Tapit Filly On Top as KEESEP Kicks Off

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Session-topping hip 149 | Keeneland photo

by Brian DiDonato, Jessica Martini & Christie DeBernardis

LEXINGTON, KY–A Tapit filly out of GISW Embellish the Lace (Super Saver) topped the opening session of Keeneland’s September yearling sale on a $1.25-million bid by Claiborne Farm’s Bernie Sams. The bay was consigned to the auction as hip 149 by Bluewater Sales LLC, Agent XVI, on behalf of breeder China Horse Club.

While stringent COVID-19 protocols put in place to allow the world’s largest yearling sale to be held at all may have dulled some of the electricity typically felt in the building when high-dollar horses are changing hands, competition for the top lots remained intense, with five transactions reaching the seven-figure mark and 23 offerings selling for $500,000 or more. In total, 109 head changed hands for gross receipts of $40,680,000 at an average rate of $373,211 and median of $330,000. With 62 horses led out unsold, the RNA rate was 36.26%.

Because last year’s sale featured a three-day Book 1 versus a two-day Book 1 this time around, year-to-year comparisons will be inexact until Book 3. It worth noting, however, that there were seven $2-million-plus sellers during Book 1 last year and none on Sunday. Perennial leading buyers Godolphin and Shadwell were absent from the results sheets. Two horses were signed for on behalf of Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier.

“We were so happy to have an opening day of the September yearling sale–it was great to have people on the grounds; it was great to have trade; it was great to see people following protocols so we can continue to have trade. It was a good day overall,” said Keeneland’s President Elect Shannon Arvin.

In addition to offering online bidding and increasing its capacity for phone bids, Keeneland added another bidding area in the far back walking ring, which seemed popular with buyers.

“Having multiple [bidding] locations was a concern going in–having [bidding from] the back walking ring, and from the telephone and internet, we were concerned it would slow down the whole day. [But] it didn’t seem to cause any delay,” said Keeneland’s Director of Sales Operations Geoffrey Russell. “We had multiple bidders on the internet, and sold five horses that way. The first buyer was domestic and the rest were international. It worked very well… Telephone bids worked too. Having it spread out in the three locations on site probably took away a little bit of the atmosphere, but it’s COVID and we’ll take what we get.”

As for how trade on Sunday compared to expectations, Russell said, “Just to have a sale meets our expectations. We’re very happy that it’s September and we’re at Keeneland and we’re having a horse sale. So, going into it, that would be the first thing. To have competitive bidding at all levels of the market, I thought it was very rewarding.”

The second of two Book 1 sessions of the 12-day auction begins Monday at noon. For more information, visit www.keeneland.com.

 

 

A KEESEP Topper for Tapit

A Tapit filly out of the 2015 GI Alabama S. heroine Embellish the Lace (Super Saver) caught the attention of a number of high-end buyers, and was ultimately landed Sunday by Claiborne Farm’s Bernie Sams, who was bidding on behalf of an undisclosed client of the storied nursery. The bay was consigned to the sale by Bluewater Sales as hip 149 and offered on behalf of her breeder, China Horse Club.

“He’s bought a couple mares and he bought a nice yearling filly last year,” Sams said of the buyer. “He’s trying to buy a couple more fillies and build a broodmare band over the next few years and we will see where we go. He wanted a Tapit filly, so there we go.”

He continued, “She’s a pretty filly and very athletic. A nice family out of a young mare that could run. It’s a good cross. We had hoped she would be cheaper.”

Bluewater’s Meg Levy said hip 149 had been plenty popular back at the barn and in the repository.

“It’s a strange year, 2020, and this was the first horse we were bringing to the ring in Book 1. So, while we expected that she could be in that range, you just never know,” Levy offered. “It seemed like all the right people were on her. She’s been nothing but a queen, and she put all the pieces together. The market is increasingly physically demanding and there were just no holes. She had the page and the physical. She was vetted about 14 times, and it seemed like everyone showed up, so fair value.”

