Stellar Book 2 Concludes at Keeneland


Co-session topping son of Into Mischief brings $1 million | Keeneland


by Jessica Martini & Christie DeBernardis

LEXINGTON, KY – The two-session Book 2 of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale concluded with another day of competitive bidding and two additional seven-figure yearlings Thursday in Lexington, bringing the total number of lots to surpass the million-dollar mark to 15.

“Excellent,” Keeneland's vice president of sales Tony Lacy said when asked to gauge the day's activity. “The median was up 48% and the average was up 37% [for the session] and we've just passed the $200,000,000 mark for gross sales for the first four sessions. We cannot complain about anything that's gone on this week. I think it's been extremely strong and very, very deep. It's been a powerhouse week one.”

During the two Book 2 sessions this year, 426 yearlings grossed $111,772,000 for an average of $262,376 and a median of $207,500.

The Book 2 section of the 2020 auction, held amidst the pre-vaccination pandemic, saw 380 horses sold through the ring for a total of $75,368,000. The book average was $190,988 and the median was $150,000. With the inclusion of post-sale transactions, 415 yearlings grossed $79,260,000 for an average of $190,988 and a median of $150,000.

While Book 2 produced the auction's highest-priced offering so far when a colt by City of Light sold for $1.7 million Wednesday, Thursday's session produced co-topping $1 million colts when Mike Ryan secured a son of Into Mischief (hip 874) from the Mt. Brilliant Farm consignment and BSW/Crow Colts Group took home a son of Street Sense (hip 1022) from the Farfellow Farms consignment.

After four days of selling, the Keeneland September sale has a dark day Friday, but the strength of the market during the week provides validation for the company's format which is designed to put as many horses in front of people as possible in a short amount of time, according to Keeneland's director of sales operations Cormac Breathnach.

“I think a lot of people loved the format,” Breathnach said. “It's speaking for itself in terms of the results we are looking at. The median is really important–that middle ground, what the horses are really bringing and not so influenced by the very high numbers. The RNA rate is very much in control. This is a sale that is keeping pace with a banner year, which was 2019, and it's really just blowing last year out of the water. The format has been a part of that and it's kept the buyers in town and kept them engaged.”

With 88 horses reported not sold during Thursday's session, the buy-back rate was 30.45%. Through four sessions, the buy-back rate stands at 30.18%. It was 39.59% at this point a year ago.

Bidding resumes at Keeneland Saturday morning at 10 a.m. and the sale continues through next Friday.


Ryan Strikes for Into Mischief Colt

The Book 2 section of the Keeneland September sale had its third seven-figure yearling when bloodstock agent Mike Ryan outlasted an internet bidder to secure a colt by Into Mischief (hip 874) for $1 million Thursday. Bred and consigned by Greg Goodman's Mt. Brilliant Farm, the bay yearling is out of stakes winner and graded placed Secret Someone (A.P. Indy). His second dam, Private Gift (Unbridled), produced the dam of Grade I winner Dunbar Road (Quality Road).

“I am very familiar with the family because a good friend of mine bred Dunbar Road,” Ryan said after signing the ticket on the yearling. “I bought the dam of Dunbar Road and it's a family I am familiar with and I own some mares from the family. [The yearling] reminded me a lot of Practical Joke. If he runs to his pedigree, top and bottom, he has terrific stallion potential.”

Private Gift is also the dam of Private Mission (Into Mischief), who sold for $750,000 at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale. The 3-year-old filly romped home by 6 1/2 lengths in the Aug. 21 GIII Torrey Pines S.

“We bid a long ways on Private Mission, a 3/4 sister to this colt,” Ryan said. “She is three for four and won the Torrey Pines. She could be anything. So we know the pedigree works.”

Ryan said he was bidding on behalf of an undisclosed group of buyers and the yearling would be trained by Chad Brown.

“He looks like a horse who will hopefully run at Saratoga next summer, but stretch out from there,” Ryan said. “The dam is by A.P. Indy and the second dam is by Unbridled. Unbridled and Empire Maker under Into Mischief has been very successful. Mandaloun comes to mind. I thought he was a special colt. He has a lot of upside and hopefully we will turn out lucky. If he's half as good as Practical Joke, we'll be very happy.”

Mt. Brilliant Farm purchased Private Gift for $2.3 million at the 2008 Fasig-Tipton November sale. The operation campaigned Secret Someone, who won the 2016 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf S. and was third in that year's GIII Modesty H.

