by Jessica Martini, Christie DeBernardis and Brian DiDonato
LEXINGTON, KY- Bidding remained steady as Book 2 of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale concluded Wednesday in Lexington. Andrew Cary made the session's most expensive purchase, going to $500,000 to acquire the mare Contributing (Medaglia d'Oro) from the Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency consignment on behalf of Coteau Grove Farms. Weanlings held the next six top prices of the session and, for the third straight day of the sale, Justify was responsible for the top-priced foal when Chris Baccari went to $435,000 for a colt by the Triple Crown winner from the Elm Tree Farm consignment. The Coolmore stallion was joined by other first-crop sires Mastery, City of Light and Good Magic with weanlings to sell for $360,000 and over.
“The energy was really good and there was a lot of competition for the foals,” said Keeneland's President Elect Shannon Arvin. “We saw some new buyers and some of the same buyers from the first few days of the sale continued to participate. I think overall, it was a really good session today.”
During the two Book 2 sessions, 393 head sold for $52,753,000. The average was $134,232–down 9.2% from 2019–and the median was $100,000, down 16.7%.
In the 2019 Book 2 section of the auction, a total of 448 head grossed $66,257,000 for an average of $147,895 and a median of $120,000.
“I think the market is pretty strong,” Baccari said. “For the mares, it's been really strong. I think the foals are strong, but you have to sift through a lot of them to find the ones you want. When you find the ones you want, you have to pay for them.”
Consignor Stuart Morris said, “The market for weanlings is a little spotty, with the ones at the top being very well-received. Overall, it has been pretty fair. For where we are in the world right now, I am very happy with the results.”
The November sale's Book 3 section opens Thursday, with bidding beginning at 10 a.m.
“I would hope that what has happened in the first two books will continue on,” Keeneland's Director of Sales Operations Geoffrey Russell said of expectations for Book 3. “It's going to be a different level of the market, but if we can capture the vibrancy of today and bring it on to tomorrow and the next day, that will be great.”
Arvin added, “We would love to see the continued stability in the market that we saw in the September sale.”
Contributing Takes Unconventional Route to the Top at KEENOV
Contributing (Medaglia d'Oro) had an unconventional journey from the racetrack to the sales ring, but taking the road less traveled proved successful Wednesday when she topped the third session of Keeneland November at $500,000. Offered in foal to Speightstown, Hip 958 was purchased by Andrew Cary's Cary Bloodstock for Coteau Grove Farm.
“I bought a Medaglia mare in foal to Speightstown earlier (Hip 645), so I thought why not make it a double,” said Cary, who has been quite active buying mares on behalf of Coteau Grove all week. “She has an awesome pedigree. Speightstown is showing everyone again this year how awesome he is with Nashville. Medaglia d'Oro should be a leading broodmare sire for years. She has a huge pedigree. Her sister produced an Oaks winner. She is gorgeous, she can run and to me she's the whole package.”
Purchased by Heider Family Stable for $220,000 at the 2015 KEESEP sale, Contributing raced for trainer Tom Proctor from 2016 to 2018, winning three times and placing in multiple stakes. She was sent to the breeding shed, but did not catch and was sent back to the racetrack, this time under the care of Brad Cox.
That twist of fate proved lucky as Contributing scored that black-type win in her 2019 season, capturing the Pan Zareta S. at Fair Grounds. Retired once again, she RNA'd for $260,000 at last year's renewal of this auction and was sent to Speightstown.
Bred by Mt. Brilliant Farm and Ranch, Contributing is a half-sister to GSW Classic Elegance (Carson City), as well as the dam of GI Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can (Proud Citizen), who in turn produced SW Believe in Royalty (Tapit).
“She is a beautiful mare by Medaglia d'oro, who is in foal to Speightstown with her first foal,” said Hill 'n' Dale's Rita Riccelli. “Speightstown had a great winner on Breeders' Cup weekend in Nashville, who set a new track record at Keeneland. She was very popular in the barn, so we thought she was going to do well going in. Thankfully that popularity transferred to the sales ring.”