Embellish the Lace was a $320,000 buy here in 2013 by Alex and JoAnn Lieblong. The half-sister to 2010 GI Travers S. Winner Afleet Express (Afleet Alex) RNA’d for $1.9 million at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton November sale and brought $2.4 million from China Horse Club a year later while in foal to Uncle Mo. Her now 2-year-old filly Classique (Pioneerof the Nile) was a $700,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga grad of last year, and Embellish the Lace produced a filly by red-hot Into Mischief this term.

While China Horse Club founder and chairman Teo Ah Khing was unable to travel to Kentucky due to the coronavirus pandemic, he stayed up until 4 a.m. local time to watch hip 149 sell from his home in Singapore.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with this result,” he said. “The mare is class. She’s putting down beautiful stock, just what we hoped for when purchasing her. She was well raised by both WinStar and Bluewater and it’s a privilege to offer fillies like her, although always sad to see them go.”

As for the market dynamics in these uncertain times, the international businessman said, “It’s about keeping confidence in the market. You can’t look at the micro. It’s a long-term view and it’s about keeping conviction in the industry. These times will pass–it’s a matter of just getting on with it under the environment we face. We aren’t immune, but we are doing a great job under the conditions.”

 

 

Half-Sis to Constitution First to Seven Figures

A Medaglia d’Oro half-sister to leading second-crop sire and MGISW Constitution (Tapit) was the first to reach the seven-figure threshold during Sunday’s opening session of the Keeneland September sale when garnering a top bid of $1.1 million from Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm. Consigned by Denali Stud, Agent LIX as hip 58, the Mar. 21 foal was bred in a partnership between Bridlewood Farm and Don Alberto Corp. The powerful co-breeders paid a sale-topping $3.5 million for group-placed dam Baffled (Distorted Humor) in foal to Tapit at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton November Sale. Don Alberto subsequently bought out Bridlewood for $1.8 million while Baffled was carrying a full brother to hip 58 at last year’s renewal of that same sale.

“It was a little over; it was about what we expected, though,” said Pope’s bloodstock advisor Todd Quast. “It was a little more than we wanted to spend, but you are not going to get a bargain on a filly of that quality, even in this sale right now. We were super happy with her physical. We think she is a racehorse, but obviously she will be a broodmare later… [Pope] is a commercial breeder, but we race too and we are happy to have a good physical to race and when you have the pedigree side to go with it, it is a win-win.”

By Sunday, Whisper Hill had already sent another well-pedigreed filly back home–Pope made the decision to scratch hip 400, the first foal out of champion Songbird by the late superstar Arrogate. She paid $9.5 million for the mare.

“We didn’t really have a good Fasig sale,” Quast noted. “We love this filly and compare her to Songbird, so we just thought why sell her? She is already back in Ocala.”

Hip 58 is also a half to English Group 2 winner Boynton (More Than Ready) and American dirt GSW Jacaranda (Congrats). She hails from the deep female family of highest-level winners like Emcee and Awesome Humor.

“This filly was bred in partnership with Bridlewood,” noted Don Alberto’s Fernando Diaz-Valdes. “We have some foals out of her [together], including a filly who is at the farm. We’re very excited. She did what we wanted her to.”

Benvenutta, the 3-year-old Tapit filly who Baffled was carrying when Bridlewood and Don Alberto made their big buy, remains unraced and last breezed in October of 2019. Baffled’s 2-year-old Tapit colt Constitutional Law worked on Saturday for trainer Todd Pletcher (5f, 1:02.21, 16/30 over the Belmont training track). Baffled produced a full-brother to hip 58 this year and is carrying a Curlin filly. @BDiDonatoTDN

 

 

Stellar Day for Stone Farm

The Hancock family’s Stone Farm had an excellent day, or to be more precise an excellent 10 minutes, at Keeneland Sunday with a pair of homebreds selling back-to-back with Hip 97 bringing $620,000 and Hip 98 hitting $1.05-million. Hip 97, a son of Quality Road, was purchased by Donato Lanni on behalf of SF/Starlight/Madaket and Hip 98, a War Front filly, was bought by Mike Ryan.

