Champion Stellar Wind Commands $6 Million during Opening Session of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale
The big news at Keeneland was Champion Stellar Wind will be retired and bred to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah after selling for $6 million to Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier to top Tuesday’s opening session of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale, which saw brisk trade from both domestic and international buyers.
Tuesday was the first of two sessions in the sale’s premier Book 1 catalog, which features graded stakes-winning fillies, stakes-producing broodmares in foal to prominent sires and top-quality weanlings. Keeneland sold 96 horses for $42,304,000, down 15.65 percent from last year when 115 horses grossed $50,155,000. The average of $440,667 rose slightly from last year’s $436,130, and the median rose 15.38 percent to $300,000 from $260,000 in 2016.
Eight horses sold for more than $1 million each. The $6 million paid for Stellar Wind is the co-second-highest-price ever paid for a broodmare prospect at Keeneland, equaling the amount paid for champion Take Charge Brandi at the 2015 November Sale.
“The opening session went extremely well,” Keeneland Director of Sales Operations Geoffrey Russell said. “The top price obviously with Stellar Wind was well deserved – a champion mare, great performance on the race track, deserved to be the top lot here today.
“It was great to see a good variation of buyers at the top, both domestic and international and strong Japanese participation,” he continued. “Weanlings also sold very well, both to end users and to pinhookers. The weanling market is strong. Like everything else, if they jump through the hoops, they bring a premium price. The weanling to yearling pinhookers did very well last year, so they’re back here in force again. And end users have decided that this is a good place to buy horses, so there’s added competition from those two forces.
“Mixed sales are always difficult to compare year to year because at yearling sales you are selling the product; here you are selling the factory and you don’t sell the factory every year,” Russell said. “It is all based on the mares we get every year. Book 1 is a little lighter in numbers this year, but our average and median are very good. As we go forward, I feel the sale will gain momentum through the market forces of a good, strong September Yearling Sale. We see people reinvesting back into the market. It was a strong international buying bench.”
Stellar Wind, the champion 3-year-old filly of 2015, is a 5-year-old daughter of Curlin and the Malibu Moon mare Evening Star who earned $2,213,200 with 10 wins in 16 starts. She was the centerpiece of a crowded Keeneland Sales Pavilion, where onlookers included her trainer, John Sadler.
“She checked all the boxes for somebody who wants to breed a really top horse,” Sadler said. “She’s a lovely mare and she’s been great. To see her go is going to be sad, but she’s going on to her next career, so we’re happy that she’s got the world’s best connections. It’s very exciting. We had her for three years and we loved her and she was so great for us, gave us a lot of great thrills winning a lot of Grade 1s. We’re going to miss her a lot, but we’re happy to see her get such a good result and see her go to such nice people, so that’s really exciting.”
Stellar Wind was consigned by Lane’s End, agent. Lane’s End Director of Sales Allaire Ryan said the mare thrilled everyone who saw her.
“Just spending the last 48 hours with her here, she exuded class and there is no doubt in my mind that is one of the factors that carried her through such a successful career,” Ryan said. “She was a true joy to be around for all of us.
“Day in and day out this is our job, but above all everyone here at Keeneland is a racing fan. It is one of those ‘pinch me’ moments when you get to be around a mare like her. She is just that special for me and all of our staff. Everyone took great pride in presenting her.
“The price is where we thought she would be,” Ryan added. “She sold well in a really strong market.”
With the purchase of Stellar Wind, Magnier was the session’s leading buyer.
Bridlewood Farm and Don Alberto paid $2.3 million for Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Cathryn Sophia, carrying her first foal by Pioneerof the Nile. The 4-year-old daughter of Street Boss out of the Mineshaft mare Sheave won the Kentucky Oaks in 2016 after running third in Keeneland’s Central Bank Ashland (G1). She captured six races in nine starts and earned $1,229,720.
“A young (Kentucky) Oaks winner in foal to a nice horse on an early cover – what’s not to like?” said George Isaacs, Bridlewood’s general manager. “We partnered with Don Alberto. We’re very friendly with them, we’re like-minded, we want to both breed nice horses, race nice horses, sell nice horses – like-minded partners, no-brainer business. It’s a strong market, and obviously if you’re going to play on the upper end of the commercial market, you’re going to have to pay to get the quality that you’re looking for.”
“It was a great result,” said Conor Doyle, partner with Neal Clarke in Bedouin Bloodstock, which consigned Cathryn Sophia. “She’s a lovely filly, great race mare. It’s been a real pleasure to have her around for the last year. She (was) just so stunning on the race track, and she was really popular here.”
Bedouin Bloodstock sold three of the day’s top-priced horses. In addition to Cathryn Sophia, Bedouin consigned Grade 1 winner Her Emmynency, sold for $1.5 million, and the session’s highest-priced weanling, a filly by Tapit who brought a final bid of $775,000.
