Champion and five-time Grade 1 winner Lady Eli and Grade 2 winner My Miss Sophia, both in foal to leading sire War Front, were among eight horses to bring $1 million or more during a robust day of trade to open Keeneland’s 2018 November Breeding Stock Sale.
Monday’s session featured an exclusive Book 1 with graded stakes-winning fillies and mares and exceptional weanlings cataloged. Keeneland sold 120 horses for $56,429,000 for an average of $470,242 and a median of $350,000. There are no comparable figures from Book 1 of the 2017 November Sale, which covered the auction’s first two sessions.
“It was a day of good, solid trade,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing and Sales Bob Elliston said. “We modified the format of Book 1 from last year and sold 25 more horses today than we did last year when we had a two-day Book 1. The weanling market was very strong, so we are pleased with how the sale is getting started. There is continued strength in the domestic market for high-quality offerings. The Yoshida family from Japan participated in a big way and we appreciate much how they support us.”
Katsumi Yoshida was the day’s leading buyer, purchasing four horses for $4,475,000. His brother Teruya, in the name of his Shadai Farm, was the session’s fifth-leading buyer, spending $2 million for two horses.
“Across the board there was real strength that will provide momentum for the sale moving forward,” Elliston said. “There is tremendous quality in Book 2 and Book 3 with exceptional updates that have occurred in late summer and early fall. A lot of folks are looking to fill their orders, so there is going to be strong demand for quality offerings.”
John Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale both consigned and purchased Lady Eli, a 6-year-old daughter of Divine Park regarded as one of the all-time leading turf distaffers in North America. Lady Eli has resided at Hill ‘n’ Dale since her last start, the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1) at Del Mar for owner Sheep Pond Partners.
“We’re thrilled to add her to our broodmare band,” Sikura said. “We keep trying to add elite-quality mares and keep up the competition and look to the future. She is a mare that is really everything one could ask for. It’s a lot of money for a horse, but she was an extremely good value.
“She’s indomitable,” Sikura added. “She knows she’s special and commands your respect. We want to keep accumulating elite mares so we can sell elite commercial yearlings. This is a good place to start when you buy champions.”
Hill ‘n’ Dale ranked as the day’s leading consignor, selling 10 horses for $8,980,000, including three of the day’s top-priced horses.
Among those watching Lady Eli sell was trainer Chad Brown, for whom she recovered from a bout of laminitis during her career to continue racing at the highest levels, compiling a record of 10 wins and three seconds in 14 starts for earnings of $2,959,800.
“I was so pleased when I went to see her this morning and to see how magnificent they have her looking, to see the care and affection the staff has for her,” Brown said. “For her to go back to the farm that has been taking care of her this way is a huge relief for me personally. A bonus is that I can come see her when I am in Kentucky, and I come to Kentucky a lot.
“I can see she has mellowed out,” Brown continued. “It puts me at rest and it is a conclusion to a great story. I will be looking for her offspring. That is another bonus that a commercial breeder bought her and I will be able to buy her offspring.”
Steven W. Young, agent, paid $4 million for Grade 2 winner My Miss Sophia from the consignment of Lane’s End, agent. By Unbridled’s Song, the 7-year-old daughter of Unbridled’s Song is a half-sister to Florida Derby (G1) Materiality.
“She is a great mare,” Young said. “I was around her for most of her career. She was good for (trainer) Todd (Pletcher); she was good for (trainer) Bill Mott. We thought she was the best horse selling in November. She wasn’t cheap, but that’s about what I thought she’d bring.”
Katsumi Yoshida spent $2.2 million for Tiffany’s Honour, a 7-year-old mare out of 2007 Kentucky Broodmare of the Year Better Than Honour and a half-sister to champion and Belmont (G1) winner Rags to Riches and Belmont winner Jazil. Consigned by Lane’s End, agent, she was sold in foal to Medaglia d’Oro.
“It has been a great day for us,” said Allaire Ryan, Sales Director for Lane’s End. “There is plenty of depth for the mares at the top. We are glad we are being rewarded. This mare is particularly attractive because she is young and has a deep female family. She has a fantastic Tapit colt back at the farm, and her War Front colt sold for $1.1 million here in September.”
