14 horses sell for more than $1 million each during vibrant day of trade
Champion Take Charge Brandi, in foal to 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify, sold for $3.2 million to Hill ‘n’ Dale at Xalapa to top Wednesday’s opening day of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale. Strong commerce and the sale of 14 horses for more than $1 million each spurred a 14.40 percent increase in gross sales for the session, which totaled $70.4 million.
The 14 horses sold for seven figures was the highest since 2011 and surpassed last year’s total of eight million-dollar sellers. This year, three broodmares commanded final bids of $2 million or more: Take Charge Brandi; Grade 1 winner Eskimo Kisses, in foal to Curlin, sold for $2.3 million; and Grade 1 winner Callback, in foal Medaglia d’Oro, sold for $2 million.
Gross sales for Wednesday’s premier Book 1 session grossed $70,449,500, up 14.40 percent from last year’s opening day gross of $61,583,500. Today, 163 horses sold compared to 134 during the first session in 2018. Average price was $432,206 versus $459,578 last year. Median price was $300,000 compared to $350,000 in 2018.
“A number of positive factors contributed to the significant rise in gross sales today: broad trading, quality offerings, a strong weanling market and our supplemental entries, which produced more than $3 million at the end of the session,” Keeneland Director of Racing and Sales Bob Elliston said. “We are proud that John Sikura and Craig Bernick chose Keeneland for their unique Elevage dispersal; their horses sold very well here today. We also appreciate the tremendous support from our Japanese buyers and Jane Lyon of Summer Wind.”
Session-topping Take Charge Brandi, a 7-year-old daughter of Giant’s Causeway, was consigned by Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, agent for Elevage Dispersal. Elevage is a partnership that includes Glen Hill Farm’s Craig Bernick of Florida and John G. Sikura of Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm near Lexington. The Elevage Dispersal produced sales of $11.7 million for 13 horses.
Hill ‘n’ Dale at Xalapa led the session’s buyers by purchasing four horses – all from the Elevage Dispersal – for a total of $4.8 million. It also spent $600,000 for Take Charge Brandi’s weanling colt by Tapit; $600,000 for Cassat, a daughter of Tapit in foal to Good Magic; and $400,000 for a weanling colt by Medaglia d’Oro out of Callback, by Street Sense.
Take Charge Brandi, a half-sister to 2019 Grade 1 winner Omaha Beach, is from the family of champion Will Take Charge and Grade 1 winner Take Charge Indy. Her second dam is Kentucky Broodmare of the Year Take Charge Lady.
“It’s an impeccable female family. You get almost no opportunity to get into this family,” Sikura said after Take Charge Brandi sold. “I have a long-term view; the commercial aspect is part of what I do, but I have to cultivate it and develop female families and create things of significance. When I get that opportunity, I’m less concerned about what they bring and more concerned about having access and being able to buy a mare that we hope can be important and create change long term.
“We’re commercial sellers, so hopefully he’ll be a good yearling to sell next year or maybe be a partnership horse,” Sikura said about Take Charge Brandi’s weanling. “I just really like the horse. He’s very correct and a great mover, and he’s a long pretty horse. Tapit is a great sire. It’s a good way to kind of control the process when you buy the dam to have the foal next to her and be able to race him and control as many things as you can.”
Grade 1 winner Eskimo Kisses, carrying her first foal by Curlin, sold for $2.3 million to Shadai Farm of Japan. Gainesway, agent, consigned Eskimo Kisses, a 4-year-old daughter of To Honor and Serve. Her second dam is champion and Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Winning Colors.
“I liked this one. (Curlin) is a big sire in Japan,” said Tetsuya Yoshida, who signed the ticket. “She was my top pick of the sale. She will come back to Japan. I’m so excited.”
“That is what the market says she is worth,” said Michael Hernon, Director of Sales for Gainesway and co-owner of Eskimo Kisses. “I am a little bit sad that she sold, but it was a partnership dispersal. She is a wonderful young mare. Maybe we will take a trip to Japan to see her.
“She is pretty special. (Late Gainesway owner) Graham Beck bought Winning Colors, and this is the result of that bloodline. We still have Eskimo Kisses’s dam, Silver Colors.”
Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, agent for Elevage Dispersal, sold Callback, in foal to Medaglia d’Oro, for $2 million to Katsumi Yoshida of Japan’s Northern Farm. The 7-year-old daughter of Street Sense is from the family of Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Super Saver, Grade 1 winner Girolamo, Grade 2 winner Daydreaming and Grade 3 winners Accelerator, Cyrus Alexander and Brethren. She is a half-sister to stakes winner Defy Gravity.
“She’s from a very good family,” buyer Shunsuke Yoshida said. “(Covering sire) Medaglia d’Oro is more popular here (compared to Japan), so we need to think about (where she will go) – if she will stay here. I’ll talk to my father tonight and we’ll decide. We are going to keep some broodmares in Europe as well now, so after the sale is finished we’ll decide which mares are going where. There are many good sires in the United States and Europe, so there are plenty of options.”
Jane Lyon’s Summer Wind Equine paid $1.85 million for Lil Indy, dam of multiple Grade 1-winning 3-year-old Maximum Security in foal to Quality Road. Winner of the Bold Ruler (G3) on Oct. 26, Maximum Security took the Xpressbet Florida Derby (G1) and TVG.com Haskell Invitational (G1) earlier this season.
“I made the deal of the century,” Lyon said about her purchase. “She’s a lovely mare. She obviously produced a superb 3-year-old, and hopefully she can do it some more. Every one of my advisers was very excited about this mare, and they put her at the top of my list.”
Lane’s End, agent, consigned Lil Indy, a 12-year-old daughter of Anasheed.
