Keeneland racing and sales have strong ties to the finalists for the 2017 Eclipse Awards. Here are 10 fun facts to know about those finalists with connections to Keeneland:
1. Keeneland is the place to buy a racehorse. Fifteen Eclipse Award finalists were offered for sale at a Keeneland auction. Eleven of those went through the ring at Keeneland’s September Yearling Sale, the world’s largest and most important Thoroughbred sale.
2. Talent runs in the family. The dam of Grade 1 winner Unique Bella is Grade 1 winner Unrivaled Belle, who sold in foal to leading sire Tapit for $3.8 million at Keeneland’s 2016 November Breeding Stock Sale. Owner Don Alberto Stable paid $400,000 for Unique Bella at the 2015 September Sale.
3. Like father like son. Good Magic was bred and is co-owned by Stonestreet Stables, who raced his sire, Curlin, also a Keeneland sale graduate. Curlin was Horse of the Year in 2007 and 2008. Good Magic was bought for $1 million by owner e5 Racing at the 2016 September Sale.
4. History in the making. Runnymede Farm, founded in 1867 and located near Paris, Kentucky, co-bred and consigned Collected and Lady Eli to the 2013 and 2014 September Sale, respectively.
5. A class act. Keeneland fans saw Lady Eli in action twice. She won the 2015 Appalachian (G3) Presented by Japan Racing Association and ran second by a head in the 2017 Coolmore Jenny Wiley (G1). A two-time Keeneland sales graduate, Lady Eli is to be bred to leading sire War Front this year and sold at the 2018 November Sale.
6. The $6 million mare. Stellar Wind, also a champion at 3, topped the 2017 November Sale when she sold for $6 million. She will race for the final time Jan. 27 in the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream Park.
7. Lexington connection. Collected won the 2016 Lexington (G3) at Keeneland, and West Coast ran second in the race in 2017 when Stonestreet became the sponsor.
8. A keen eye for a horse. Bloodstock agent Mike Ryan holds a hot hand. In the name of Santa Rosa Partners, he co-bred 2017 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Always Dreaming with Dromoland Farm owner Gerry Dilger. He selected 2017 Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner Good Magic from the 2016 September Sale for co-owner e5 Racing Thoroughbreds. Ryan also purchased future champion Caressing, dam of West Coast, at the 1999 September Sale.
9. Worth the wait. Beach Patrol is the first Eclipse Award finalist bred by North Carolina resident Nancy Shuford, who has been breeding Thoroughbreds for nearly 40 years.
10. Blossoming champions. Roy H was foaled at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Kentucky, and reminded Claiborne President Walker Hancock of champion Blame, who was co-bred and raced by the farm. “Both horses were similar in their appearance, and in a way flew under the radar while here at the farm, but really blossomed once they got to the race track,” he said.