The new year has just begun, but Keeneland already is looking forward to 10 months from now when superstar Lady Eli will be offered at Keeneland’s November Breeding Stock Sale.
“I love her. We have been so lucky to have been associated with her. She has taken us on quite a journey and I think this year she will be crowned champion and I am thrilled for her. She deserves it.” - owner Sol Kumin
Owners Jay Hanley and Sol Kumin of Sheep Pond Partners announced that the 6-year-old mare, who won five Grade 1 races and earned nearly $3 million, was officially retired from racing and was in for an exciting future. Lady Eli is to be bred to leading sire War Front, who stands at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Kentucky, and will reside at John G. Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm near Lexington until Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency consigns her to the November Sale.
That will mark Lady Eli’s third appearance in the Keeneland sales ring. In 2013, co-breeder Runnymede Farm of Paris, Kentucky, consigned the daughter of Divine Park as a yearling to the September Sale, where she was purchased for $160,000 by Bradley Thoroughbreds, agent. The next year, consignor Eddie Woods, agent, sold her to Hanley for the same amount at the April Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale.
For Sheep Pond Partners and trainer Chad Brown, Lady Eli went on to a spectacular and highly memorable career. Six months after selling at Keeneland’s April Sale, she won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). She began her 3-year-old season back at Keeneland, where she won the Appalachian (G3) Presented by Keeneland Select. After taking the Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) two races later, Lady Eli began a brave fight against laminitis – and won. With the racing world cheering her on, Lady Eli returned to the races nearly a year later and was every bit on top of her game. In April 2017, Keeneland fans enjoyed another chance to see her when she was second, by a head, in the Coolmore Jenny Wiley (G1). She later scored consecutive wins in the Gamely (G1), Diana (G1) and Woodford Reserve Ballston Spa (G2).
Lady Eli is now a finalist for a 2017 Eclipse Award as champion female turf horse. The awards will be presented Jan. 25.
“I love her,” Kumin said. “We have been so lucky to have been associated with her. She has taken us on quite a journey and I think this year she will be crowned champion and I am thrilled for her. She deserves it.”