Steady Opener to Keeneland November Book Two


Conquest Eclipse | Keeneland

by Jessica Martini & Christie DeBernardis

LEXINGTON, KY – The first Book 2 session of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale opened in Lexington Thursday with a day of steady bidding and numbers largely in line with the 2018 Book 2 opener. During Thursday’s session, 235 horses sold for $36,372,000, compared to 234 grossing $36,372,000 in 2018. The average of $154,064 was just 0.88% off the corresponding 2018 average of $155,436, while the median remained constant at $125,000. With 65 horses reported not sold, the buy-back rate was 21.67%. It was 22.52% a year ago.

“I think Book 2 opened very well,” said Keeneland’s Director of Sales Operations Geoffrey Russell. “It was very comparable to last year’s sale. I thought the mares that were young and well-covered sold very well. The foals had tough criteria they had to meet. Those that made the criteria sold exceptionally well.”

The Mitchell family’s Clarkland Farm made Thursday’s highest bid, going to $650,000 to acquire multiple Grade I-placed Conquest Eclipse (Malibu Moon) from the Summerfield consignment.

During the session, 10 horses sold for $400,000 or over, while 12 hit that mark at last year’s Book 2 opener, which was topped by a $750,000 mare.

China Horse Club and Maverick Racing teamed up to purchase the day’s highest-priced weanling, a $600,000 son of Quality Road consigned by St George Sales. The top three weanlings on the day were all purchased by typical end-users, with Shadwell Estates paying $500,000 for a son of Kitten’s Joy and Larry Best’s OXO Equine paying $460,000 for a daughter of Into Mischief. Pinhookers were also active in the weanling market during a session in which 87 foals sold for $11,101,000 and an average of $127,598.

“We have seen a trend over the last couple of years of some end-users coming into the weanling market,” Russell said. “The last three years, the yearling market has been exceptionally good, so I think it gives confidence to pinhookers, as well, to participate at a certain level at the top end of the market. Weanlings, yearlings, it makes no difference, they have to vet. If they vet, the sky’s the limit and if they don’t vet, they don’t.”

The Keeneland November sale continues with a final Book 2 session beginning at 10 a.m. Friday. The auction runs through Nov. 17.

A Double Dose of Triple for Clarkland

The Mitchell family’s Clarkland Farm enjoyed epic success at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale two months ago, selling an American Pharoah half-sister to champion Beholder for $8.2 million. The operation reinvested that windfall, doubling up on mares in foal to Triple Crown winners at Keeneland this week, purchasing Fairyland (Scat Daddy) (hip 263), in foal to American Pharoah, for $700,000 Wednesday, and going to $650,000 to acquire Conquest Eclipse (Malibu Moon) (hip 570), in foal to Justify, Thursday.

“She was a gorgeous mare and she’s in foal to Justify. And I really wanted a Justify,” Fred Mitchell said as daughter Marty Buckner signed the ticket on the 7-year-old Conquest Eclipse. “Our goal is to reinvest some of the money the filly brought for us in September. We are probably through now and we’re just hoping luck stays with us and these mares have some beautiful foals for us.”

Clarkland also purchased C. S. Incharge (Take Charge Indy) (hip 106), in foal to Bolt d’Oro, for $250,000 at Monday’s Fasig-TIpton November sale.

Of the mare’s final price, Mitchell added, “It was a little bit more than I thought, but the good mares are bringing a price here.”

Conquest Eclipse was consigned by Francis and Barbara Vanlangendonck’s Summerfield, which signed for the mare on behalf of R.J. and Kelcey Roberts’ Brinker Hill Farm for $375,000 at the Conquest Stables dispersal at the 2016 Keeneland November sale and was reselling for the Illinois-based couple Thursday.

“She was beautiful and she had a lot of ability and we look for mares with that quality,” Francis Vanlangendonck said of the mare’s appeal three years ago.

Second in the 2014 GI Chandelier S. and third in that year’s GI Del Mar Debutante, Conquest Eclipse produced a filly by Tiznow in 2018 and a filly by Into Mischief this year.

“The plan was to buy her, get a couple of fillies out of her and sell her,” Vanlangendonck explained. “That was the plan from the beginning. She was nice enough to give us two fillies instead of four colts in a row. So they’ll keep the fillies to race.”

Of the mare’s appeal Thursday, Vanlangendonck added, “We bred her to Tiznow and to Into Mischief, so she has a great shot at being a producer and she’s in foal to a really nice horse.” @JessMartiniTDN

China Horse Club & Maverick Racing Strike For Quality Colt

China Horse Club and WinStar’s Maverick Racing have been making headlines at the yearling sales for a few years now, scooping up pricey colts for their racing partnership. The duo moved into the weanling market Thursday, going to $600,000 to acquire a son of Quality Road. Hip 362 was consigned by St. George Sales on behalf of breeder Dell Ridge Farm.

“It was an opportunity to acquire a quality colt by a quality stallion,” China Horse Club’s Michael Wallace said. “It was a way to circumvent the yearling market a little bit, which seems to be pretty strong for these type of colts. It was a way to get ahead of the curve a little bit.”