“We loved the horse. We put a low reserve just to get him started because we knew he could do the work himself,” Goodman said. “We love his family. Private Gift is the first really expensive horse I ever bought. I have sold a lot of the family and kept a lot of the daughters. He could not be in better hands and I am so happy about it.”

With the strength of Book 2 bolstered by four seven-figure yearlings, including the likely $1.7-million sale topper, Goodman agreed there could be a disparity with breeders looking to shift their horses into Book 2 over Book 1.

“I had a great Book 1,” Goodman said. “I had five horses sell for $2.7 million. So I had a great first book. But I do think that there is disparity. I think some people hold their horses back and put them in Book 2 and they do great. And I think there are horses who don't belong in Book 1 that should have been in Book 2 that bring a lot of money. It's a difficult situation. I think the new [Keeneland] guys are doing a great job so far. I think this always been a problem. It's been a problem since they quit the July sale.”

Breeders also need to space out their yearlings in separate books. Ryan pointed out that Mt. Brilliant had sold another son of Into Mischief for $1.35 million during the first session of the sale.

“Sometimes you have to spread them out to give yourself the best shot,” Ryan said. @JessMartiniTDN


Street Sense Colt Puts Farfellow Farms Back in the Spotlight

The Knelman family's Farfellow Farms returned to consigning its own horses just last year with a two-horse consignment during Book 3 of Keeneland September. This year they brought seven horses and were immediately rewarded when their first horse through the ring, a Street Sense colt (Hip 1022), brought $1 million from BSW/Crow Colts Group.

“We actually brought [second dam] Critikola (Arg) (Tough Critic) up from Argentina, so this family has a lot of sentimental value for us,” Jak Knelman said. “It makes it all the more rewarding. We expected it to break out, but we tried to keep our expectations low. It's hard in the horse industry, but sometimes it lines up.”

A MGSW in her native Argentina, Critikola was imported by the Knelmans and placed in a pair of Grade I events for them in California. She produced GI Kentucky Oaks upsetter Lemons Forever (Lemon Drop Kid) for the Knelmans, who is the dam of champion Forever Unbridled (Unbridled's Song) and GISW Unbridled Forever (Unbridled's Song).

Hip 1022 is out of her SP daughter Critikal Reason (Aptitude), who is already the dam of MSW & GISP Bajan (Speightstown) and GSP Virtual Machine (Drosselmeyer).

“We started selling in the recent years,” Knelman said. “We have a small broodmare band of about 12 mares. This is the best colt we've brought to the sales in a long time and it really was a team effort. Our farm manager Josh [Hennessy] and Emmanuel, who works the farm. They put so much effort into it. It's really a family thing with my parents and myself.” @CDeBernardisTDN


BSW/Crow Colts Group Makes First Seven Figure Purchase

Stallion-making partnerships have been all the rage in the past few years and Brad Cox and his team are joining the fray. Cox has gathered about 10 of his owners and teamed up with bloodstock agents Liz Crow and Brad Weisbord to gather a group of colts that fit the two-turn Classic build. Cox's team has been quite active at Keeneland this week and made their biggest purchase to date Thursday when going to $1 million for a son of Street Sense (Hip 1022).

“Brad Cox put it together. Obviously him and Liz Crow have a great relationship,” Weisbord said. “We got started with Brad in 2015. Liz actually told me Brad Cox was going to be a champion trainer one day. I think my first question at the time was who is Brad Cox. But, look Monomoy Girl (Tapizar), British Idiom (Flashback), Aunt Pearl (Ire) (Lope de Vega {Ire}). Brad doesn't need any introduction.”

Weisbord and Crow did their bidding seated alongside Spendthrift's Ned Toffey. The late B. Wayne Hughes' operation is one of the partners in the new venture, which also includes Steve Landers Racing, Marty Schwartz, Michael Dubb, Jim Bakke, Marshall Gramm & Clay Sanders's Ten Strike Racing, Paul Farr, Rick Kueber's Kueber Racing, Chris Jean's Big Easy Racing and Rick Kanter's Winners Win.

“Spendthrift Farm is our seed partner,” Weisbord said. “Unfortunately, we lost a pioneer in the sport in B. Wayne Hughes. Eric Gustavson and his wife Tammy have taken over ownership of the farm and obviously they are going to be major players for the next 50 years. We have gotten to know Eric and they have a great leader in Ned Toffey.”

The Elite Sales managing partner continued, “This all kind of started when they bought Monomoy Girl and sent her back to Brad. When Brad started this venture, he thought they could be a good seed player in this group. He put a few more partners in the group. There will be nine or 10 names on the ownership line. Hopefully the Jockey Club will allow it. It's good for the sport. Terry Finley mentioned the power of the partnership and they are carrying these sales.”