Cary Continues Quest to Upgrade Coteau Grove Band
Cary Bloodstock's Andrew Cary has been particularly active this November bidding on behalf of Keith and Ginger Myers's Louisiana-based Coteau Grove Farms.
After purchasing a pair of mares at Fasig-Tipton November for a combined $800,000, Coteau Grove has acquired another nine through three sessions at Keeneland November for gross receipts of $2,880,000, making them the current fifth-leading buyer. Last year, Coteau Grove spent $940,000 on seven, and in 2018 thought bought eight for $600,000.
“They changed the breed-back rules in Louisiana, and that kind of frees us up to treat it more like the New York-bred program,” said Cary midway through Wednesday's session. “You still have resident mares, but you can go out of state, so it gives license to upgrade the broodmare band a bit. We thought this would be a good opportunity to do that this year. The market's still strong for young, commercial mares–which is good to see for the market and long-term players. We've been outbid quite a bit, but we've been really happy withe the ones we've gotten, for sure.”
Before tying the mark Wednesday with hip 958, Coteau Grove/Cary's biggest expenditure at Keeneland came Monday when they purchased Miss Hot Legs (Verrazano) (hip 66), a stakes-placed half-sister to superstar sophomore filly Swiss Skydiver (Daredevil), for $500,000. Other Keeneland buys have included Multi Strategy (Scat Daddy) (hip 75), in foal to Uncle Mo, for $425,000; MSW/MGSP Taylor's Spirit (Algorithms) (hip 144), in foal to Triple Crown winner Justify, for $370,000; and hip 645 Gold Souk (Medaglia d'Oro), a half-sister to MGISW Miss Temple City (Temple City) and GSW Pricedtoperfection (Temple City) bred on a potent mating with Speightstown–just like hip 958–for $350,000.
“There's a lot to be excited about: we've got two mares in foal to Justify, one in foal to American Pharoah, bought one in foal to Nyquist today (hip 630, $260,000),” said Cary after buying hip 645 but before grabbing hip 958. “We're trying to breed more Classic types. We bought a really well-bred Medaglia d'Oro mare today–a half to Miss Temple City. The half to Swiss Skydiver might be at the top. She was a queen, and we're really excited to see Swiss Skydiver back in training next year.”
Despite a noticeable and expected drop off in prices after Monday's Book 1 session, Cary still found competition in Book 2 to be stiff.
“Yesterday we bought three, and I probably got outbid another 10 or 12 times,” he said. “There are still a ton of really sharp people here who are all thinking the same thing. It's just a matter of following them up. Sometimes you're there, and sometimes you're not. I think it's a very healthy market for those long-term investments.”
Cary and the Myers' got some confirmation this year that their program is working and can continue to grow–Coteau Grove bred 'TDN Rising Star' No Parole (Violence). The $75,000 KEEESEP yearling took this year's GI Woody Stephens S. Presented by Claiborne Farm. Coteau Grove bought No Parole's dam Plus One (Bluegrass Cat) for $67,000 here in 2014 carrying an eventual three-time winner and full-brother to No Parole.
“I started helping them in 2014, and we've been slowly upgrading and transitioning more from a regional program to a national one,” said Cary. “One of the first mares I bought them that first year became the dam of No Parole, so that was good. We got a taste of what it's like to have a horse like that. It shows we can do it, and we've got a lot more good stuff in the pipeline–we've got a lot of mares with really nice yearlings and 2-year-olds going for them, and now we've added these new ones to the bunch. It's really exciting to think where we could be in two or three years.”
This has been a big year professionally for Cary, who launched his own bloodstock agency this winter after Select Sales, in which he was a partner, dissolved.
“It's been a great transition,” Cary said. “It was a tricky year to do it with the pandemic, but it worked out best for the long run. I'm really, really fortunate to have awesome clients to support me through it. We got to buy some yearlings too. It's nice to be on the buying end after being on the selling end for so long. It's been a lot of fun to try and put all my knowledge to work and getting buy these types of horses is really gratifying. It's really been a dream come true, especially considering what this year could've been.” —@BDiDonatoTDN
Pricey Justify Headed to the Yearling Sales
A well-related colt (Hip 829) from the first crop of undefeated Triple Crown winner Justify is destined to return to the auction ring at next term's yearling sales after being purchased by Chris Baccari for $435,000.