As for the price, Wallace said, “These quality colts by these quality stallions, that’s what they make. When we go to the yearling sales, they make more. We can control them now, take them out to the farm and rear them. We can continue on the great job that Archie St. George has done with him so far.”

Dell Ridge bought Hip 362’s unraced dam Princess Aspen (Birdstone) for $300,000 at the 2011 Keeneland November sale. She was entered in this year’s renewal, but was scratched. Out of Rhumb Line (Mr. Greeley), Princess Aspen is a half-sister to MGISW Zazu (Tapit), GSW & GISP Flashback (Tapit) and SW Corinthian’s Jewel (Corinthian).

Hinkles Strike Early for Ladies’ Privilege

Hinkle Farms, which enjoyed exceptional results selling at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale two months ago, reinvested in its broodmare band early in Thursday’s second session of the Keeneland November sale, going to $575,000 to secure stakes winner Ladies’ Privilege (Harlan’s Holiday) (hip 277) from the Claiborne Farm consignment.

“She is one of the nicest mares that we’ve seen at the sale,” said Anne Archer Hinkle, who signed the ticket on the mare while seated alongside her father Tom and her uncle Henry. “Just everything about her physically is so nice. She really checked all the boxes for all three of us. We think she can carry a really nice foal. We breed to sell, so we’ll bring her yearling up here in two years.”

Bred and raced by Dorothy Matz, Ladies’ Privilege won the 2017 Hall of Fame S. at Parx. The 5-year-old mare sold in foal to More Than Ready and was consigned by Claiborne Farm.

Hinkle Farms sold a pair of seven-figure yearlings, including a $2.5-million Tapit colt who is a half-brother to GI Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist (Uncle Mo).

“We are always trying to improve our broodmare band and being so fortunate to have the kind of September sale that we had, we want to reinvest and continue to improve our broodmare band slowly, but surely. Even though we had such a great sale, we are disciplined with our budget numbers and we are probably not going to be buying a million-dollar mare.”

Hinkle Farms purchased the very first horse through the November ring Wednesday, purchasing the racing or broodmare prospect Ladies Night (Eskendereya) (hip 1) for $90,000.

“We bought a mare yesterday to breed early in the sale, that we’ll probably sell back next year,” Hinkle said. “That is probably going to be it for us at this sale. The idea is that we are selling more mares in this sale than we’re buying.”

Hinkle Farms hit a home run when purchasing Seeking Gabrielle (Forestry) for $100,000 at the 2013 Keeneland November sale. The mare’s weanling who sold at that same sale was future Derby winner Nyquist. In addition to her $2.5-million yearling of this year, the mare’s now 2-year-old filly by War Front sold for $1.75 million at last year’s September sale.

Hinkle said picking out mares for the farm’s commercial broodmare band was a family project.

“We all see all of the mares and we all have to agree on it,” she said, speaking of herself, father, and uncle. “Sometimes we don’t agree. If something is a question, we’ll go back and take another look. But generally, if two of us feel good about a mare and the other one is on the fence, we are pretty agreeable. It doesn’t really make sense to dig your heels in with family because everyone is bound to be wrong one time or another and whenever you’re wrong, you want your family to be there for you. My dad and my uncle set a really good example, always getting along and supporting each other.” @JessMartiniTDN

More ‘Joy’ For Shadwell

Shadwell Estate Co. purchased four yearlings by Kitten’s Joy at the Keeneland September sale for a total of $1.625 million and they also campaign a $450,000 colt by that stallion named Dawaam, who is two-for-two in Europe. Sheikh Hamdan’s operation was back in action for offspring of that Hill ‘n’ Dale sire Thursday, securing a weanling colt by Kitten’s Joy for $500,000 (Hip 468).

“We will take him back to Shadwell and I have a feeling when Sheikh Hamdan sees him next September, he will probably want him to go to England to train with that pedigree and everything,” said Shadwell’s Rick Nichols. “He has great conformation and a good way of going. He is a colt you would like to have.”

John Mayer’s Nursery Place bought Hip 468’s dam Uniformly Yours (Grand Slam) for $100,000 for George Doetsch, Jr. at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton February Sale. Her first foal is MSW Enchanted Ghost (Ghostzapper) and her next foal, who came two years later, is recent GIII Miss Grillo S. winner Selflessly (More Than Ready). Her 2018 Honor Code filly sold to Samantha Siegel’s Jay Em Ess Stable for $100,000 at Keeneland September.

“He never put a foot wrong,” said Mayer. “We bought his dam as a maiden for a client in Maryland and Enchanted Ghost was her first foal.” @CDeBernardisTDN

Green Hits the Jackpot With Naples Lady

Terry Green’s Jackpot Farm purchased Naples Lady (Ghostzapper) (Hip 334) for $140,000 at last year’s Keeneland November Sale. They bred the bay to City of Light and re-offered her Thursday, selling her for $410,000 to Claiborne Farm, Agent.

