Solid Book 2 Opener at Keeneland

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Session-topping Pollara (Ire) in the ring | Keeneland

by Jessica Martini, Brian DiDonato & Christie DeBernardis

LEXINGTON, KY – The Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale's two-session Book 2 opened Tuesday in Lexington with solid trade and a varied bench of domestic and international buyers. Bloodstock agent Arthur Hoyeau made the day's highest bid, going to $975,000 to acquire the group-winning mare Pollara (Ire) (Camelot {GB}) from the Claiborne Farm consignment. The 5-year-old mare was one of five to sell for $500,000 or more during Tuesday's session. Six reached that level at last year's first Book 2 session.

In all, 197 head sold Tuesday for $27,690,000. The session average of $140,558 dipped 10% from last year's figure and the median fell 20% to $100,000. With 84 horses reported not sold, the buy-back rate was 30%. It was 24% a year ago when 227 horses grossed $35,443,000.

“It's the same old story,” said Claiborne's Walker Hancock. “The good ones bring a lot of money, the middle is spotty and there is no one really there for the lower end. Hopefully if these people keep getting outbid, it will trickle down to the middle and lower market. The foal market seems healthy, at least for us.”

Bloodstock agent Lincoln Collins , who signed for the fourth-highest offering Tuesday, said of the market, “It's been tough enough. We got blown out on a couple yesterday. We bought one at Fasig-Tipton, so it's a better market than any of us thought it would be. I think it will probably get tougher from here on out. But the horse business is alive and well.”

The Spanish-based Yeguada Centurian was the session's leading buyer, with 17 head purchased for $3,127,000, while trainer Phil Schoenthal, buying for Matt Dorman's Maryland-based Determined Stud, was the second leading buyer with six purchased for $2.2 million.

“This is where the world comes to buy,” said Keeneland's Director of Sales Operations Geoffrey Russell. “If you look at the leaders at the end of the day, you had European, American, and Japanese buyers, there was a great mix of people today. We hope that continues on.”

The 2020 November catalogue is a slimmed down version of its 2019 counterpart. There were 413 horses catalogued in last year's Book 2 opener, compared to 374 this year. The decrease in numbers is likely related to the number of market uncertainties heading into the November sale, according to Russell.

“At the yearling market, you are selling your crop, so you really have to show up,” Russell said. “In November, you're selling the factory or the foal. They don't have to sell the factory this year, they can wait and see if the market will be better next year and they can keep the foal for a yearling sale. Those business decisions are being made.”

For the second day in a row, a weanling from the first crop of Justify was the top-priced foal, with Coolmore's M.V. Magnier going to $475,000 to take home a colt by the Triple Crown winner from the Nursery Place consignment. Justify had the $600,000 co-highest weanling of Monday's first session of the auction.

The November auction picked up its ninth seven-figure sale when Con Te Partiro (Scat Daddy), originally an RNA Monday, sold post-sale for $1.6 million.

Internet bidders continued to be active Tuesday, making 92 bids and 12 purchases for gross sales over $2.5 million.

The Keeneland November sale resumes Wednesday at 10 a.m. and continues through Nov. 18.

Con Te Partiro to Qatar Racing

While she was bought back for $1.9 million during Monday's first session of the Keeneland November sale, multiple Group 1 winner Con Te Partiro (Scat Daddy) (hip 217) was sold post-sale for $1.6 million to David Redvers on behalf of Sheikh Fahad's Qatar Racing. The 6-year-old broodmare prospect was consigned by Bedouin Bloodstock on behalf of SF Bloodstock.

“We watched her through the ring yesterday, but we didn't actually bid,” Redvers said. “We thought she was too expensive at $2 million. We thought she was worth a bit less, so we waited. When I saw she hadn't sold, I spoke to [SF Bloodstock]'s Tom [Ryan] and Sheikh Fahad, who I've bought her for, and we've done a deal at I think the right money.

Con Te Partiro won this year's G1 Coolmore Legacy S. and G1 Coolmore Classic in Australia. She was also a stakes winner in England at Royal Ascot and in the United States. Out of Temple Street (Street Cry {Ire}), she is a half-sister to multiple graded-placed Donworth (Tiznow).

