet during Monday's first Book 1 session, they purchased four head Tuesday for a combined $3,125,000. —@BDiDonatoTDN

China Horse Club's Breeding Program Continues to Succeed

China Horse Club has made a rapid ascent up the ranks of the international Thoroughbred industry. Just five years into their American racing program, they have been represented by a Triple Crown winner and Horse of the Year in Justify (Scat Daddy) and have campaigned the likes of champions Abel Tasman (Quality Road) and Improbable (City Zip), among others.

China Horse Club is climbing the ranks of America's breeding industry just as quickly. The operation's first crop produced the likes of Grade I winners Valiance (Tapit), a $650,000 FTSAUG graduate they remained a partner on, and Kimari (Munnings), a $152,000 FTKJUL yearling.

The group, led and founded by Teo Ah Khing, sold a seven-figure yearling for the second straight year at Keeneland September Tuesday when an Into Mischief filly out of GISW Embellish the Lace (Super Saver) summoned $1.25 million from Spendthrift Farm (Hip 356).

“We have now achieved the Triple Crown of auctions with million-dollar sales in Australia, Europe and America this year,” Teo said after congratulating Spendthrift's Ned Toffey. “Embellish always throws good quality with any stallion. We decided two years ago to send her to Into Mischief and ended up with this filly. She went back to Into Mischief and had another filly this year.”

China Horse Club purchased Embellish the Lace for $2.4 million carrying her first foal by Uncle Mo at the 2016 FTKNOV sale. The resulting colt was never offered at auction, but her second foal, the unraced now-3-year-old filly Classique (Pioneerof the Nile), brought her breeders $700,000 at Fasig-Tipton's Saratoga Sale. Her third foal, a Tapit filly now named Tap the Faith, summoned $1.25 million from Claiborne Farm at this auction last year and returned to the worktab at Belmont Sept. 11.

“We have cultivated about six or seven really good mares,” Teo said. “We have learned from Embellish the Lace and can reinvest in our broodmare band in America. We are reaching about 100 mares in Australia now and about 40 in Europe. In a year, we might reach over 200 [worldwide]. We will be active in November.”

The Singapore resident added, “I think [a sale like this] is very encouraging. Industries here are very healthy. We have good partners and support in America. If you produce good quality, the value is there.”

With their continued success on the racetrack, China Horse Club has more and more American stallions to support. In addition to the aforementioned Eclipse winners Justify and Improbable, they campaigned new WinStar stallions Audible (Into Mischief), winner of the GI Florida Derby, and Yoshida (Jpn) (Heart's Cry {Jpn}), a Grade I winner on turf and dirt, in partnership with Kenny Troutt's operation. China Horse Club has also purchased breeding interests in MGISWs Constitution (Tapit) and Tiz the Law (Constitutuion). They currently campaign another stallion prospect with WinStar in GSW & GISP Life is Good (Into Mischief).

“In the last three or four years we have had four or five new stallions,” Teo said. “[China Horse Club COO] Michael [Wallace] will be tasked with selecting the mares. We might have other partners coming in to join us. The matings are a team effort. We have been working the formula and it is showing results. We think this year more [runners] will be coming out of our breeding program based on the feedback we have been getting from trainers of the previous foals that we have sold.”

China Horse Club is focused on a commercial breeding program, sending all of their foals to market.

“Everything is for sale,” Teo said. “With Valiance, [Eclipse and Marty Schwartz] invited us back in, so we gladly took a percentage because we believe in our formula.”

Teo was unable to be in attendance last year to watch Embellish the Lace's Tapit filly sell due to the international travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. He arrived in Lexington earlier this week, marking his first trip to American in a year and half. However, his U.S.-based agent Wallace has remained active on his behalf at all of the major auctions.

“For 18 months, I have been trying to come to America, but because of all the restrictions I was unable to come,” Teo said. “I have been meeting with a lot of partners and making a lot of business decisions that cannot be done over the Zoom. So, I am so glad I was able to come here.”

Teo is making the most of his trip, bringing in new partners from China to experience horse country at its best in the Bluegrass state.