Key To My Heart (IRE), a 4-year-old daughter of Galileo (IRE) in foal to War Front, sold to Summer Wind Equine for $1.75 million. Eaton Sales, agent, consigned the mare, whose dam is the Grade 1-winning Bernardini mare A Z Warrior, a half-sister to Grade 2 winner Jojo Warrior, Grade 3 winner E Z Warrior and stakes winner J Z Warrior.
“I’m expanding a little bit into some European bloodlines,” Summer Wind’s Jane Lyon said. “I was excited about the family and (her) being in foal to War Front for her first foal. We’re excited to have her. If (the foal she is carrying is) a girl, she might have to stay home (instead of being sold).”
Claiborne Farm, agent, paid $1.5 million for Stays in Vegas, a Grade 3-winning daughter of City Zip in foal to War Front. Out of Double Jackpot, by Broken Vow, the 5-year-old mare is from the family of champion Heavenly Prize. She was consigned by James B. Keogh (Grovendale), agent.
Teruya Yoshida’s Shadai Farm of Japan paid $1.25 million for Grade 1 winner Zipessa, in foal to Medaglia d’Oro. St. George Sales, agent, consigned the 6-year-old City Zip mare who is out of Precious Princess, by Horse Chestnut (SAF).
“The market is strong across the board,” said Archie St. George. “Very competitive in this book.”
Town & Country Horse Farms went to $1.125 million to acquire Group 3 winner Pretty Perfect (IRE), a 5-year-old daughter of Galileo in foal to War Front consigned by Eaton Sales, agent. Out of the winning Danehill mare Milanova, Pretty Perfect is from the family of French highweight and Group 1 winner Holy Roman Emperor.
“(Town & Country owner) Mrs. (Kiki) Courtelis really wanted a Galileo mare,” Town & Country President Shannon Potter said. “She really likes that bloodline of Danehill, and we need to get some more stamina in our broodmare band. Our goal for the November Sale was to try to add to the top in quality. (Pretty Perfect) was exactly what we were looking for. She could run. (She was a) graded stakes horse in foal to War Front and we love War Front. The fact she was in foal to him played into the price – we stretched.”
Galileo’s Song (IRE), a 5-year-old graded stakes-placed daughter of Galileo in foal to Curlin, sold to Japan’s Shimokobe Farm/Polo Green Stable, agent, for $1 million.
Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, agent, consigned Galileo’s Song, who is out of the Storm Cat mare Song to Remember and a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Magnificent Song.
“Galileo is very successful in Japan, so why not?,” Yukio Shimokobe said about the purchase. “(Covering sire) Curlin is a proven stallion so everything in the catalog is perfect on this horse. I saw her for the very first time this morning. We will bring her back to Japan and breed her to a good stallion like Deep Impact.”
Fillies by Tapit were the day’s top-priced weanlings.
Eaton Sales, agent, sold a Tapit weanling filly who is the first foal of champion La Verdad, by Yes It’s True, to Whisper Hill Farm and Three Chimneys Farm for $800,000. She was among the six horses supplemented to Book 1.
“She is very correct and a good average size,” Mandy Pope of Whisper Hill said. “I’ve watched La Verdad run in New York – against me sometimes – and I’ve always admired her. So very thankful to be able to get her (filly). We bought her to race.”
At $750,000, the session’s second high-selling weanling is a daughter of Tapit who is a half-sister to champion Arrogate, winner of the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) and 2017 Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) and Dubai World Cup (G1) who earned a North American record $17,422,600. Clearsky Farms, who bred the filly with Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings, purchased her from Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, agent, with Rac 04 Racing.
The filly is out of the stakes-winning Distorted Humor mare Bubbler.
“We are not sure (if we will keep her or resell her),” Clearsky’s Bernard Cleary said. “We’ll make that decision at a later time. I’m not that surprised (by the price we paid for her) because at the end of the day she’s a half-sister to one of the better horses we’ve seen in recent times and even as a broodmare she’s got some residual value. (Bubbler) gives her foals a lot of balance and they’ve got good minds as well. We’ve been really happy with pretty much everything she’s produced so far.”
Clearsky bred Arrogate, who sold to Juddmonte Farms for $560,000 at Keeneland’s 2014 September Yearling Sale.
The November Sale continues through Friday, Nov. 16, with all sessions beginning at 10 a.m. Tuesday marks the start of the two-day Book 2. The entire sale is streamed live at Keeneland.com.