“She is an immensely talented and fast filly who has proven her versatility and soundness around the world,” Redvers said. “She is going to be a very good addition to the Qatar Bloodstock broodmare band. She will come to Tweenhills and I think we will probably cover her with Frankel (GB) and I hope we can breed a proper horse for Europe.”

SF Bloodstock purchased Con Te Partiro for $575,000 at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton November sale and she won three group races in Australia in the operation's colors.

“She is a mare who brought us great joy,” said Ryan. “We really enjoyed racing her. Everyone who has touched this mare has really had great success with her and we wish Sheikh Fahad all the success with her in the future. She is a superstar mare, a superstar physical with great pedigree, great family. The price was very fair.”

Of Con Te Partiro's initial RNA status, Ryan said, “We were surprised, but that happens sometimes. Sometimes the stars just don't align the way you'd like them to. I'm glad that we have a long-standing relationship with David Redvers and his team and we were able to come to a place where we both felt like it was a fair trade.” @JessMartiniTDN

Pollara Proves Popular

As a well-pedigreed daughter of Camelot (GB) in foal to War Front, Pollara (Ire) (hip 391) had plenty of international appeal and that served her well Tuesday at Keeneland, where she summoned $975,000 from a partnership headed by France's Ecurie des Monceaux after a spirited round of bidding.

“She is going to go back to Monceaux and we are going to breed from her,” Ecurie de Monceaux's Henri Bozo said. “She is a very exciting mare with a great family and is in foal to a very proven stallion. We try to produce Classic winners and she suits that program.”

As for the near seven-figure price tag, Bozo said, “She was standing out in Book 2. I don't think whether she is in Book 1 or 2 changes much. Quality gets paid for. We were beaten four times yesterday, so it has been tough to buy. It is a very strong market which is good news.”

Out of the Storm Cat mare Brooklyn's Storm, Group winner Pollara is a half-sister to MSW & GSP Stormina (Gulch), who is the dam of MG1SW Silasol (Monsun).

“She is such a nice mare, a group winner in France and in foal to the right horse,” said Walker Hancock, whose family's Claiborne Farm consigned the mare. “I was just looking through the family and every single mare in the family is in foal to a world-leading sire. There will be tons of upside with the family. When you have a page like this, a race record like that and are in foal to the right sire, the sky's the limit. Congratulations to them. I wish them the best.” @CDeBernardisTDN

Dorman Remains 'Determined' in Book 2

Maryland-based Matt Dorman of upstart operation Determined Stud made a splash at Fasig-Tipton Sunday that continued during Monday's Book 1 session of the Keeneland November sale, and he and trainer and advisor Phil Schoenthal were back at it Tuesday shopping the top end of Book 2.

Their priciest buy was $800,000 Style and Grace (Curlin), who was consigned by Lane's End as hip 465 and offered in foal to Lane's End's promising young resident City of Light.

Style and Grace was a $270,000 KEESEP yearling by Lane's End-affiliated Woodford Racing and Team D. She was two-for-nine on the track, scoring in an Aqueduct maiden special weight and Ellis allowance. The half-sister to GI Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner Furthest Land (Smart Strike) RNA'd for $190,000 here 12 months ago, but has seen her pedigree light up in the interim. Three-year-old half-sister Luck Money, by another son of Smart Strike in Lookin At Lucky, annexed Belmont's Zagora S. Oct. 31 after having already finished third in the Dueling Grounds Oaks in September. A sophomore filly out of Style and Grace's half-sister Embroidery (More Than Ready) broke through under the Twin Spires on Sunday.

“It's a great page, great history, and a fairly young horse so there is a lot of future there,” said Dorman from the back ring while waiting to bid on another one. “To me, it seemed like a no-brainer.”

Dorman confirmed that the fact Style and Grace was in foal to City of Light added to the appeal, and was pleased to be finding a softer market in Book 2: “We've been trying to buy some [mares in foal to City of Lights. We're pretty happy the market dropped off today from my side of it but I think it's been fair. There are a couple of active folks going after quality horses, so I think the market works.”