“That was a little stressful [selling 97 and 98 back-to-back],” Lynn Hancock said with a laugh of relief. “We are very happy. We knew coming up here we had two very nice individuals and people might like them. You breed them, raise them and do the best you can and hope for a good result. So, obviously, we are very happy with both of those.”

Stone Farm principal Arthur Hancock purchased Hip 98’s MSP dam Chatham (Maria’s Mon) for $190,000 back in 2009 at this venue’s November Sale. She has proven to be quite a bargain with her past yearlings bringing prices ranging from $70,000 to $535,000 and now a seven-figure filly. Hip 98 is a full-sister to Irish Highweight and MG1SW Air Force Blue, whose first-crop of 2-year-olds are making an impression at the races.

“She is obviously a full-sister to Air Force Blue,” Lynn Hancock said. “He was a champion. She is a lovely filly. She has been a queen from Day 1. We brought her up here and she has just continued to blossom and show well.”

Ryan, who did his bidding by the back show ring, purchased the filly on behalf of an undisclosed client.

“This filly will probably go to Europe and start out there,” Ryan said. “Being a full sister to champion Air Force Blue, you’d have to think she will love the turf. She looked to me like a filly that could run in the States on the dirt. She looks more to me like a dirt horse, but we know she’ll handle grass very well.”

He continued, “I thought she was an exceptional physical when I saw here at Stone Farm three weeks ago. She is a May foal. She is very well grown for her age. She’s not lacking size or scope. They raise a great horse out there with Air Force Blue and three Kentucky Derby winners.”

Hip 97’s dam Chapel (Pulpit) is a third generation Stone Farm homebred. Her now-3-year-old daughter Gingham (Quality Road), a stakes winner and recently third against older females in the GIII Rancho Bernardo H., was purchased by Sarah Kelly for $420,000 at this auction in 2018. Hip 97’s second dam is MGSW Owsley (Harlan).

“The colt is obviously by Quality Road. It is a great family, great page,” Hancock said. ‘Gingham is very live on the track. We love that colt. My dad [Arthur] always says, ‘That’s a racehorse!’ In this market, we weren’t really sure what to expect going in. The 97, 98 back-to-back was a little bit stressful, but we are thrilled.” @CDeBernardisTDN

 

 

Chus Add Another Filly to Stable

Susan and Charles Chu added another high-priced filly to their stable when going to $1 million to acquire a filly by Quality Road (hip 67) from the Gainesway consignment at Keeneland Sunday. The bay yearling is out of graded placed Beloveda (Ghostzapper) and was co-bred by Gainesway’s Antony Beck and Brian Graves, as well as Michael Hernon. Susan Chu, flanked by trainer Bob Baffert and bloodstock agent Donato Lanni, did her bidding in the new back show ring bidding area.

“She was very beautiful,” Chu said of the half-sister to stakes placed Mistress of Love (Scat Daddy).

Asked if she was surprised by the filly’s seven-figure price tag, Chu admitted, “A little bit. But the beautiful ones, everybody wants. Bob and I looked at each other and we just kept going.”

The Chus’ Baoma Corporation was represented last year by three-time Grade I winner Bast (Uncle Mo), who is now in foal to Justify and may or may not be sold this coming November.

The couple also purchased a filly by Distorted Humor for $700,000 at this year’s OBS Spring sale. Now named Varda, she was a first-out winner at Del Mar Aug. 30.

“She is doing great,” Chu said of Varda. “We really cannot wait to see her future success.”

Of their focus on fillies, Chu explained, “Bast has good broodmare potential and we hope this one does too. We have a broodmare band and buying fillies will make it easier for me to look ahead to their second careers.”

After signing the ticket on the filly, Lanni said of the yearling, “She was super cool, a laid-back, classy filly by the right sire and from a great female family. She was raised right. Even with a down market, they are still bringing good money. We are very happy to get her.”