“We are bringing some Chinese investors in Thursday as part of our continued investment in American racing,” Teo said. “I think it is good we are able to bring people in here and then I will bring them to St. Lucia.”

Teo and his team spearheaded a project to bring racing to the eastern Caribbean island of St. Lucia, which is the center of a larger project known as the Pearl of the Caribbean. The Royal St. Lucia Turf Club held its grand opening in December of 2019 with many members of both the American and European racing communities on hand, but activity has been on hold in St. Lucia since the pandemic hit.

“St. Lucia is tricky now,” Teo said. “We have put in so much effort over the last six years and the administration has changed twice. We pulled through with the racetrack even with a delay. In 2019, we had one of the most exciting events in the Caribbean [with opening day of the Royal St. Lucia Turf Club]. Then, in 2020, Covid hit and now the government has changed again [with a new Prime Minister]. This administration is the same [party] we started off with, so hopefully we will be able to pick up the momentum.”

Teo also has another new partner in town for the Keeneland September Sale in Kuldeep Singh Rajput of Gandharvi Racing. Rajput made his first venture into American bloodstock at the Saratoga Sale, buying several yearlings in partnership with China Horse Club. The pair have teamed up on seven colts so far at Keeneland, topped by a $750,000 son of Quality Road (Hip 182).

“I picked up Kuldeep because when we were selling in Australia, I noticed there was a young man buying our colt from the first crop of Russian Revolution,” Teo said. “I Googled him and found out he lived in Singapore, so I reached out and we met. What I like about him is he is intelligent, young and has vision.”  @CDeBernardisTDN

Ingordo Buys Another off Dixiana

Agent David Ingordo has done well buying from Dixiana Farms in the past, having purchased MGSWs Express Train (Union Rags, $500,000 at KEESEP '18) and Midcourt (Midnight Lute, $450,000 at KEESEP '16), and he went back to the well Tuesday to grab a $1,150,000 Quality Road colt as hip 286.

“Dixiana is one of the better breeders–I don't think they get the recognition they should,” said Ingordo. “That's big for us. We like to buy them off good breeders who raise their horses well–so I know how the horse was raised… I've probably seen that horse once a month since January. I like to do that. I feel like I know more about some of these, whereas other people might know more about some others.”

Ingordo declined to reveal the new owner of the colt, but noted that he would be trained by John Shirreffs in California. Both Express Train and Midcourt are trained by Shirreffs for Lee Searing's C R K Stable.

Ingordo's familiarity with Quality Road as a member of the Lane's End team added to the agent's conviction to fire for hip 286.

“I'm blessed–I look at Quality Road every day at the farm, and he's what the good ones look like. And that's why we stretched,” Ingordo said. “From our opinion of Quality Road, he was the one.”

Dixiana bought hip 286's second dam Court of Appeal (Deputy Minister) for $335,000 at the 2006 Keeneland November sale while she was carrying a Quiet American filly who become MGSW and MGISP Authenticity. Authenticity later produced brilliant MGISW Charlatan (Speightstown).

Hip 286's dam Brielle's Appeal (English Channel) was a GSP turf sprinter and the colt was her first foal.

“The mare is named for my daughter, Brielle,” said Dixiana's Bill Shively. “Brielle's Appeal was a nice filly for us–big, strong filly–and this one came out right… I've been doing it for 20 years and that's the first time we broke a million, so we're very happy with that.”

Shively, who said he knew hip 286 was his best offering but didn't know quite how high the price could go, also noted his farm's longstanding relationship with Ingordo: “We have a good running relationship where we've sold him some good horses. We try to keep it natural; let them outside a lot. I think he's comfortable with what we do.” —@BDiDonatoTDN

Woods Wins Early 'War'

Eddie Woods, acting on behalf of an undisclosed client which was listed as Seahorse Stables, came out on top of an early slugfest with Matt Dorman of D Hatman Thoroughbreds and Determined Stud to land hip 223 for $1.2 million. The War Front half-sister to Canadian champion older horse Lukes Alley (Flower Alley) was consigned by her breeder, Gainesway Thoroughbreds.