Lane's End's Allaire Ryan said of the sale: It exceeded our expectations–we're very pleased with the sale for obvious reasons. With that being said, when they're as popular as she was–she was shown 95 times yesterday; that's more than some of our foals were. She was a young, pretty, well-bred filly and she's had a couple family updates since the catalogue. One sister's a stakes winner now, and a horse out of a half-sister just broke her maiden at Churchill two days ago. Everything just lined up well, and it just shows you how competitive the market is for the quality that's here.”

Team Determined had purchased SW/MGSP Involuntary (City Zip) (hip 307, Hidden Brook, i/f to Bernardini) for $70,000 earlier in the day, and was just getting started when they bought Style and Grace. They then added $335,000 Tenacious Jewel (Medaglia d'Oro), a daughter of MGSW Bizzy Caroline (Afleet Alex) who is in turn half to superstar Lady Eli (Divine Park) (hip 483, Runnymede Farm, i/f to Into Mischief); and stakes-placed Vevina (More Than Ready) for $600,000 (hip 503, Kingswood Farm, i/f to Uncle Mo).

Vevina is half to the winning 3-year-old and $500,000 KEESEP buy Friar's Road (Quality Road), who was last seen just missing in a Keeneland allowance Oct. 15. She was purchased for $140,000 at the beginning of the year at Keeneland January. Vevina's second dam is GSP Primetimevalentine (Affirmed), in turn the dam of MGSP All for Thee (Elusive Quality) and most recently September's GIII Tokyo City Cup S. winner Cupid's Claws (Kitten's Joy).

“[Uncle Mo] is what we consider to be a Classic sire and a great bloodline, so that's what you want when you're starting out a broodmare band,” Dorman said. “We're just buying quality. We have some stallion shares so we have some stallions in mind [to breed back to]. The farm is in Boyds, Maryland. We are really looking for quality so I think the band will be around the 15-horse mark and then we will go from there.”

Determined Stud finished the day off with $300,000 Ygritte (Tapit) (hip 517, Lane's End, i/f to Candy Ride {Arg}), a daughter of Canadian champion Irish Mission (Giant's Causeway); and $95,000 Drinking Dixie (Quality Road) (hip 602, Kingswood Farm, i/f to Kantharos).

Dorman, co-founder of Credible Behavioral Health Software, has been racing for about 10 years as D Hatman Thoroughbreds. He purchased a farm earlier this year and has been working since then to build up his broodmare band.

Dorman and Schoenthal were also active during yearling sales season–they bought five fillies for $870,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Selected Yearlings Showcase, and another six at Keeneland September for $1,195,000.

In addition to mares, they've purchased three weanling fillies at KEENOV: hip 86, by Tapit from Hidden Brook; hip 210, by American Pharoah from James Keogh's Grovendale; and hip 215, by Hard Spun and offered by Valkyre Stud.

“We got a good group in September, so we look at these as possible pinhooks, but most likely runners,” Dorman said of his foal purchases. “If one of them jumps up and we get some interest then we may pinhook, but we're looking at long term and we don't need to generate revenue in the short term.”

@BDiDonatoTDN

Buyers Continue to See the 'Light'

Mares in foal to four-time Grade I winner City of Light proved extremely popular last fall, following his smashing win in the lucrative GI Pegasus World Cup Invitational S. and first year standing at Lane's End. He was second to only Triple Crown winner Justify among covering freshman sires by average last year ($223,275), and his first foals have been similarly well received. A $600,000 City of Light colt was the priciest foal Sunday at Fasig-Tipton, and both his foals and mares bred to him have proved popular at Keeneland.

“He's an exciting young stallion for us–no doubt,” said Lane's End's Allaire Ryan after the aforementioned hip 465 sold for $800,000 in foal to the $710,000 KEESEP yearling and speedy former Mike McCarthy trainee. “Just to have a son of Quality Road who looks as good as he does and was as talented as he was on the track, and that's throwing the physicals that he is, all signs point to a successful future for him. I can't say anything more positive about what we've seen from him thus far. That certainly gives you even more momentum to ride with a mare like [Style and Grace].”