Beck, Graves and Hernon purchased Beloveda for $205,000 at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky February sale. The trio sold Mistress of Love for $1 million at the 2017 Keeneland September sale. The mare’s Tapit colt sold for $500,000 at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale and a full-sister to hip 67 sold for $450,000 at last year’s Saratoga sale.

“Brian, Antony and I all liked her,” Hernon said of Beloveda’s appeal in 2013 while he took a break from shopping on behalf of his newly formed bloodstock agency Sunday. “She is a daughter of top racehorse and proven sire Ghostzapper–broodmare sire is critical to the equation in mare selection. I was at Fasig and the phone call came in and she was running along nicely up to $200,000 and I made one bid at $205,000 and we got the mare. She has been a cash cow.”

Of the yearling, Hernon added, “This filly is a chip off the old block in the female form of Quality Road who is a superior sire of fillies. This filly had size and scope and balance. She was strong, but kind and a very willing filly. She floated to the top.”

Graves added, “She’s been great to us. The most exciting thing about this is that Bob Baffert is going to train this filly. That would make anybody excited about their mare.”

Of the filly’s final price tag, one of two seven-figure offerings from Gainesway Sunday, Graves added, “It’s always a surprise when you get a million for a horse. We thought she was the best filly on the farm, but we didn’t know what we would get for her, especially in a year with COVID. The market has been a little thin, so it’s a pleasant surprise for everyone.”

Beloveda is currently in foal to Street Sense and has an Empire Maker weanling filly. @JessMartiniTDN

 

 

Best Goes Back to Into Mischief

Larry Best’s OXO Equine has plenty of experience with offspring of Into Mischief and he added another yearling by the leading sire to his roster Sunday at Keeneland, going to $1 million to acquire a colt (hip 121) from the Gainesway consignment.

“I love an Into Mischief,” Best admitted after signing the ticket on the yearling. “I was looking for a good colt–I seem to collect the fillies.”

Among the Into Mischiefs Best has campaigned are GII Best Pal S. winner Instagrand (Into Mischief), multiple Grade I placed Rowayton, multiple graded placed Center Aisle, stakes winner Mundaye Call, and ‘TDN Rising Star’ Clivetty.

“The sire is unreal,” Best said. “I just put Instagrand into stallion duty, so I’m betting big on Instagrand. I didn’t sell him–I had offers to sell him. I put him to stud because I believe he has the potential to be an elite sire son of Into Mischief. So I’m obviously one of the biggest fans of what Spendthrift has done with Into Mischief, and my luck with Into Mischief has been good, starting with Instagrand. I have a horse named Rowayton who’s a Grade I performer. I do have other sires in my portfolio for this [upcoming] 2-year-old crop, but I didn’t have any Into Mischiefs. I had some Practical Jokes. So I felt I wanted to get at least one or two colts. But I’m a big fan of Into Mischief. I think he’s probably one of the best sires ever.”

Hip 121 is out of graded-placed Curlina (Cuvee) and is a half-brother to multiple graded placed Sine Wave (Big Brown). Brandon Garrett purchased the colt for $550,000 at the 2019 Keeneland November sale.

“He belonged to someone else who was kind enough to let me take the horse home,” Gainesway’s Brian Graves said after sending the colt through the sales ring. “I loved the horse when I was bidding on him in November and I just told the successful bidder that I thought he had a chance to be a million-dollar yearling. Into Mischief had a great year and the horse came back and sold well. He was a quality horse, a very correct horse, bought by a very smart guy who has done well with Into Mischiefs.”

Hip 121 was Gainesway’s second million-dollar sale of the opening session of the September sale. Asked if he was surprised by the seven-figure sales considering all the uncertainties in the market, Graves said, “I didn’t think that was going to happen this morning, so today is a great day.”

