Strong Results Continue at Keeneland November

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Session-topping hip 305 | Keeneland photo

By Jessica Martini & Christie DeBernardis

LEXINGTON, KY – The Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale continued with strong demand during a lively session of bidding Thursday in Lexington. The auction's first of two Book 2 sessions concluded with both average and median up and the buy-back rate down from the corresponding session in 2020.

“Incredible,” Keeneland's Vice President of Sales Tony Lacy said of Thursday's action. “It was a really vibrant market again today. I think people were a little frustrated in buying, but we had a lot of happy sellers. I think it is a really encouraging market as we move forward.”

During Thursday's first Book 2 session, 344 head sold for $88,500,000. The session average was $167,549–up 19.2% from the corresponding 2020 figure–while the median of $130,000 was up 30%. The buy-back rate was 24.56%, down from 29.04% a year ago.

“The RNA rate was really healthy,” Lacy said. “The median and average were well up. We are extremely happy and it bodes well for the rest of the sale as we move into the middle market.”

A weanling colt by Justify (Hip 305) brought the top price of Thursday's session when selling to Coolmore's M.V. Magnier for $625,000. Streak of Luck (Old Fashioned) was the day's top-priced mare, selling for $620,000 to Aaron and Marie Jones, LLC.

There were five offerings to sell for $500,000 or over during the session, matching the figure from the auction's first Book 2 section a year ago.

“Foals were incredibly strong,” Lacy said. “There were a lot of frustrated pinhookers out there trying to buy. There were a lot of end users participating in the market today for foals. Young mares bred on an early cover to a popular sire were extremely popular.”

The competitive November results can be traced back to the strong yearling market, according to Hunter Simms of Warrendale Sales.

“It's strong, selling and buying,” Simms said of the November market. “You lead one up here and think you know what it is going to bring, but you are paying a premium no matter what. It happened across town, it's happening here. I think September led into it a little bit. Breeders need to spend that money before the end of the year for tax purposes.”

The September sale also gave breeders the confidence to reinvest in mares, Keeneland's Director of Sales Operations Cormac Breathnach said.

“The September market was so strong that it really validated commercial breeders and gave them, in a lot of cases, the ability to reinvest,” Breathnach said. “You know sometimes there were large amounts of money spent on yearlings out of older mares or mares that had not been the A-list type. We saw the strength of the yearling market all the way through the last day. Even Book 4 mares were profitable in some cases this year. [Breeders] can buy with a bit more confidence.”

Tom Ryan of SF Bloodstock was seeing strength at all levels of the November market.

“It is wonderful to see,” Ryan said. “There is vibrance from top to bottom. There is no soft spot in this market. It is tremendous. It started out incredibly strong at Fasig-Tipton and it has continued into Keeneland.”

The Keeneland November sale continues through Nov. 19 with sessions beginning daily at 10 a.m.

Coolmore Strikes For Regally Bred Justify Colt

When Hip 305 stepped into the ring, it was like looking at a miniature version of his sire, undefeated Triple Crown hero Justify. Those good looks combined with his equally stunning pedigree inspired a fast and furious round of bidding and when the hammer fell, it was no surprise to find Coolmore's M.V. Magnier left holding the $625,000 ticket. Consigned by Lane's End, the weanling colt was bred by Jane Lyon's Summer Wind Farm.

“He is a really nice horse,” Magnier said. “In fairness to Jane Lyon and everyone at Summer Wind, they are very good breeders. We have had a lot of luck with the family before. I think we have about 11 or 12 Justifys going into Ballydoyle next year. They look like they are a very special group of horses. Everybody seems to be very high on them from Paul Shanahan to Dermot Ryan to Aidan O'Brien. They are just a very exciting bunch of horses to look forward to next year. The pedigrees they have, the physiques they have, just everything about them.”

The flashy chestnut colt was the most expensive horse sold during Thursday's session and the most expensive weanling colt of the sale thus far, following Wednesday's $800,000 Frankel (GB) filly.

“He is by one of the best horses we have seen in America for a very long time and then has Moonshine Memories and everything [on the bottom side],” Magnier said when asked if the final price was what he expected. “A horse bred like that and with the physique he has deserved to make [that money].”

