LEXINGTON, KY (Nov. 6, 2013) – Demand for an elite collection of young broodmares in foal to successful stallions and accomplished fillies just off the racetrack drove a 31 percent increase in total sales during Wednesday’s second session of the 70th annual Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale. Eight horses – led by 2012 champion female sprinter Groupie Doll, who sold for $3.1 million – brought $1 million or more to push to 14 the total number of horses sold for at seven figures during Book 1, the first two days of the sale. That is double the number of seven-figure horses sold during the entire 2012 November Sale.
On Wednesday, Keeneland sold 129 horses for $44,277,000, for an average of $343,233 and a median of $220,000. During the second session in 2012, 109 horses brought $33,840,000, for an average of $310,459 and a median of $200,000.
Cumulatively, 242 horses have been sold this year for $86,532,000, a 41 percent increase from the initial two sessions of the 2012 sale. The average of $357,570 is 22 percent above the 2012 sale, while the median of $220,000 is 38 percent higher than last year.
Walt Robertson, Keeneland’s Vice President of Sales, said the activity on Wednesday exemplified the confidence consignors have in the bloodstock market and reflected a higher number of top-quality horses in this year’s sale.
“People are happy to bring these horses here knowing there is a market for them and people are willing to spend good money on them,” he said.
Drawing the most attention from horsemen, fans and the media was Groupie Doll, who on Saturday won the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita for the second consecutive year. Bidding on the 5-year-old daughter of Bowman’s Band, who was cataloged as a racing or broodmare prospect, started at $500,000. Mandy Pope of Whisper Hill Farm was the winning bidder at $3.1 million.
“I know I keep saying this about all of (the fillies and mares I recently have purchased), but she was gorgeous,” Pope said about Groupie Doll. “Obviously, she won $2.4 million; she’s a champion – maybe a champion two years in a row. She’s elegant. She was calm and cool, nothing ever ruffled a feather whatsoever with her. She just sits there royally and regally taking everything in stride like, ‘OK, I’m here. I’m cool.’ ”
“It was great to see Groupie Doll,” said Keeneland Director of Sales Geoffrey Russell. “What a filly. When she was in the ring, she just reeked of class. There was great, spirited bidding on her. That we had three individual people (as underbidders to) Mandy Pope who wanted her just shows her true value. It was a great day.”
Pope said Groupie Doll likely would be retired. In three seasons, Groupie Doll has won 21 races, including eight graded stakes, and earned $2,4478,850. At Keeneland, she captured the 2012 Vinery Madison (G1) and Thoroughbred Club of America (G2).
The amount for Groupie Doll is the second-highest paid for a horse at the 2013 November Sale. On Tuesday, Grade 1 winner and millionaire Awesome Maria sold for $4 million.
Groupie Doll was consigned by Trackside Farm, agent for her breeders, former Kentucky state Sen. Fred Bradley and his son, William “Buff” Bradley, who trained the champion, along with their partners, Carl Hurst and Brent Burns. Groupie Doll was foaled at the Bradleys’ farm in Frankfort, Ky.
“This is the best possible ending, for Mandy to get her, so we’re very happy about that,” Buff Bradley said. “We were thinking that she was going to be between $2.5 (million) and $3 (million), so (she was) right where we thought. I didn’t have to put a reserve on her, honestly, because we knew she was going to go above what we had originally thought.”
“I think for the good mares (the market) was really strong. It’s unbelievable,” said Greg Goodman, whose Mt. Brilliant Farm paid $2.6 million, the day’s second-highest price, for Grade 1 winner Star Billing, in foal to Giant’s Causeway. “It’s really great that they’re selling so well.”
The session’s leading consignor, Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, agent, consigned Star Billing, a 5-year-old daughter of Dynaformer.
“(The amount) is a little more than what we thought (she’d bring), but she was our favorite mare in this book,” Goodman said. “We held off on some yesterday that we were bidding on because we wanted this one. Of every mare in Book 1 this is the one we wanted. We think we did all right.”
Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings purchased Grade 1 winner Ask the Moon, in foal to War Front, for $1.8 million. Gainesway, agent, consigned the 8-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon who is carrying her first foal.
“Pretty mare,” said agent John Moynihan, who signed the ticket for Stonestreet. “(She’s a) Grade 1 winner in foal to a nice stallion, so we’ll take our shot. It was expensive.”
Louise and Kiki Courtelis’ Town & Country Farms paid $1.75 million for Grade 3 winner Upperline, also in foal to War Front. Stone Farm, agent, consigned the 6-year-old daughter of Maria’s Mon.
“She’s a beautiful mare. We wanted one in foal to War Front, and she’s a great racemare,” said Town & Country’s adviser, Shannon Potter. “The mother (Snowflake [IRE]) produced Snow Fall, who sold for a lot yesterday ($735,000), so that’s what drew us to her. The market is really strong but we figured that (high price for Upperline) was going to happen. … We can’t wait to get her home and then try to sell that baby.”
Audley Farm of Virginia paid $1.5 million for Grade 2 winner Arena Elvira, in foal to Tapit for her first foal. Belvedere Farm Inc, agent, consigned the 6-year-old Ghostzapper mare.
“She is one of the most beautiful mares in the sale,” said Dr. Jens von Lepel, president of the farm. “The moment we saw her, we loved her. We came back three or four times every day. She has a wonderful attitude; she was a very good racemare. She’s in foal to a top, top sire carrying a filly, so you can go on with breeding. I think she fits our program. We thought she might go for a little bit less, but in this market, for the quality, you have to pay.”
Millionaire and Grade 1 winner Daisy Devine, offered as a racing or broodmare prospect, brought $1.3 million from the Niarchos family’s Flaxman Holdings. Eaton Sales, agent, consigned the 5-year-old Kafwain mare, who was third in Keeneland’s First Lady (G1) on Oct. 5 in her most recent race.
“She’s a lovely filly, a beautiful filly, so hopefully she’ll be a very good broodmare,” said Alan Cooper, racing manager for the Niarchos family. Cooper said Daisy Devine would be retired and join the Niarchos mares in Kentucky. He said interest in Daisy Devine came in part because “We know the trainer, Andrew McKeever, very well because we have horses in training with him.”
Two other horses brought $1 million or more during the session. Shadai Farm of Japan paid $1.3 million for Zealous Cat, a daughter of Storm Cat in foal to Tapit carrying a full sibling to Grade 3 winner Tapicat. The 7-year-old mare was consigned by Hill ‘n’ Dale Agency, agent.
For an undisclosed client, Stephen Hillen paid $1.1 million for Grade 1 producer Zoftig, in foal to Hard Spun. Warrendale Sales, agent for Live Oak Stud, consigned the 16-year-old Cozzene mare, who was carrying a full sibling to Grade 1 winner Zo Impressive. Zoftig is the dam of Grade 1 winner Zaftig.
The session’s highest-priced weanling was a War Front colt sold for $750,000 to Coolmore’s Aisling Duignan. Consigned by Eaton Sales, agent, the colt is out of the Carson City mare City Sister, and is a half-brother to Grade 2 winner Dixie City.
Don Alberto Corp. was the session’s leading buyer with nine horses purchased for $4.13 million.
Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency sold 12 horses for $8,035,000 to lead all consignors.
The 10-day November Sale continues through Thursday, Nov. 14. Sessions begin daily at 10 a.m. ET. The entire sale is streamed live at Keeneland.com.