Later in the session, Best purchased a daughter of Into Mischief (hip 208) for $525,000 from the Woodford Thoroughbreds consignment. @JessMartiniTDN

 

 

Fully Living Continues to Provide for Ashview Farm

Ashview Farm-bred Fully Living (Unbridled’s Song) has been a gift that keeps on giving for the nursery and they scored their latest success with the mare Sunday when her daughter by Medaglia d’Oro (Hip 174) summoned $800,000 from Ben McElroy, acting on behalf of Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier.

“She was a beautiful filly with a lot of presence,” said McElroy, standing alongside the filly’s future trainer Simon Callaghan. “She is by a good sire of fillies and raised at a good farm.”

Sold to Spendthrift for $425,000 at the 2011 renewal of this auction, Fully Living was bought privately by Ashview in partnership with Old Oak Farm after her GSP juvenile season and went on to place in a few more black-type events. Her first foal brought $650,000 from Stonestreet Stables and the next summoned $425,000 from Steve Young. Her now 2-year-old Nyquist colt was a $550,000 KEESEP purchase by Pete Bradley last term. Fully Living hails from the family of champion Halfbridled.

“Physically, she has been a queen since the day she was foaled,” said Ashview’s Gray Lyster. “She has been really straight-forward and is really athletic. She was on her toes the first day and on her toes when the sale started. She made us a little nervous, but in the end she acted really well. We are thrilled. It was a good way to start, especially in a year where we didn’t even know if we were going to have a September Sale.”

Sunday’s auction started off slow, but had picked up a head of steam by the time Hip 174 went through the ring with five yearlings hitting the $1-million mark.

“I am happy I wasn’t selling early,” Lyster said. “That is always the case in a sale no matter what, but especially when you have your best horse, you want to see things warmed up. Once people get outbid a few times, they tend bid quicker, faster and more often.” @CDeBernardisTDN

More Magic for Ryan

Bloodstock agent Mike Ryan paid $1 million to acquire a colt by Curlin on behalf of Bob Edwards’s e 5 Racing at the 2016 Keeneland September sale. That youngster, campaigned by e 5 and the colt’s breeder Stonestreet, went on to become champion 2-year-old Good Magic. Ryan only had to go to $800,000 to secure the champion’s yearling full-brother (hip 181) for Edwards Sunday at Keeneland.

“They are very alike, this horse is just a little bigger and a little stronger and deeper. He’s just a little bit bigger horse all around,” Ryan said when asked to compare the two. “They have the same demeanor. Good Magic had a great personality, he was a very focused horse, very professional, and this guy is the same way. He was a duplicate of Good Magic, just a little bigger version. If he is half as good, we’ll be delighted.”

Good Magic won the 2017 GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the following year’s GI Haskell Invitational. He was runner-up in the 2018 GI Kentucky Derby.

Of the yearling’s final price, Ryan said, “In the marketplace, you always want to buy them right. You hope you buy them right and you hope they prove you right. I thought he was one of the best colts in the sale. Obviously we had a biased opinion because the brother was so good to us. He looks like he will run as a 2-year-old like Good Magic did. We are very, very pleased to get him and he comes from a really top farm in Stonestreet. They breed a lot of top horses.” @JessMartiniTDN

Dilger Legacy Continues at September

Gerry Dilger passed away in March and his absence has left a gaping hole in the fabric of the September sale where he annually enjoyed a bevy of pinhooking successes, but the veteran horseman still made his presence felt with pair of standout results Sunday at Keeneland.

Dilger’s Dromoland consignment sold a colt by Nyquist (hip 99) for $300,000 to Centennial Farms Sunday. The yearling had been purchased for $130,000 at last year’s Keeneland November sale.

Nyquist was a stallion Dilger knew well, having teamed with Pat Costello and Ted Campion to pinhook the future GI Kentucky Derby winner in 2014.

“It was very emotional to have the horse come full circle,” admitted Dromoland manager Peter Conway. “From being purchased by Gerry, Pat and Ted to come back here and sell a nice Nyquist like that for Gerry and his family, it was a fantastic result. We really hope he performs well for his new owners. We would like to thank them immensely for that. I know I can speak for myself that I’m very grateful and I know that [Dilger’s wife] Erin and her children are extremely grateful as well.”