Hip 305, who was given the name Just Before Dawn by his breeder, is from the second crop of Justify, whose progeny has been well received at auctions over the past two years. The Coolmore stallion was represented by a $1.55 million colt at the Keeneland September Sale and has had four weanlings sell thus far at November for $1.33 million.

“Justify was such a good racehorse,” said Magnier. “We have a huge amount of faith in him. He is making super strong horses and they all seem to be good movers. The lads at home are just breaking them in now and they all seem to be easy to deal with, so it is going to be a very exciting year next year.”

Lyon privately purchased the colt's second dam, SW Evil Elaine (Medieval Man) the day before her son Favorite Trick (Phone Trick) won the 1997 GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile, clinching an Eclipse Award and Horse of the Year honors in the process. Hip 305's dam Unenchantedevening (Unbridled's Song) was the final foal out of Evil Elaine and joined Lyon's broodmare band after making seven starts, which included a maiden win.

Unenchantedevening's first foal was SW & GSP Indian Evening (Indian Charlie) and a few foals later she produced SP Mo for the Money (Uncle Mo). She followed that colt with her most significant produce to date, 'TDN Rising Star' Moonshine Memories (Malibu Moon). Acquired by Coolmore and Bridlewood Farm for $650,000 at FTSAUG, Moonshine Memories became the first Grade I winner bred by Summer Wind with a victory in the GI Del Mar Debtutante S. and followed that with a win in the GI Chandelier S. The bay summoned $3.4 million from West Bloodstock carrying a foal by Into Mischief at Tuesday's Fasig-Tipton November Sale.

Lyon retained Moonshine Memories' now-3-year-old full-sister More Moonshine, who was tabbed a 'TDN Rising Star' after an impressive debut at Saratoga in July. Their dam is expecting a Tapit foal in 2022.

“Jane has owned that family for quite some time and she is very partial to it,” said Bobby Spalding, manager of Summer Wind Farm. “This colt has been pretty special since day one. In fact, we had him entered in the sale, but we weren't even going to bring him up here. But, a couple days before the sale, we decided to bring him and the horse hadn't even been prepped for the sale. What you saw was all natural. He was a nice horse by the right sire and out of a nice family. It is very special to Jane.”

Summer Wind is known for selling well-bred and often expensive yearlings, such as $1-million FTSAUG buy and now undefeated 'TDN Rising Star' Flightline (Tapit), but it is very unusual for Lyon's operation to offer a weanling at auction.

When asked about this deviation, Spalding said, “That was all Jane's idea. She had said back in early August that she thought he would be a nice weanling to sell. She made a comment that it wasn't something she normally did, but she really liked him and thought he would sell well. I was the one trying to convince her to keep him out of the sale, so all credit goes to Jane.” —@CDeBernardisTDN

Taylor Secures Streak of Luck For Joneses

Streak of Luck (Old Fashioned) (Hip 265) sparked the day's first fireworks, bringing $620,000 from Taylor Made's Frank Taylor, who was acting on behalf of Aaron and Marie Jones. Consigned by James Keogh, the 6-year-old is carrying her first foal by Horse of the Year Authentic.

“She checked all the boxes for us,” Taylor said. “She had a great physical. She looks like Unbridled's Song and we love Unbridled's Song. We raised Old Fashioned on the farm, so that was kind of a plus to me. She was a good racemare and is in foal to a Derby winner, having a January foal. That is what we are looking for.”

As for the price, Taylor said, “I saw one [Wednesday] that was comparable to her and she brought $700,000. That was a bid or two past where we wanted to go, but we wanted to get her.”

Carrie Brogden, Keogh and the mare's breeder Roncelli Family Trust raced Streak of Luck in partnership. She won six of her 30 starts and placed in multiple graded stakes.–@CDeBernardisTDN

Silesia Farm Snags 'Impeccable' Mare

GSP Impeccable Style (Uncle Mo) (Hip 486) proved popular at Keeneland Thursday, bringing $500,000 from Warrendale's Kitty Taylor and Hunter Simms, who were acting on behalf of Silesia Farm.