“We more than doubled our money today,” said Green’s bloodstock advisor Bobby Powell, who picked out the operation’s GI Runhappy Hopeful S. winner Basin (Liam’s Map). “Any time you can do that in 12 months in the horse industry, are you kidding me? Everybody was very happy.”

Out of SW Glacken’s Gal (Smoke Glacken), Naples Lady is a half to GSW Live Lively (Medaglia d’Oro), as well as the dam of MGISW and future champion Mitole (Eskendereya).

“Ghostzapper is the right name on the page,” said Powell. “He is a good broodmare sire. The mare was very correct and an excellent physical, I thought. A lot happened in the family. I am in and out of Steve Asmussen’s barn so I knew about Mitole ahead of time. I was hoping he would have a big year. I didn’t know it would be this big. The 2-year-old was promising, the 3-year-old was promising, so it was a very active family. I will say that Ed Cox, as a breeder, has been on top of my list for years. Buying a mare from him was not something you would give a second thought to. She was a foundation mare.”

Naples Lady was not originally purchased as a pinhook, but with Mitole continuing to score impressive Grade I victories, Powell advised Green to keep his options open and enter the sale, a decision that paid off handsomely.

“She was not bought to pinhook, but with Mitole doing what he was doing this summer, after he won the [GI] Met Mile, the decision was made to enter her in the sale because you have to enter in August,” Powell said. “It is like the starting gate, if you are not in the race, you can’t do good. We put her in and everything else fell into place. Lane’s End did a wonderful job. Everything just kind of worked out.”

Powell also offered an update on Grade I-winning ‘TDN Rising Star’ Basin.

“The plan is to let Steve Asmussen call the shots,” said the horseman, who has worked for Mike Rutherford of Manchester Farm for 37 years. “He got a little break and now he is back with Steve. They are going to go slow and the intention today would be the 3-year-old series at Oaklawn.”

Powell was also active on Jackpot Farm’s behalf on the buyer side, purchasing Bella’s Way (Giant’s Causeway) (Hip 517) for $135,000. She will be the first mare on Jackpot Farm’s brand new Lexington property. Green has been in racing for about five years and boarded his mares at Manchester before building his own farm, which was recently finished. @CDeBernardisTDN

Guy Calls an Audible with Andromaque

When bloodstock agent Hubert Guy purchased a filly by Quality Road for $7,000 as a weanling at the 2016 Keeneland November sale, the plan was to pinhook the youngster as a yearling. After a series of detours, the 3-year-old (hip 494) returned to the sales ring Thursday unraced and in foal to Uncle Mo and sold for $380,000 to Narvick International.

“The plan the first time was to eventually pinhook her to sell as a yearling,” Guy recalled. “But she was not very precocious. She wasn’t coming quite the way I wanted her to. I was partnered on her with a friend of mine and we decided to race her because we had paid very little money for her.”

Named Andromaque, the bay put in a series of works at the Thoroughbred Training Center last summer, but she never made it to the races.

“She was training fine and then, unfortunately, a year ago in October, she banged her tendon,” Guy said. “We don’t know what happened. We could have done some work, took two or three months and then take a chance to run her. The vet was pretty optimistic of a 100% recovery, but we were not very comfortable. We have a bit of experience and a lot of times horses come back OK and then just before the race, the thing blows up. So we decided, because she was a nice filly and by Quality Road, we decided to breed her and not race her. We thought that was the sensible thing.”

Out of Abba Gold (Devil’s Bag), Andromaque is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Kathmanblu (Bluegrass Cat) and multiple graded placed Kathballu (Bluegrass Cat).

The Keeneland result wasn’t Guy’s only win on the day. Marly (Fr) (Siyouni {Fr}), purchased by the Frenchman as a yearling in 2018 and resold this year, broke her maiden at Chantilly Thursday. @JessMartiniTDN

Timely Claim for Keogh

Sympathetic (Smart Strike), claimed for $12,500 last April at Gulfstream, was haltered with a purpose. The mare (hip 441) was bred to American Pharoah and sold Thursday at Keeneland for $300,000 to Alastar Thoroughbreds.

“She is a beautiful, beautiful mare,” said James Keogh, whose Grovendale consigned the 5-year-old mare, and who was involved with the 2018 claim. “She’s bred to be a broodmare-by Smart Strike out of a Deputy Minister mare and in foal to the most fashionable horse in the United States right now.”

Out of stakes winner Initiation (Deputy Minister), Sympathetic is a half-sister to multiple stakes placed Forward Thinker (Indian Charlie).

Asked if the mare had been claimed with an eye specifically towards breeding her to the Triple Crown winner, Keogh said, “Yes. I loved the horse and physically, he was a perfect match for her.”

Of Thursday’s result, Keogh said, “I’m thrilled. Over the moon.”

Just a handful of hips later, the Grovendale consignment had another claiming-to-auction success with Tinabud (Lookin at Lucky). Claimed for $50,000 last August at Del Mar by trainer Jeff Mullins, the 4-year-old mare (hip 457) sold in foal to City of Light for $240,000 to Dixiana Farms. @JessMartiniTDN

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