Later in Sunday’s session, Dromoland sold a colt by Gun Runner (hip 185) for $270,000 to bloodstock agent Mike Ryan. The yearling had been purchased for $190,000 at this year’s Keeneland January sale.

“We were delighted with him,” Conway said. “Gerry always loved him as a foal. He saw great potential in him and he grew up to be a nice horse.”

Ryan, who purchased the colt on behalf of William Warren, was a longtime friend and business partner of Dilger. The two men co-bred 2017 GI Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming (Bernardini).

“It’s very emotional because he and I were so close,” Ryan said after signing the ticket on the yearling. “It breaks my heart. I haven’t come to terms with that he’s not here. We bred a Derby winner together.”

Conway said the two yearlings were typical of Dilger’s successful pinhooking prospects.

“They were two very nice colts,” Conway said. “They were well-grown and strong with big walks and fairly correct. They just suited his program. When he purchased them, he could see a lot of potential in them. They weren’t the finished model, but he had his perception of how they would turn out. I hope we did a good job bringing them to the sale the way he would have wanted to. I hope he is looking down on us and his family and he’s happy with how things we went today.”

The future of the Dromoland consignment is still up in the air, according to Conway.

“I know we are consigning through September and after that, I can’t be too sure what is going to happen,” Conway said. “I know the September sale is a big sale and his family wanted to keep the banner flying here for the September sale under his name and under his colors. We are thankful they gave us the opportunity. All the guys on the farm worked extremely hard this year and we really hope the horses looked as good as they would have if Gerry was there.”

Conway has spent the last seven years working at Dromoland.

“I can attribute 99% of everything I’ve learned about horses and horsemanship to Gerry and his operation,” the Irishman said. “He was a great mentor to me and to many young people over the years. He was a fantastic individual.” @JessMartiniTDN

‘Avengers’ Keep Busy at Keeneland

The partnership of SF, Starlight and Madaket, dubbed ‘The Avengers’ by their trainer Bob Baffert, were on a buying spree at Fasig, purchasing nine yearling, and were still busy shopping at Keeneland Sunday. The powerhouse group, who purchased recent GI Kentucky Derby hero Authentic (Into Mischief) at this auction two years ago, bought eight youngsters Sunday, topped by a $775,000 son of Into Mischief (Hip 78).

“He is by Into Mischief who is now proven as an elite stallion,” said SF’s Tom Ryan. “Authentic demonstrated that Into Mischief is capable of siring a horse who can win at the highest level at the Classic distance.”

He added, “We had to reach to buy him, but he was a horse we felt suited our program very well.”

Wayne Hughes’s Spendthrift Farm, which stands Into Mischief, purchased Hip 78’s GSW dam Bouquet Booth (Flower Alley) for $190,000 at the 2017 KEENOV sale carrying a foal by Union Rags. This is the family of Horse of the Year Havre de Grace and MGISWs Riskaverse and Tonalist. Hip 78 was consigned by Four Star Sales.

Offspring of Into Mischief were in high demand at Fasig -Tipton and that trend continued at Keeneland Sunday with nine of his yearlings (from 11 through the ring) bringing $4.835-million with an average of $537,222. @CDeBernardisTDN

Crosswinds Continues to Reward Hinkles

Tom, Henry and Anne-Archer Hinkle’s Hinkle Farms has done pretty well at Keeneland over the years off of the $140,000 they paid for maiden mare Crosswinds (Storm Cat) at the 2009 November sale. They had sold $1.68 million in yearlings out of her before Sunday, and have seen her foals Weep No More (Mineshaft) and Current (Curlin) annex the 2016 GI Central Bank Ashland S. and 2018 GIII Dixiana Bourbon S. here, respectively.

This year it was hip 116‘s turn to add to the ROI, with the chestnut son of Arrogate garnering a $750,000 winning bid from Japan’s Yuji Hasegawa, who did his bidding over the internet.