“For me, I've been looking for a really good Justify and he has a lot of female pedigree, plenty of size and plenty of strength,” said Baccari. “Anybody that looks at him when he goes to be resold will see he looks like he has plenty of bone and looks like he can take a lot of training.”
Breeder Nancy Shuford purchased the gray colt's SP dam Stayclassysandiego (Rockport Harbor)–a half-sister to GISW Sean Avery (Cherokee Run)–for $120,000 at the 2012 KEENOV sale carrying her first foal by Scat Daddy. The resulting filly was purchased by Watson, Weitman and Pegram, aka the Three Amigos, for $160,000 at Keeneland September and named Pretty N Cool. Campaigned by Justify's trainer Bob Baffert, she won three graded stakes and was Grade I-placed.
Members of unbeaten Horse of the Year and 2018 Triple Crown hero Justify's first crop have been very popular at Keeneland November with his foals topping or co-topping the weanling portion of each of the three sessions. A total of five have sold so far for a gross of $2.135 million and average of $427,000.
“I think the Justifys are very good,” Baccari said. “I think the public is going to support him now and his yearlings. He was a very good racehorse and I'm a big fan. I think I have four homebreds by him.”
The horseman continued, “[Hip 829] reminds me of his sire. He has a lot of raw strength like he did. The mare is a good producer and that is what I'm looking for. That is what determines the value to me. He had a good physical, but he has the pedigree to go with it.”
The second highest-priced Justify weanling of the day came late in the sale when Hip 987 brought $375,000 from internet bidder Michael Fowler, who bred the colt in partnership with Jumping Jack Racing. Like Baccari, this colt's consignor Stuart Morris said he also liked what he was seeing in Justify's offspring.
“I am very impressed with the Justifys,” Morris said. “All the ones I have been around have had very good minds. They are very forward, very athletic, very progressive. They are simple and uncomplicated, acting like professional racehorses.”—@CDeBernardisTDN
Veronique Rewards Holmes Once More
Tony Holmes and a longtime employee partnered up on the mare Veronique (Mizzen Mast), purchasing her privately after she RNA'd for $22,000 at last year's Keeneland November sale, and, thanks to the exploits of her unbeaten colt Nashville (Speightstown), enjoyed a standout result Monday when they resold the 9-year-old for $800,000. The partners continued to reap the benefits of last year's purchase when selling the mare's weanling filly by Mastery (hip 885) for $400,000 to Stonestreet Stables Wednesday at Keeneland. The foal was consigned by Warrendale Sales.
“I didn't plan on putting either of them in the sale,” Holmes admitted after the weanling went through the ring. “It was all Nashville.”
The speedy Nashville is now three-for-three following his track-record setting win in the Perryville S. at Keeneland last Saturday.
“She was a lovely filly and a lovely mover,” Holmes said of the weanling. “You have to be careful setting your reserves when you get a horse of this caliber. So, we had a reasonable enough reserve on her and she took care of the rest herself.” @JessMartiniTDN
City of Light Filly Rewards McCann
When bidding on his mare Cabana (Flatter) stalled at last year's Keeneland November sale, Bob McCann decided to step in and buy out his partner for $145,000 on the then 8-year-old mare who was in foal to City of Light. The mare's weanling filly (hip 906) proved it was the right choice when selling for $375,000 to Stonestreet Stables through the Eaton Sales consignment Wednesday at Keeneland.
“I bought her privately with a friend of mine at the racetrack,” McCann said of Cabana. “We thought she was ready to be a broodmare, but we kept her in training for a couple of months. And then when we retired her, we bred her to Nyquist. We planned to flip the mare, but we kind of fell in love with her. We got the Nyquist out of her and bred her to Street Sense.”
McCann continued, “Then last year my partner said he had a couple of businesses that weren't going well and he was worried about the election–this was pre-COVID–and he said, 'Why don't we put that mare in the sale?' I thought, 'I don't really want to sell her, but she'll bring $200,000+ and I'll make money. Why not?' So, we put her in there and she was lingering at $140,000 and I bid $145,000 and I bought him out.”