“They are actually the same group we bought the dam of ['TDN Rising Star”] Messier (Empire Maker) for last year, Checkered Past, and he is running in the [GIII] Bob Hope this weekend,” Simms said after signing the ticket beside Taylor. “They are very loyal clients of ours. We sold a bunch for them in September this year. They had a very good sales season and wanted to reinvest into the market and upgrade their broodmare band.”

A $155,000 purchase at this auction back in 2017, Impeccable Style was third in last year's Bourbonette Oaks and was second in the GIII Indiana Oaks. Pete Bradley picked her up for $275,000 just days later at the Fasig July Sale and she made just two starts for her new connections before being retired and bred to Horse of the Year Authentic.

“She is a beautiful physical and good physicals are selling right now, whether its mares, yearlings, foals,” Simms said. “The Authentic is very attractive to us and her race record. It was the whole package we are looking for.” —@CDeBernardisTDN

Freedman Goes to Kentucky for Stay Inside

Michael Freedman, who along with his brother Richard trains Group 1 winner Stay Inside (Aus) (Extreme Choice {Aus}), made a first visit to the Kentucky November sales this week in search of mares to eventually support the 2021 G1 Longines Golden Slipper hero at stud. After purchasing a pair of mares at Fasig-Tipton Tuesday, Freedman acquired an additional two mares at Keeneland Thursday. He made his biggest purchase when going to $400,000 to acquire Alnaseem (GB) (Shamardal) (hip 338) from the Timber Town consignment. The 5-year-old stakes-winning mare sold as a racing or broodmare prospect and Freedman said the plan will be to race her next year.

“She obviously has a bit of racing upside, that was of interest, and I just thought she looked like a lovely physical type,” Freedman explained. “She was a big, impressive mare. And the idea would be to take her back to Australia early in the new year and put her back into training there back there before eventually making her way to the breeding farm to be mated to Stay Inside, a horse that we won the Golden Slipper with earlier this year, when he goes to stud.”

Also Thursday, Freedman purchased the stakes-winning She's So Special (Hard Spun) (hip 244) for $250,000 from the Bluewater Sales consignment.

“That was the same sort of deal,” Freedman said. “She's just a nice outcross with a bit of speed there, which is what we were wanting to come over to find. Again to race if possible, if not the plan is to breed to Stay Inside as well.”

At Fasig-Tipton Tuesday, Freedman purchased I'llhandlethecash (Point of Entry) (hip 191) for $220,000 and No Mo' Spending (Uncle Mo) (hip 217) for $165,000.

Australia opened its borders a week before the November sales and buyers from the country have been very active in Kentucky this week.

“We got beaten on a few and quite often by other Australian buyers,” Freedman said of the market. “It's certainly been competitive, but I am very happy with the ones we've selected and happy with the ones we were able to buy. We might try to get one or two more before the end of the sale if possible.”

Of his first trip to Keeneland, Freedman added, “It's been a great experience and I would certainly like to come back again at some stage, for the yearlings sale or for this sale next year. It's good to get out and travel again.” @JessMartiniTDN

 

Alnaseem Rewards Vaughan Again

Ed Vaughan closed out his English stable last winter, and on his way to America, the trainer picked up the 4-year-old filly Alnaseem (GB) (Shamardal) (hip 338) for 88,000gns ($123,210). Now five, the chestnut gave Vaughan his first stateside win and stakes win before selling for $400,000 to Australian trainers Richard and Michael Freedman Thursday at Keeneland.

“She went on fast ground and the stallion works here–from the Giant's Causeway line,” Vaughan said of the mare's appeal last December as he prepared to open a U.S. stable. “And I just liked her races more than anything probably. She always traveled great through her races and that was it really.”

Alnaseem opened her U.S. campaign with a fourth-place effort in a Churchill allowance in April before winning a May allowance in Louisville.

“Her work was always very good,” Vaughan said. “She ran at Churchill and she was just away a bit slowly and then she was much better next time. She improved from there on.”

Alnaseem was second in the Indiana General Assembly Distaff S. in June before trying graded company with a sixth-place effort in the GII Dance Smartly S. in August. She concluded her time with Vaughan with a win in the H.B.P.A. S. at Presque Isle Oct. 18.