The BSW/Crow Colts Group has purchased a total of 17 colts in the first two books for a gross of $5.98 million and average of $351,765.

“We will start shopping Book 3,” Weisbord said. “We have plenty of capital left so we will keep going. I think we have 20+ horses so far and the goal was to get 20 so we are there. Hopefully we get one or two stallions. It's a stallion-making group and we want to have fun along the way.” @CDeBernardisTDN


Violence Colt Proves Popular

Bloodstock agent Jacob West, bidding out back alongside trainer Todd Pletcher and just a few feet from Bob LaPenta's manager John Panagot, saw off that determined foe to acquire a colt by Violence (hip 1057) for $950,000 Thursday at Keeneland. The yearling was bred and consigned by Larry Doyle's KatieRich Farms.

“Todd obviously trained Violence and the first thing he said was that the colt reminded him of Violence when we saw the horse the other day,” West said after signing the ticket on the yearling on behalf of Repole Stable and St. Elias. “He's out of an A.P. Indy mare. What's selling well right now is that two-turn dirt horse and that's kind of what we felt that he was. He's got family behind him and an incredible physical and now we just hope he runs as good as he looks.”

The colt is out of False Impression (A.P. Indy) and is a half-brother to multiple Grade I winner Standard Deviation (Curlin).

Momentum on the yearling continued to build at the sales grounds over the last several days, according to Doyle.

“We thought it started off slow,” Doyle said. “And Monday and Tuesday his shows were sharing with our other horses, but just in the last couple of days they just started showing up for him. He vetted perfectly and let's hope he is the next Violence. I love False Impression. She produced Standard Deviation and she's been great for us all along.”

The sale of the Violence colt capped a perfect five-for-five day for the KatieRich consignment, which also sold a Quality Road filly (hip 1050) for $500,000 to Peter Brant's White Birch Farm, and a filly by Tapit (hip 943) and a colt by Uncle Mo (hip 970) for $300,000 each to Mike Ryan.

“It has been very strong,” Doyle said of the market. “I have had more looks at this sale–165 on this horse. Typically a year or two ago, we'd have 125. The Japanese aren't here, but there are a lot people here looking.”

Panagot was quick to get back into the bidding fray, but he agreed he was finding a competitive market.

“The good horses are competitive,” he said. “There have been a few horses we thought would be a little more busy, but I think at the very top, it's super tough. Mr. LaPenta loved [the Violence colt]. He's been buying horses in a partnership at this sale and that was a horse for himself and he was pretty gung-ho. He went past where he wanted to go probably by 25% or so.”

LaPenta's Whitehorse Stable, in partnership with Madaket and e Five Racing, has purchased seven colts so far at the Keeneland sale. On Thursday, the group went to $235,000 to acquire a yearling by Mendelssohn (hip 900), a colt by Twirling Candy (hip 953) for $170,000 and a colt by Candy Ride (Arg) (hip 1045) for $125,000 and a son of Nyquist (hip 1073) for $200,000. Earlier in the sale, the partnership went to $350,000 for a colt by Tapit (hip 662), a Collected (hip 317) for $200,000 and an Empire Maker (hip 528).

With the SF/Starlight/Madaket partnership and BSW/Crow Colts Group both looking to purchase potential future stallions, Panagot said he had plenty of company when bidding on quality colts.

“You have to pay for the good horses, especially the colts,” he said. “We are focusing on colts and I don't think we are that innovative with that because a lot of people are. And that's going to really bulk it up. But we are just trying to buy a handful with the right pedigrees and the right bodies and athletic horses and we feel like we have. We've bought five or six of them, but you have to fight for them.” @JessMartiniTDN


Indian Creek Gets Off to a Fast Start

Shack Parrish's Indian Creek consignment broke from the gate running Thursday when the first offering of the sale, an Into Mischief colt (Hip 755), brought $850,000 from Courtlandt Farm.

“He is a really nice horse,” Parrish said. “This was our first horse of the sale. I think Tuesday and Wednesday were extraordinary and Monday was kind of bouncy. Yesterday, especially was extremely strong, and today has already opened that way. It looks pretty good so far.”

Bred by Bob Edwards' Fifth Avenue Bloodstock and Centerline Breeding, Hip 755 is out of SP Inspired Grace (Curlin), a half-sister to GISW Off the Tracks (Curlin) and MGSW Concord Point (Tapit).

“He did everything right at the farm,” Parrish said. “He is very mild-mannered. He just keeps developing. He's beautiful now, but he will be even more beautiful this time next year.”