“[She's] all class, everything she is supposed to be and maybe a little better; has a little more leg and scope than most of your War Fronts,” said Woods, whose words more typically appear in TDN after a big pinhook score at the 2-year-old sales. “She vetted perfectly, she may go back to Ireland. The client couldn't travel, I'm just doing a job that normally they would do on their own.”

“When I saw her for the first time, looking for myself as a pinhooker, she doesn't count,” Woods said. “I [then] got called to do an evaluation of her, and that is when the game changed. A million dollars all day, maybe a bit more.”

Woods didn't think hip 223's early placement in the session impacted her price one way or the other.

“You could sell them at midnight on the street corner–when they look like that they would bring that kind of money,” he said. “It's just how it is with these sales; time when they sell doesn't matter.”

War Front's breeder Joe Allen was nearby during the bidding process.

“Joe Allen is thinking of coming in on this one, [but] he is more of a cheerleader for War Front,” Woods noted.

While most pinhookers tend to wait for the later books to find value, Woods prefers to strike early and had already landed a few for resale at the time of Tuesday's interview, including a $150,000 Munnings colt (hip 225), who he scooped up two hips after the War Front filly.

“We have done good buying early in this sale–I think you get a bit of quality and pedigree,” he said. “It falls off in the next few books.”

Gainesway paid $600,000 for hip 223's dam Vaulcluse (A.P. Indy) at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton November sale in foal to Lookin At Lucky. She failed to produce a foal in 2017, but her 2018 filly by Empire Maker brought $950,000 here two years ago. Vaulcluse's value increased again when her 2016 Curlin filly, named Arrifana, garnered the 'TDN Rising Star' distinction and won five of six races, with her lone runner-up effort coming in the GIII Comely S. followed by a win in the Nellie Morse S. last March. Arrifana brought $300,000 last November at Fasig and was subsequently bred to Into Mischief.

“We probably didn't have her appraised quite that high, but when a horse gets to the sale, there's a fine line, and when you make it to the line you can be pleasantly surprised,” said Gainesway's Brian Graves of hip 223. “We're tickled with that. At the same time, she's just an absolutely lovely filly–best filly we had on the farm. We wish them a lot of luck.”

Off a fast-paced start to Tuesday's session, Graves said: “It does seem to have gotten a little hotter in here compared to the start yesterday, when it seemed kind of difficult. It seems like it has loosened up and I think people are maybe thinking they better not sit around and wait.” —@BDiDonatoTDN

Homebred Success for O'Callaghans

Peter O'Callaghan of Woods Edge Farm has made a name for himself as a successful pinhooker, but the Irishman enjoyed sales success with a homebred from his burgeoning broodmare band Tuesday at Keeneland when bloodstock agent Jacob West purchased a colt by City of Light for $1.05 million at Keeneland.

The yearling (hip 376) is out of Ghostslayer (Ghostzapper), a mare O'Callaghan and his wife Jenny purchased while in foal to Street Sense for $110,000 at the 2018 Keeneland November sale.

“The mare is a beauty,” O'Callaghan said. “Jenny picked the mare out of the back ring with my brother David a couple of years back. So I had little to do with it really. We got a stunning Street Sense filly out of her last year that David Ingordo bought [for $215,000] and she's breezing well and she's close to running. Then we bred her to City of Light, who is such a beautiful horse. None of us realized how nice his stock was going to be. So we got lucky. You need a lot of luck in this breeding game. And we are lucky this mare gave us this great foal that was good from day one and went from every step of the way from month to month and prepped out beautifully, showed beautifully and vetted beautifully.”

O'Callaghan has been adding to his breeding program in recent years and currently has a broodmare band of 35 head.

“We have to,” O'Callaghan said of the added emphasis on breeding over pinhooking. “There is not enough of the choice foals being offered anymore. We recognized this some years ago. I have 35 mares now and I'd like to have 50. Our homebreds are carrying us the last couple of years. The pinhooks are great, too, but we are having to overpay for horses that are not really as good as we are breeding.”

Hip 376 is the first million-dollar sale for the Woods Edge breeding program.

“The most gratifying thing is if he works out for Mike [Repole] and Vinnie [Viola],” O'Callaghan said. “That's going to be the gratifying part. I hope he turns out to be the horse we hope he can be.”