“We’re very pleased,” said Henry Hinkle. “We had a lot of really great buyers on him and we were really happy when he was so well accepted. We got a lot of compliments on him. He’s one of the nicest colts we’ve ever brought up here to sell.”

Current was a $725,000 seller here three years ago, and now 2-year-old filly No Ordinary Time (Frosted) brought $600,000

12 months ago. The latter, now a member of Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey’s stable, set the pace before checking in fourth on debut over the Keeneland turf Sept. 7 in the colors of Allen Stable, Inc.

Hip 116 sports Juddmonte influences top and bottom–she’s by Khalid Abdullah’s star-crossed superstar, and a granddaughter of 2001 GI Kentucky Oaks and GI Alabama S. heroine Flute (Seattle Slew). Flute is the dam of GSW and MGISP Filimbi (Mizzen Mast).

“Color wise, [he’s different], but body type-wise, the Juddmonte folks commented that he had a very similar body type,” Hinkle said when asked of the similarities, or differences, between hip 116 and his sire. “We’re very pleased, and I know he’ll be in good hands. The mare has been a great producer–she had those two chestnut graded stakes winners and I hope he’ll follow in their footsteps.” —@BDiDonatoTDN

New Partnership Forms for Dame Dorothy Colt

A son of Grade I winner Dame Dorothy (Bernardini) inspired a new partnership Sunday with the powerhouse trio of Juddmonte, Bridlewood Farm and Winchell Thoroughbreds joining forces on the $650,000 Medaglia d’Oro colt (Hip 124).

“Having been around Ron [Winchell] the last few years, going back to when we were in Dubai a few years ago and Arrogate won, I found him to be a good guy,” Juddmonte’s Garrett O’Rourke said. “I have known George [Isaacs] for years as well. They were involved with Arrogate and bred to him. We discussed that if we came across something we all liked, we would go into a partnership, so it just fell into place today.”

Hip 124 was bred by celebrity chef Bobby Flay, whose colors Dame Dorothy carried to a trio of graded victories, including the GI Humana Distaff S. Her first foal is the now 3-year-old filly Spice is Nice (Curlin), who brought $1.05-million at this auction two years ago and has gone on to earn ‘TDN Rising Star’ status and a Grade II placing.

“He is a big horse and maybe that put some people off, but I had seen Medaglia d’Oro at Bobby Frankel’s as a 2-year-old and had the same thoughts,” O’Rourke said. “God, he was a big, beautiful horse. The good Medaglia d’Oros have also been big racehorses, like Bolt d’Oro and Rachel Alexandra. I feel like the really, really good Medaglia d’Oros are that type. Then you have Dame Dorothy and she was exceptional as well. He was a fine, sound-looking horse, very correct with good limbs. He had a little bit of extra class about him, I thought. Dr. [John] Chandler [of Juddmonte] always uses the phrase, ‘Does the horse speak to you?’ And, I guess, this horse spoke to us. Nice horse and he looked like a racehorse.”

Juddmonte’s ill-fated champion Arrogate is represented by his first yearlings this term and they have proven to be quite popular. Seven of the four-time Grade I winner’s offspring went through the ring Sunday for a gross of $2.205-million and average of $315,000. The top seller was a $750,000 colt (Hip 116) purchased by Yuji Hasegawa.

“We are delighted they are selling like that,” O’Rourke said. “We bought one today as well for $300,000 (Hip 164). We are happy with that and obviously have plenty at home. The sweet will be the opportunity to race them over the next couple of years and the bitter is obviously we won’t have the horse we thought we’d have for 15 more years. Obviously, he was one of the greatest dirt horses we have seen in modern times and we would like to have filled some of our broodmare band with his genes. Hopefully, we will have one good one to replace him.” @CDeBernardisTDN

Hunter Valley Takes a Bow with Curlin Filly

Adrian Regan and Fergus Galvin of Hunter Valley Farm acquired a weanling filly by Curlin for $250,000 on behalf of a pinhooking partnership at last year’s Keeneland November sale. The two horsemen were so impressed by the youngster, they plucked her dam Applauding (Congrats) out of the Keeneland January sale two months later for $360,000. Both purchases looked prescient when the mare’s full-sister Starship Warpspeed became the dam of GI Kentucky Oaks winner Shedaresthedevil (Daredevil) 10 days ago. The Curlin filly sold for $625,000 during Sunday’s first session of the Keeneland September sale.