Courtlandt Farm has been extremely active through the first two books and have been quite keen on Into Mischief. Hip 755 was their third purchase by the red-hot Spendthrift stallion.

“We loved the colt, felt like he had a lot of stretch to him and looks like a colt that will fit our program,” said Courtlandt Farm manager Ernie Retamoza. “We are excited to have him and to get him at that number honestly, not to belittle what he brought.” @CDeBernardisTDN


Practical Joke Filly a Sentimental Score for St. George

When Archie St. George sold a Practical Joke colt (Hip 1079) he purchased for $105,000 at KEEJAN to Talla Racing for $750,000 during Thursday's session, it was not his first pinhooking score. However, it was certainly one of his most meaningful as St. George bought the colt from his good friend Mike Recio of South Point Sales Agency, who passed Thursday morning.

“We bought him as a weanling in January off South Point Sales, so I guess someone is looking down on us and helping us through it all.,” St. George said, the emotion clear on his face. “It's a sentimental sale. It was great. He was a very nice horse.”

He continued, “I'd like to thank the buyer Mike Talla and the underbidders, David Ingordo and his team and the Coolmore team. Practical Joke has been a very good stallion and he is a very nice horse. Fingers crossed we will hopefully see him down the road.”

Practical Joke is second to Gun Runner of the leading freshman sire list this term with 12 winners, two of which are also black-type winners. His graded stakes-winning son Wit was second in last weekend's GI Hopeful S. at Saratoga.

“Roger O'Callaghan rang me before the January sale and we had a Practical Joke filly back with him at Tally Ho,” St. George said. “He said whatever happens we are buying a Practical Joke. We did and the rest is history.”

Bred in Ontario by South Point, Hip 1079 is the first foal out of Gal Factor (The Factor), who is a half-sister to this year's GI Arkansas Derby winner Super Stock (Dialed In) and GISP Boujie Girl (Flashback).

“He has done very well,” St. George said. “He is a big, tall horse. As the spring and summer went on, he filled out. He has just been a simple straightforward horse. He got a little update in the second dam this year and everything fell into place. The stars aligned.”  @CDeBernardisTDN


A Profitable Duo for Duignan

Gabriel Duignan and a pair of Irish partners doubled up on a pair of pinhooking scores Thursday at Keeneland, selling a son of Speightstown (hip 944) for $425,000 to Starlight and Harrell Ventures and returning a few hips later to sell a daughter of Munnings (hip 961) for $280,000 to bloodstock agent Clay Scherer. The colt had been purchased by the partners for $180,000 at last year's Keeneland November sale and the filly had been acquired for $105,000 at that same auction.

The Speightstown colt is out of Wild Ridge (Tapit), a daughter of multiple graded stakes winner Wild Gams (Forest Wildcat).

“He was a very nice foal, a very typical Speightstown,” Duignan said of the colt “And I like the Tapit mares–he is a hell of a broodmare sire. He grew up and he was well-received on the grounds.”

The Munnings filly, a Canadian-bred, is out of Artillia (Artie Schiller), a half-sister to graded placed Solitaire (Victory Gallop).

“I think the Ontario-bred helped the Munnings filly,” Duignan said. “And Munnings, of course, has improved in the meantime. He's in another league. She's a big, strong filly who looks like she'll get a route of ground and with clean X-rays. She did everything the right way.”

Of buying weanlings last fall, Duignan said, “We had to work hard on it and we got outbid on a lot. I wouldn't have called it soft buying them last year.”

But the Irishman agreed the September market has been very competitive.

“This might be a bit more robust,” he said when asked to compare the two markets. “Our racing is so healthy right now. It probably makes more sense than it ever did to race a horse. There is a wide array of buyers. Our market here in America is very good here at the moment. We don't have a lot of foreign participation, but the domestic market is very good.”

Looking ahead to the remaining week of the September sale, Duignan said, “I am hoping it will be good. The crowds are still on the grounds and there a lot of people who haven't gotten to buy yet. I am hoping it will kick on.” @JessMartiniTDN


Not a subscriber? Click here to sign up for the daily PDF or alerts.

Liked this article? Read more like this.

  1. Golden Pal Leads Ward Ascot Workers
  2. Half-Sister to Derby Winner at Home in Ontario
  3. Pricey Into Mischief Filly Scores at Woodbine
  4. Saturday Racing Insights: $450k Into Mischief Firster Debuts At Woodbine
  5. Notable US-Bred and -Sired Runners in Japan: May 15, 2022

Never miss another story from the TDN

Click Here to sign up for a free subscription.