Ghostslayer, who is already the dam of graded winner Biddy Duke (Bayern), produced a colt by Arrogate this year.

West also signed for Woods Edge's other Book 1 offering, going to $375,000 for a colt by Uncle Mo (hip 66) Monday.

“We just had the two colts in Book 1,” O'Callaghan said. “The colt yesterday sold quite well and this one sold huge today. It's a dynamite sale here today. RNA's look like they are fairly minimum. Yesterday was a little tougher, but that's the nature of the game. It seems like any sale anywhere in the world the first day can be tricky going. And there doesn't seem to be anything anyone can do about it. But it is what it is. So if we sell them a little short the first day, we just have to hope we have enough that it balances out as the sale goes on.”

West, who did his bidding alongside trainer Todd Pletcher out back, was making his most expensive of eight purchases Tuesday for the partnership of Mike Repole's Repole Stable and Vinnie Viola's St Elias.

“He's by City of Light who was arguably one of the most brilliant racehorses we have seen on the racetrack in the last decade,” West said of the yearling's appeal. “When he retired and went to stud, he was highly sought after by breeders. Peter and Jenny O'Callaghan were one of the lucky ones who got to him. They bred a really nice mare to him and she produced a really nice colt. They raise such a good horse and they work hard. They brought him to market and they deserved this.”

West continued, “You kind of have some trepidation giving that much money for a freshman sire, but this horse on his own was incredible. The second I saw him, I fell in love with him and Todd fell in love with him. We are just blessed to have Mike and Vinnie get behind us when we give them the thumbs up.”

On behalf of Repole and Viola, West signed for 13 Book 1 yearlings for a total of $6,760,000.

“We bought some nice horses, but we've also been the underbidder on plenty,” West said. “It's a strong market. For the right horses, it's a strong marketplace. It's good trade and I think it's fair trade at the end of the day.”  @JessMartiniTDN

Bernhards Make Biggest Splash Yet

New owners Jim and Dana Bernhard made their biggest Thoroughbred buy to date Tuesday when they went to an even $1 million to secure a War Front full-brother to MG1SW and European highweight Air Force Blue. Hip 309 was consigned by his breeder, Arthur Hancock's Stone Farm.

“They're new to the Thoroughbred industry,” said Equine Analysis Systems' Matt Weinmann, who advised on the purchase. “They're from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. They have a beautiful farm down there. They own Friesians and just recently they decided to get into the Thoroughbred game.”

Jim Bernhard is the CEO of private equity firm Bernhard Capital Partners and was the co-founder of The Shaw Group.

The Bernhards purchased three yearlings at Fasig-Tipton July for a combined $760,000, and bought a $400,000 Justify–Noted and Quoted colt (hip 94) Monday as Lynnhaven Racing. They will use Michael Dickinson to train.

“Physically, he was a standout; striking individual,” Wenmann said of hip 309. “What really drew us to him is his physiology. At Equine Analysis, what we're doing is putting numbers on physiology. The easiest way to explain it is Galileo said, 'Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not.' That's what we're trying to do with horses. We're putting numbers on horsemanship, and we're using statistics and algorithms to help us narrow it down and pick the best individual.”

Hancock paid $190,000 for stakes-placed Chatham (Maria's Mon), in foal to Arch, at the 2009 Keeneland November sale. Her dam was an unraced full-sister to champion 2-year-old filly Flanders (Seeking the Gold).

“We hoped for it,” Stone Farm's Lynn Hancock said of the price. “You always hope for it. I say that every time. You come up here with a nice horse, but you've got to have the buyer there. People liked him on the sales grounds. He's a beautiful physical –we think he's one of the nicest that the mare has thrown. We're heavily invested in the family and we love the family. The mare has been great to us. We're really happy that some nice people ended up with him. Can't be upset with a sale like that.”