“We thought she would fall somewhere between $1 and $2 million, and she was on the higher side of that, which is great,” said Bill Farish of Lane’s End.
Summer Wind also paid $1.5 million for the Ghostzapper mare Gloryzapper, in foal to Tapit, who was supplemented to the November Sale. The 7-year-old mare was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent for Aaron and Marie Jones.
Taylor Made Sales Agency was the session’s leading consignor with sales of $14,245,000 for 37 horses. They included four seven-figure horses. Joining Gloryzapper were Sailor’s Valentine ($1.25 million), Bernina Star ($1.2 million) and Purely Hot ($1.2 million).
Also consigned by Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, agent for Elevage Dispersal was Mei Ling, a daughter of Empire Maker in foal to Medaglia d’Oro, purchased for $1.5 million by Claiborne Farm, agent.
Bernie Sams, Claiborne’s Stallion Season and Bloodstock Manager, signed the ticket for Mei Ling. He called the mare a “young pretty mare, and you don’t get many chances to buy one like that.”
“She goes back to a sensational pedigree that is good everywhere in the world,” Bernick of Elevage said about Mei Ling. “I bid really hard on the mare (to buy out the Elevage partnership). I wasn’t able to get her, but we got the filly (Hip 23, a weanling daughter by Tapit-Mei Ling for $350,000). We have a (yearling) War Front filly out of the mare and now the Tapit as well. They’re great people (Claiborne) who bought the mare. I’m glad that she goes to such a good home.”
Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Stables paid $1.3 million for graded stakes winner Talk Veuve to Me, a 4-year-old daughter of Violence who has earned $506,967. Consigned by WinStar Racing, agent, she was cataloged as a racing or broodmare prospect. Banke said the filly could race again with a future breeding to Curlin.
“She’s staying here at one of the best places you can be,” Rodolphe Brisset, her Keeneland-based trainer and co-owner, said. “She was amazing for us.”
Three mares sold for $1.25 million each.
Lane’s End, agent, consigned the first, Grade 1 winner Nereid, dam of stakes winner Figarella’s Queen, in foal to Quality Road, She sold to Hunter Valley Farm.
“The mare is for a group we put together,” Hunter Valley Manager Fergus Galvin said. “We have Figarella’s Queen as well. (Nereid has) got plenty going for her in the family with sales records, and she’s in foal to the right stallion. She’s such a good-looking mare and throws such good-looking stock. You have to reach a little bit more for those kinds of mares.”
Grade 1 winner Sailor’s Valentine, carrying her first foal by War Front, sold for $1.25 million to Pursuit of Success, James Delahooke, agent. Consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent, the 5-year-old daughter of Mizzen Mast won Keeneland’s Central Bank Ashland (G1).
“I thought she was the nicest mare in the sale today,” Delahooke said. “I am very happy to have her and that was my last bid. She is drop-dead gorgeous – the most beautiful individual. She’s a Grade 1 winner in foal to a top sire. What’s not to like? I know that it is cliché, but she ticked all the boxes.”
L T S, agent for Erdenheim Farm Thoroughbreds of Pennsylvania, went to $1.25 million to acquire Conquest (IRE), a daughter of Galileo (IRE) carrying her first foal by Justify. Denali Stud, agent, consigned the 4-year-old daughter of multiple Group 1 winner Lillie Langtry (IRE), who is a half-sister to European highweight Minding and Group 3 winner Kissed by Angels (IRE).
“Beautiful family. Galileo mares, as we all know, are very, very good,” said bloodstock agent James Wigan on behalf of Erdenheim. “It’s a wonderful cross, and she’s in foal to a good stallion and from one of the strongest pedigrees in the book. Very happy to get her. We were sort of stretching ourselves but very happy to have her. I thought the market is very strong for the good animals.”
Don Alberto Corporation paid $1.2 million for Bernina Star, who is carrying her first foal by Curlin. Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent, consigned the 5-year-old daughter of Harlan’s Holiday, who is a half-sister to Grade 3 winner National Flag and from the family of Grade 1 winner Eddington.
“She is a great physical with a good race record,” Fabricio Buffolo, Executive Director for Don Alberto Corporation, said. “Of course, being in foal to Curlin is a big plus. She was one of our favorite mares in the sale. The price was just a tick more than we expected.”
Also bringing $1.2 million was another November Sale supplement, Purely Hot, dam of 2019 Grade 1-winning 2-year-old Eight Rings. Hugo Merry Bloodstock purchased the 11-year-old daughter of Pure Prize in foal to Union Rags from the consignment of Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent.
China Horse Club acquired Hourglass (IRE), a 4-year-old daughter of Galileo carrying her first foal by Justify, for $1.1 million. Consigned by Paramount Sales, agent, Hourglass is a half-sister to European champion Sharmdal and from the family of Street Cry (IRE).
Peter Brant’s White Birch Farm paid $1.05 million for Rymska (FR), a 5-year-old daughter of Le Havre consigned by ELiTE, agent, and cataloged as a racing or broodmare prospect. Chad Brown has trained Rymska to multiple graded stakes wins and a runner-up finish in the 2019 Gamely (G1). She has earned $808,139.
The session’s top-priced weanling is a colt by Curlin out of Grade 3-placed winner Banree, by Macho Uno, who sold for $750,000 to Larry Best’s OXO Equine. Eaton Sales, agent, consigned the colt, who is from the family of the aforementioned Gloryzapper.
“It’s a Curlin, No.1. He has a great pedigree,” Best said. “When you get a quality sire and the dam side looks good and the physical looks good, I think the elevated yearling market is driving some people to buy here at higher prices.”
The November Sale continues through Sunday, Nov. 17, with all sessions beginning at 10 a.m. ET. Thursday marks the start of the two-day Book 2.
The entire sale is streamed live on Keeneland.com.