City of Light has had 11 in-foal mares at KEENOV gross $2,860,000 at an average of $260,000, putting him fourth on the covering sires list by average with two or more sold behind only established stallions War Front, Uncle Mo and Constitution.

@BDiDonatoTDN

New Group Strikes For Dothraki Sea

West Point Thoroughbreds' Terry Finley and bloodstock agent David Ingordo are a familiar duo at yearling and 2-year-old sales, but, with Finley's group focusing on racing not breeding, it was unusual to see the pair signing a ticket on a broodmare Tuesday. Finley and Ingordo went to $560,000 to acquire Dothraki Sea (Union Rags), who was purchased on behalf of a new partnership buying as “Band of Brothers, LLC.” Consigned by Claiborne Farm, Hip 600 is in foal to red-hot sire Constitution.

“It is a group from Dallas that wanted to get into the broodmare business and they reached out to me,” Finley explained. “They wanted top-end mares and I thought she was beautiful.”

Finley continued, “We tried a couple at the beginning of the sale and didn't get lucky. We will look at a few more. Everybody is game and wants good horses.”

SF Bloodstock purchased Dothraki Sea's unraced dam Mini Chat (Deputy Minister) with this mare in utero for $340,000 at the 2014 Keeneland November Sale. A daughter of champion Phone Chatter, Mini Chat had already produced Grade I-winning sire Dixie Chatter (Dixie Union) and GSW Rumor (Indian Charlie).

The SF team retained Dothraki Sea to race and she captured two of eight starts for trainer Tom Proctor before retiring to the breeding shed. The bay had her first foal this year, a colt by Curlin.

“She is by Union Rags and she is all class,” said Ingordo. “It is a pedigree I know and respect. Constitution is an up-and-coming stallion and the mare also has a Curlin, so two proven sires it looks like. She is just the whole package.” @CDeBernardisTDN

Hot Cash for Woodford

Graded stakes-placed Hot Cash (Ghostzapper) (hip 293) will be joining the broodmare band at Woodford Farm after bloodstock agent Lincoln Collins went to $575,000 to acquire the 5-year-old mare from the Hidden Brook consignment early in Tuesday's second session of the Keeneland November sale.

“She is by Ghostzapper, she's graded stakes-placed and she's in foal to Curlin,” Collins said of the mare's qualities. “And she's very good looking. She's just a nice mare, we liked her and she'll be a good addition to the broodmare band for Woodford.”

Bred by Frank Stronach's Adena Springs and campaigned by his Stronach Stables, Hot Cash was third in the 2018 Woodbine Oaks and second in last year's GIII Trillium S. She is a daughter of Stronach homebred Collect the Cash (Dynaformer), winner of the 2000 GI Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup S., and she is a full-sister to Grade I winner Stately Victor.

Of the mare's final price, Collins said, “We knew she was going to be expensive. You never know quite what that means, but we are happy to have her.”

Also through the Hidden Brook consignment, Adena Springs sold Queen's Plate winner Holy Helena (Ghostzapper) (hip 28) for $1.5 million during Monday's first session of the November Sale. Among the operation's Tuesday results were Devine Aida (Unbridled's Song) (hip 596), who sold for $400,000 to Fairview LLC; Promise Me Silver (Silver City) (hip 397), who sold for $325,000 to Chester and Mary Broman; and Sweet Sting (Awesome Again) (hip 474), who sold for $310,000 to Pam and Marty Wygod. The Wygods also bought Sweet Sting's weanling filly by Empire Maker (hip 475) for $230,000.

“It is just a major reduction, getting the numbers way down,” Hidden Brook partner Dan Hall said of the Adena Springs offerings. “It makes sense right now. We have close to 90, between mares and weanlings, all in this sale. There has been a lot of interest at the barn at all levels.” @JessMartiniTDN

Coolmore Supports Justify

The Coolmore contingent was out in full force Tuesday at Keeneland, and struck early in the session to land a colt from the first crop of Coolmore Ashford resident Justify for $475,000. Consigned by John Mayer's Nursery Place as hip 298, the Jan. 27 foal was bred by Nursery Place, Manfuso and Wilhite.