Cabana's Nyquist colt RNA'd for $75,000 at last year's Keeneland September sale and sold to Kuehne Racing for $60,000 at this year's OBS Spring Sale. Now named Dudes Got Game, he is in training with Ralph Nicks at Gulfstream Park and is showing promise.
“The Nyquist is working really well down in Florida,” McCann said. “The people who bought him actually contacted me and asked what the reserve would be on the filly, but I didn't even know at that point. I think he'll be a two-turn 3-year-old.”
The mare's Street Sense filly sold for $25,000 to Craig Wheeler at this year's Keeneland September sale. But the best for Cabana–and McCann–was yet to come.
“Then I got the City of Light,” McCann said with a smile. “This filly was just a rock star right from the start.”
McCann has about eight mares in his broodmare band and still owns Cabana. The multiple stakes-placed mare is in foal to More Than Ready.
“I generally do,” McCann said when asked if the plan was to sell all his foals. “I did buy a Gun Runner filly back this year with a partner and we're going to run her. I keep most of mares with Sally Thomas and Pope McLean. Sally raised this one and gave her to [Eaton Sales'] Reiley [McDonald] and I got lucky. We're very happy with that result.” @JessMartiniTDN
Best Hoping He's Found More Magic
Larry Best has been quite active buying both mares and weanling this week and Wednesday was no different as the OXO Equine principal made his presence felt early when going to $360,000 for a colt (Hip 670) from the first crop of champion Good Magic.
“I tend to go earlier now for colts as opposed to waiting for them to be yearlings,” Best said. “You take more risk, but you are not spending the same amount of money. You might get two or three shots on goal for what you'd be paying at the yearling sales. I am trying to diversify with different sires. I bought a Mastery, an American Pharoah filly, etc. This one is by Good Magic and was good looking. Physically, this was about as good as you are going to get for a weanling. Again, you take a lot of risk, but I am going to give it a shot.”
SF Bloodstock purchased Hip 670's dam Inlovewithlove (Bernstein) for $230,000 in foal to Good Magic's sire Curlin at the 2018 KEENOV sale. The resulting colt brought $425,000 from Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Robert LaPenta's Whitehorse at the recent Keeneland September Sale.
The New York-bred colt is a half-brother to MGSW Lovely Bernadette (Wilburn), who brought $750,000 from Shadai Farm at the 2018 KEENOV sale. The colt was consigned by Bedouin Bloodstock.
“We had hoped it was going to be that much, but our reserve was a lot less,” said Bedouin's Neal Clarke. “He garnered a whole lot of interest at the barn and there was a good posse following him up here. I am very pleased with the Good Magics. We have four or five at the farm and they are very good individuals with great minds, great bone and great substance. Very nice horses.”
Best has bought a total of six weanlings so far at Keeneland November. In addition to hip 670, he purchased a $450,000 son of Mastery (Hip 266), a $300,000 colt by Gun Runner (Hip 598) and a $260,000 daughter of American Pharoah (Hip 104), a $200,000 Maclean's Music colt (Hip 747) and a $400,000 son of his favorite sire Into Mischief (Hip 818). —@CDeBernardisTDN
Best Up to His Usual 'Mischief'
Larry Best's affinity for progeny of the nations's leading sire is well known, and the OXO Equine principal added another son of the Spendthrift Farm stalwart to his valuable holdings Wednesday in the form of hip 818. Consigned by Paramount Sales, Agent LII, the grey son of MSW and GSP Slewfoundmoney (Seeking the Gold) was consigned by Paramount Sales, Agent LII.
“As you can see, I've been buying other sires, but when they look like that… that was a gorgeous Into Mischief,” said Best, whose runners by Into Mischief have included Grade II winner Instagrand, MGISP Rowayton and SW Mundaye Call. “For a weanling, that's a beautiful horse–beautiful walk. You could've told me he was by any other sire and I would've bought him. He just looked so, so good.”
When asked to compare the colt to any of his other Into Mischief's, Best said: “This one has some of the mare in him. He looks like an Into Mischief, but different.”