Chatham's first foal bred by Stone Farm was a $475,000 yearling here. A War Front filly brought $400,000 in 2013, and Air Force Blue cost $490,000 the following year. A Lemon Drop Kid filly cost $535,000 in 2015, and Chatham's now 2-year-old full sister to hip 309 brought $1,050,000 from Mike Ryan 12 months ago. —@BDiDonatoTDN

West Continues Shopping Spree for Repole & Viola

Jacob West has been quite busy during Book 1 purchasing two-turn colts with Classic potential for the powerhouse partnership of Mike Repole's Repole Stable and Vinny Viola's St. Elias Stable. His eighth purchase of the sale for the stallion-making pair was a $975,000 son of Curlin, a stallion who has been quite good to those owners. Repole and Viola campaigned champion Vino Rosso (Curlin) together and Viola bred and raced GI Curlin Florida Derby hero Known Agenda (Curlin), both of whom now reside in the Spendthrift stallion barn.

“He's a pretty damn nice horse,” said West after signing the ticket out back. “He is by a Classic stallion out of a fast mare. He is that blend of distance over speed. The horse will go to Todd Pletcher and we will hope for the best.”

Consigned by Hill 'n' Dale, Hip 293 was bred by Curtis Mikkelsen, Patricia Horth and the Curlin Syndicate. He is the second foal out of MSW & GSP Cajun Delta Dawn (Kantharos).

West's Book 1 purchases for Repole and Viola prior to Hip 293 were a $650,000 son of Into Mischief (Hip 21); a $200,000 Quality Road colt (Hip 35); a $350,000 colt by that Lane's End stallion (Hip 45); a $375,000 son of Repole's Uncle Mo (Hip 66); a $225,000 Curlin colt (Hip 222); a $725,000 Tapit half-brother to MGISW Curalina (Curlin) (Hip 231); and a $750,000 Quality Road colt (Hip 262).

“It is the model that has proven successful in the game, those Classic two-turn dirt horses,” West said. “They follow that model and hope they will become stallion prospects at the end of the day.”

West was back in action later in Tuesday's session for Repole and Viola, purchasing two more colts by Curlin for $275,000 (Hip 345) and $325,000 (Hip 357); a $1.05-million colt from the first crop of City of Light (Hip 376); a $310,000 son of Karakontie (Jpn) (Hip 382); and a $550,000 filly by Into Mischief (Hip 391). @CDeBernardisTDN

Albaugh Family Joins the Fray

Despite getting outbid numerous times during the first session of the Keeneland September sale, Jason Loutsch and Dennis Albaugh's Albaugh Family Stables was able to purchase a colt by Quality Road (hip 101) for $510,000 and a filly by Into Mischief (hip 103) for $440,000 Monday, and the operation stormed  back even stronger Tuesday with three rapid-fire purchases early in the auction's second session.

Sitting alongside trainer Dale Romans and bloodstock agent Barry Berkelhammer, the team started off the day with the $500,000 purchase of a filly by Justify (hip 243) from the Clearsky Farms consignment. Some 20 hips later, the Iowa-based operation paid $450,000 for a son of Into Mischief (hip 260) consigned by Paramount Sales and wheeled right back to snag the next hip through the ring, a son of Justify (hip 261), for $600,000 from Taylor Made Sales Agency.

After acquiring two yearlings from the first crop of Triple Crown winner Justify, Berkelhammer said he liked what he saw of the young stallion's offspring.

“They are just beautifully balanced horses,” Berkelhammer said. “Of course, he was an amazing-looking horse, too. Obviously, he was a great racehorse and he had a lot of courage, so we have high hopes for his babies.”

Hip 261, bred by Robert and Lawana Low, is out of graded-placed Arienza (Giant's Causeway), a daughter of champion Azeri (Jade Hunter) and a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Wine Princess (Ghostzapper).

“He was just a beautiful, smooth, athletic colt,” Berkelhammer said of the chestnut.

Hip 243 is out of African Jade (Seeking the Gold) and is a half-sister to multiple Grade I winner Lord Nelson (Pulpit).

“We had tried to buy a couple of the other [Justifys] and didn't get them, so we just keep getting a little stronger and a little stronger,” Berkelhammer said.

Hip 260 is out of Areyoucominghere (Bernardini), a half-sister to graded stakes winner Suddenbreakingnews (Mineshaft) and from the family of Grade I winner Composure.