“There are always emotions–you're with them seven days a week,” Vaughan admitted of Thursday's sale. “She was our first winner over here. And she was our first stakes win, so we owe her a debt of gratitude. She's going to Australia and she'll go to a very good home. I'm delighted with that result.”

Vaughan currently has a dozen horses in training in the U.S., including recently arrived Waliyak (Fr) (Le Havre {Ire}), who was fourth in the Oct. 17 GI E.P. Taylor S. He expects to add to that number when he goes shopping again at the Tattersalls December sale next month.

“We will restock at the December sale and there will be some more to come,” he said. “That's how I did it back in Europe. You've got to get them to perform and hopefully tee them up for whatever jurisdiction they'll be best suited to, whether it's Hong Kong, America or Australia.” @JessMartiniTDN

March X Press Proves Even More Popular This Time Around

Stakes winner March X Press (Shanghai Bobby) made her first appearance at Keeneland November in 2018, bringing $275,000 from Jackpot Farm, and summoned $330,000 from SF Bloodstock and Newgate Farm the following year carrying her first foal by Tapit. Sent through the KEENOV ring yet again Thursday in foal to Quality Road, the 6-year-old mare (Hip 540) realized $560,000 from David Ingordo, acting on behalf of Parks Investment Group.

“I was the underbidder on her yearling and I thought her yearling was one of the best yearlings I did not get,” Ingordo said. “I know he is going into training with the SF group. When I saw the mare in foal to Quality Road, I figured that would work for me. We are going to breed her to Honor A.P.”

The SF Bloodstock team liked March X Press's yearling colt by Tapit so much that the SF-led stallion-making group known as the Avengers purchased him for $700,000 at the Fasig-Tipton October Sale.

“He is a beautiful Tapit colt with a lot of class,” SF's Tom Ryan said. “We were so excited about him that he has become part of our SF racing partnership. He is in training with Eddie Woods right now and will go to Bob Baffert.”

As for March X Press, Ryan said, “She was very well set up to trade. She had produced what everyone knew was a stunning Tapit yearling and was in foal to an elite stallion in Quality Road. All the parts were there. She had a good yearlings, was a young stakes mare, she was beautiful and was in foal to the right stallion. The timing was right.” —@CDeBernardisTDN

Impressive Early Results for Authentic

The first mares in foal to Authentic have made an immediate impact in the sales ring this week in Kentucky. Three mares sold in foal to the GI Kentucky Derby and GI Breeders' Cup Classic winner at the Fasig-Tipton November sale Tuesday, with Super Girlie (Closing Argument) (hip 243) leading the way when selling for $725,000. The results continued to roll in Wednesday at Keeneland, with Achalaya (Bellamy Road) (hip 175) fetching a final bid of $725,000; New and Improved (Cairo Prince) (hip 199) selling for $700,000; and Quality Response (Quality Road) (hip 212) selling for $510,000.

Three mares in foal to the Spendthrift stallion led the way through much of Thursday's session of the Keeneland sale, with Streak of Luck (Old Fashioned) (hip 265) bringing $620,000; Jennifer's Dream (Medaglia d'Oro) (hip 499) selling for $525,000 and Impeccable Style (Uncle Mo) (hip 486) attracting a final bid of $500,000.

“He had a wonderful book of mares, so this is certainly what we would have hoped for at the sales,” said Spendthrift's Ned Toffey. “I know when the dust settled after booking all his mares–which happened relatively quickly because of the popularity level–we felt really really good about the quality of his book last year. And obviously the market feels the same way and is clearly looking forward to Authentic's first foals. We couldn't be happier with the results so far.”

Through two sessions of the Keeneland November sale, 13 mares have sold in foal to Authentic at an average of $438,077. The sales results this week should set the stallion up for another strong book of mares in 2022, when he will stand for $70,000.

“The in-foal average is always important,” Toffey said. “Breeders are always looking at that. And if you don't have that average, it may be a little tougher to sell seasons in year two. So this should certainly help breeders feel confident about breeding to him in year two because the market clearly seems to be receptive.” @JessMartiniTDN

 

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