Hailing from a deep Live Oak Plantation family, Slewfoundmoney has already produced four stakes horses, most notable of which is the MGSW and MGISP Awesome Slew (Awesome Again). Slewfoundmoney was purchased at this sale 12 months ago by Arthur Hoyeau, and hip 818 is listed as bred by Magnolia Bloodstock and Lynch Bages.
Slewfoundmoney's 2-year-old filly Tappingintosuccess was a convincing second-out maiden special weight winner at Monmouth in September. The mare has a yearling full-sister to hip 818. —@BDiDonatoTDN
Mulholland Weanlings Prove Popular
Mulholland Springs doubled up on successes with homebred weanlings Wednesday at Keeneland, with a colt by Uncle Mo (hip 802) selling for $300,000 and, just a few hips later, a filly by Into Mischief (hip 815) bringing $310,000.
Hip 802, out of stakes-placed Samiam (Dynaformer), and was co-bred with Tom Grether Farms and Elizabeth Hage. The weanling's half-sister by Into Mischief sold for $500,000 at this year's Keeneland September sale.
“I thought the Uncle Mo was the best foal the mare has had,” John Mulholland said of the weanling. “Her yearling by Into Mischief brought $500,000 in September, but I thought this one was even nicer.”
Hip 815 is out of Sine Wave, who was bred and sold by the Mulhollands and went on to finish second in a pair of graded races before rejoining the family's broodmare band. The weanling had the advantage of the right sire in Spendthrift's super stallion Into Mischief.
“I've only ever had tremendous luck with Into Mischief and we are going to breed five mares to him again,” Mulholland said. “I am sorry to see him go up to $225,000, but that's the way it goes. That's a lot of money for us, we are just a family run farm, but you have to give the buyers what they want and that's what they want. So, we are going to have to pony up and spend it. We have followed the sire all the way up from when he was $10,000 or $15,000 up to $225,000 and I think he's the best sire in the world, quite honestly. I've never had an Into Mischief that we've bred and sold that didn't go on and at least be a winner and try. I think he puts a lot of heart into his foals and I think he will leave a lasting effect on the industry.”
Mulholland said he was surprised by the strength of the mare market, as compared to the foal market, at the November sale.
“I came into here thinking that the mares would be a little bit down and the foals would be up and I've found it to be the opposite,” he said. “I've been chasing a lot of mares and haven't been able to get them bought. It seems like the mare market is stronger than I anticipated and the foal market is very selective from what I'm seeing. But it's pretty much the same as always. If you have the sire and the right vetting, you're going to get paid. And we did here. Those were both very nice foals.” @JessMartiniTDN
Munnings Pays for Campion
When Padraig Campion acquired the 3-year-old filly Midnight Hoot (Midnight Lute) (hip 719) for $27,000 earlier this year at the Keeneland January sale, he had his eye on the increasingly popular Munnings for her first cover. The unraced mare returned to the sales ring through Campion's Blandford Stud consignment Wednesday at Keeneland in foal to the Coolmore stallion and sold for $220,000 to Caroline and Greg Bentley.
“The Midnight Lute in the pedigree,” Campion said when asked about the mare's appeal in January. “She was a big, good-looking mare. We probably would have given a little more, but not much. The Munnings' mating obviously made her very attractive and she's carrying a colt.”
Campion said Munnings was an obvious pick for the new mare.
“He was going up, up and up. He's one of those stallions you're always watching,” he said.
Of Wednesday's result, Campion added, “I thought it was fantastic. If you can do that a couple times a year, you'll stay in business.”
Campion offered another mare in foal to Munnings Wednesday at Keeneland, with Whats Yur Story (Liaison) (hip 892) bringing a final bid of $135,000 from Springhouse Farm. The 4-year-old mare was purchased by Blandford Stud for $52,000 at the 2018 Keeneland November sale and she made four starts in 2018 and 2019.
“We probably gave a little bit more for her than we should have,” Campion admitted. “We raced her and she was placed for us. We bred her last year and she got in foal and lost it–broodmare blues–so she kind of made up for it today.” @JessMartiniTDN