“He was a typical Into Mischief,” Berkelhammer said of the bay colt. “They look athletic and they all can run.”

Berkelhammer said the Albaugh group had come up short several times during a competitive day of bidding Monday.

“They've been underbidders on probably 12,” Berkelhammer said. “The market seems very solid for the right horse. I think it will soften up as the quality goes down. But this was a really good group of horses.”

Later Tuesday, the Albaugh Family team secured a filly by Street Sense (hip 354) for $300,000.

At the close of Book 1, the operation had purchased six yearlings for $2.8 million. @JessMartiniTDN

Wildwood Flower Continues to Reward Gunthers

John Gunther homebred SW & MGSP Wildwood Flower (Langfuhr) has brought her owner/breeder success on the racetrack and in the breeding shed, producing a pair of graded winners. She continued to reward Gunther and his daughter Tanya Tuesday through one of her daughters, the unraced Wildwood Rose (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), whose Speightstown filly (Hip 235) summoned $900,000 from WinStar's Maverick Racing in partnership with Siena Farm.

“She is just a beautiful filly,” said WinStar's David Hanley. “We thought she was the best filly we had seen in the sale. We love the pedigree. My Miss Sophia just had that War Front become a 'TDN Rising Star.' We are thrilled to get her.”

Gunther was over the moon with the filly's final price.

“It was fantastic,” he said. “She sold well above her reserve. She got a lot of action at the barn. Of all our Book 1 yearlings, she was the most active. A lot of people came back to look at her several times. We are very excited about the price. We valued her at the $400,000 to $500,000 mark and she sold for $900,000.”

Gunther added, “We bred that family back a couple of generations. We bred Wildwood Flower and [her son] Materiality (Afleet Alex). Her last mating was with Frankel (GB) and she had a filly, who is now a yearling. We are going to keep the Frankel so we still have some females from that family.”

Gunther bred and raced Frankel's G1 St James's Palace S. winner and GI Breeders' Cup Mile placegetter Without Parole (GB).

Wildwood Flower RNA'd for $20,000 at Keeneland's November Sale back in 2001, but went on to win the Piedmont S. and finish third in a pair of graded events. She produced My Miss Sophia (Unbridled's Song), a $260,000 KEESEP yearling, who won the GII Gazelle S. and finished second in the GI Kentucky Oaks. She brought $2.15 million from Reynolds Bell, Jr. on behalf of Alpha Delta Stables at the 2014 FTKNOV sale. My Miss Sophia was sent through the ring at KEENOV four years later in foal to War Front, summoning $4 million from bloodstock agent Steve Young on behalf of Ramona Bass. The resulting foal is new 'TDN Rising Star' Annapolis, who was an ultra-impressive debut winner at Saratoga Sept. 4.

The year after My Miss Sophia, Wildwood Flower produced GI Florida Derby winner Materiality, a $400,000 FTMMAY purchase by Young. The Gunthers sent her to Europe, where her produce continued to attract attention. Coolmore's M.V. Magnier went to 900,000gns for her now-4-year-old Galileo (Ire) filly Satin and Silk (Ire) at the 2018 TATOCT sale.

The Glennwood team also enjoyed success with the first hip through the ring Tuesday, a son of their homebred Triple Crown winner Justify (Hip 200). The bay colt is the first foal out of MGSW Tiger Moth (Street Sense).

“He is a really nice-looking colt,” said Gunther. “They have such even temperaments. He was so easy to handle. To me, he was a very exciting colt, so I was very happy with him.”

When asked how Justifys offspring compare to the undefeated Horse of the Year as a foal, Gunther said, “Growing up, Justify knew he was the boss, the king in the paddock. But, he was still very good-natured with an even temperament. I find that with all of his foals. They are very easy to be around.”

He continued, “This colt was very laid back. He would never get excited and would just go out and walk. He was even-tempered and easy to handle. I am very pleased with all the Justifys.”

Glennwood Farm was also represented by a $825,000 Curlin filly (Hip 335); a $725,000 daughter of Justify (Hip 387); and a $140,000 colt by American Pharoah (Hip 359). @CDeBernardisTDN

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