“At the time we just thought she was a very elegant filly, maybe a tad immature at the time,” Regan said of the weanling’s appeal last November. “But we loved her action and her balance. She had lots of quality and a great demeanor.”

Applauding, in foal once again to Curlin this past winter, was originally led out unsold in January.

“When we got that foal home, she was the pick of what we brought back that year,” Regan continued. “Fergus and I thought she was all quality. And we loved the mare in January. She was in early enough in January and she didn’t make her reserve because it was a bit more than we wanted to give. But we had a partner who wanted us to give it a go and we are very happy to have her now.”

Applauding herself had a nice update beneath the Twin Spires Sept. 4.

“She went one time to Into Mischief and she’s not in foal, but she has another lovely Curlin by her side,” Regan said of the 11-year-old mare.

Applauding has made a habit of rewarding breeders. Imagine Bloodstock purchased her in foal to Curlin for $100,000 at the 2016 Keeneland November sale and sold yearlings for $475,000 (Curlin filly) and $400,000 (Distorted Humor colt) out of her before putting her through the ring in January.

“I saw the [Distorted Humor colt] in Florida this year as well,” Regan said. “He’s in training with Kenny McPeek and I know Kenny has a high opinion of the colt.”

Following the Fasig-Tipton Showcase and the early start of Keeneland September sale, Regan said, “I think it’s been well spoken about in the past few days, it’s a picky market. We’ve been lucky at the two sales so far to have two horses that everybody really wanted, our Tiznow at Fasig and the Curlin filly here. You know, if you can’t sell the likes of that filly, we’re really in trouble. We have a long way to go and hopefully we can pick up a bit more momentum in Book 2.” @JessMartiniTDN

Clay Strikes For Medag Colt

Former Three Chimneys owner Robert Clay, who now operates as Grandview Equine, made some noise early in Sunday’s opening session, going to $600,000 for a Medaglia d’Oro colt out of Grade I winner Angela Renee (Bernardini) (Hip 40).

“We liked everything about him,” said Clay, who did his bidding in the back show ring alongside advisors Alex Solis and Jason Litt. “We loved his physical. If he can run, he is a stallion prospect.”

A Grade I winner at two and Grade I-placed at three for Todd Pletcher, Angela Renee is a daughter of SW Pilfer (Deputy Minister), who is also the dam of MGISW sire To Honor and Serve (Bernardini) and SW & GISP Elnaawi (Street Sense). This is the deep family of Summer Wind Farm’s blue hen Misty Hour (Miswaki), which includes MG1SW and Keeneland September grad Mozu Ascot (Frankel {GB}) and MGSW India (Hennessy).

Don Alberto purchased Angela Renee for $3-million at the conclusion of her sophomore campaign at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton November Sale and turned her over to Chad Brown. She won one of three starts for them, capping off her career with a victory in the Lady’s Secret S. Her first foal is a 2-year-old colt named Act of Honor (Empire Maker), who was a $225,000 RNA here last year.

“We bought her as a broodmare and racing prospect and sent her to Chad Brown,” Don Alberto’s Fernando Diaz said. “She won a stake for us with Chad and had a little something, so we retired her. She gave us a great foal by Empire Maker. He is a beautiful horse, but had a little issue so we kept him at the farm. This is the second foal and he is a lovely colt. Now she is in foal to Curlin. We are excited for what the future will bring.”

He added, “Robert Clay is such a revered horseman here in this country, so we are very glad to have him as the buyer.” @CDeBernardisTDN

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