“He's a beautiful-looking horse, and Justify is making very good foals,” said Coolmore's David Wachman. “We're just excited to be able to buy a very nice horse by him. Across the board, they're very good, and he's a very smart horse, that horse. We're happy to have him.”

Nursery Place acquired hip 298's dam Inchargeofme (GB) (High Chaparral {Ire}) for $80,000 as an unraced 2-year-old at the 2015 Keeneland January sale. She was turned over to Charlie LoPresti and, racing in the names of Mayer and Robert Manfuso, racked up three wins from 13 starts, capped by a third-place run in the 2018 GIII Mint Julep H. in 2018. She was bought back for $235,000 later that year at Fasig-Tipton November. Hip 298 is her first foal. She was bred back to Blame.

Demand for foals by the 2018 Triple Crown winner has, unsurprisingly, been strong thus far. His sellers at Fasig-Tipton November included a $400,000 filly, and Donato Lanni bought a $600,000 colt Monday at Keeneland. Two seven-figure mares sold in foal to Justify at Fasig, including $4.2-million MGISW Bast (Uncle Mo). —@BDiDonatoTDN

Best Back in Action Early for Mastery Colt

Larry Best bought the top two lots during Monday's Book 1, a pair of seven-figure mares, and was back in action early during Tuesday's Book 2 opener, going to $450,000 for a weanling colt from the second crop of Mastery (hip 266).

“It was driven mostly be the physical of the horse and then, of course, Mastery,” said Best. “I have a Mastery I bought last year and I think he is going to hit as a sire. Largely I'd say it was driven by the physical of the horse. I noticed in the ring here when I was bidding that a lot of smart money was on him. That always makes me feel more comfortable when I see people that know horses on the same horse.”

As for the price, the OXO Equine principal said, “They have enough quality buyers here that want to play at the top, so you're talking $350,000 to $600,000 for the quality weanlings. So, I wasn't really that surprised.”

The price exceeded expectations for breeders Lee McMillin and Eric Buckley.

“It doesn't happen very often, but when it does, it's sweet, especially for a homebred horse,” said Buckley, whose family operates Threave Main Stud, which consigned the colt. “We both have small, family farms. This horse just ticked all the boxes for a lot of people. He got a good home, which is the main thing.”

Out of Go Go Dana (Malibu Moon), who is back in foal to champion Mitole, hip 266 hails from the family of top stallion Distorted Humor.

His sire Mastery was undefeated in his brief career, winning four consecutive races, topped by the GI Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity S. He retired to Claiborne after suffering a career-ending injury after crossing the wire first in the 2017 GII San Felipe S.

“He was a very good racehorse, obviously,” said Buckley. “He stands at the right stud farm. We have been doing business over there for 50 years, my family has. I will be breed to him again. I'll tell you that.” @CDeBernardisTDN

Constitution Colt a Welcome Score

Bill Harrigan, Mike Pietrangelo and Mark McEntee purchased the mare Welcome Speech (Henrythenavigator), in foal to Constitution, for $52,000 at last year's Keeneland November sale. The mare's weanling colt by Constitution (hip 509) rewarded the partners Tuesday at Keeneland when selling for $300,000 to the Enfuego Stables pinhooking partnership. The bay was consigned by Lane's End.

“She's a Henrythenavigator mare and it's a great pedigree,” McEntee said of the mare's appeal last year. “We loved the fact that she was in foal to Constitution. He's obviously a top stallion–he's $85,000 for next year. She looked like she had the body and the build to throw a really nice foal. And Bill has a very good eye–it's all up to Bill.”

Of impressions of the mare's weanling, McEntee said, “He's sort of a raw horse. He has all of the angles and a beautiful, long, relaxed walk. He's been a standout at the farm. All credit to Allaire Ryan and Callan Strouss from Lane's End. They came out to look at the horse and really liked him. They put him in Book 2 and put him in the right place. They were high on the horse and he sold like it.”

As for Welcome Speech, who is out of a full-sister to Grade I winner Winchester, McEntee said “We are going to look at stallions starting tomorrow and try to find a nice stallion for her for next year on an early cover.” @JessMartiniTDN

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