Bridlewood also paid $1.5 million for Grade 1 winner Street Fancy sold in foal to Medaglia d’Oro. Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent, consigned the 4-year-old daughter of Street Sense and the Cat Thief mare Bold Angel.
Taylor Made was the session’s leading consignor, selling 30 horses for $11,899,000.
Jon Clay’s Alpha Delta Stables went to $1.9 million for stakes winner Oscar Party, in foal to leading sire Tapit. Consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent, the 7-year-old daughter of Dixie Union out of Dream Lady, by Old Trieste, is a half-sister to multiple Grade 1 winner Room Service and Grade 3 winner Major Gain.
“It has been really hard to buy what you want because everyone seems to want what we want,” said Reynolds Bell, who signed the ticket for Oscar Party. “We are looking for nice mares with families that have ability on the race track and are in foal (to good stallions.) She is in foal to Tapit and she had a nice Tapit (weanling) colt. It is hard to get those and we are happy we did. Mr. Clay has been trying to get a mare by Dixie Union.”
Dr. Masatake Iida paid $1.65 million for multiple Grade 3 winner Tammy the Torpedo, in foal to top sire War Front. Claiborne Farm, agent, consigned the 5-year-old daughter of More Than Ready and the War Chant mare Search and Seizure.
“We were expecting somewhere around $1 million, so it was even a little more than what we thought, but that’s great,” Claiborne manager Bradley Purcell said. “She’s a mare that’s from a family we’ve had at Claiborne for a long time. She really flourished after she got to the farm in the spring and made a beautiful mare, so we’re very proud.”
Interpreting for Iida, Nobu Araki of Polo Green Stable said Tammy the Torpedo will go to Japan to be bred to Deep Impact.
Her Emmynency, in foal to Pioneerof the Nile, sold to Shadai Farm of Japan for $1.5 million. The 5-year-old daughter of Successful Appeal, winner of Keeneland’s Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup (G1) in 2015, is out of the Joyeux Danseur mare Chic Dancer.
The November Sale got off to a fast start when Hip 1, Weekend Whim, sold for $1.4 million to Summer Wind Equine. The 11-year-old Distorted Humor mare is in foal to Medaglia d’Oro. The resulting foal will be a full sibling to Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) and Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) winner New Money Honey.
“She is a producer and my plan this year is to buy mares who have produced,” Summer Wind owner Jane Lyon said. “This looked like a pretty nice opportunity to start my new program. (The price) was a touch more than what I wanted but not more than I expected. Generally speaking, I sell my foals but I have started to keep a few fillies.”
Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent, consigned Weekend Whim, a full sister to Grade 1 winner Any Given Saturday and a half-sister to Grade 3 winner Bohemian Lady. She is out of the A.P. Indy mare Weekend In Indy.
“That (price was) right what we expected,” Taylor Made President and CEO Duncan Taylor said. “We were lucky we had a really good horse as number one. I think the people that bought her made a good buy; that was a solid value. They bought a mare that’s carrying a full (sibling) to a horse like New Money Honey. If they get the right kind of foal, they might get their money back in one foal.”
Taylor Made also consigned $1.25 million seller Life Well Lived. The dam of Grade 1 winner American Patriot sold to James Delahooke, agent for Bobby Flay. In foal to American Pharoah, the 10-year-old mare is a full sister to Dubai World Cup (G1) winner Well Armed. Life Well Lived is by Tiznow out of the Notebook mare Well Dressed.
The session’s top-priced weanling, a daughter of Tapit out of Grade 1 winner My Conquestadory, sold for $775,000 to Baccari Bloodstock.
“We are very pleased with the price,” Bedouin Bloodstock’s Neal Clarke said. “She is a beautiful filly. She is a young filly, a late foal, so we were a little worried bringing her in here but she showed beautifully and walked beautifully. She is correct and classy.
“A good horse is a good horse regardless of birthdate,” he added. “What is nicer than being born in May? The sun is out and the grass is green. In January, there is ice, it is cold and it is very inhospitable. I am all about May babies.”
“Very, very nice filly, huge pedigree,” Chris Baccari of Baccari Bloodstock said. “She looked like the kind of filly that could develop into anything – really strong, and with her mother having the race record that she did, and being by Tapit. I just try to surround myself with the best horses I can possibly get, so she happened to be one that we landed on today. I thought she’d be anywhere from $700,000 to $1 million. I’ll offer her again for resale, and if not we’ll race her.”
The November Sale continues through Saturday, Nov. 18. Wednesday’s session begins at 11 a.m. ET. The entire sale is streamed live at Keeneland.com.
For Royalty Sells for $2.1 Million to Top Strong Wednesday at Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale
For Royalty, dam of Grade 1 winner Constellation in foal to Bernardini, sold to Summer Wind Equine for $2.1 million to lead today’s second session of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale, which saw increases in average and median prices and the sale of eight broodmares and broodmare prospects and one weanling for $1 million or more each.
On Wednesday, Keeneland sold 105 horses for $41,692,000, down 20.98 percent from the second session in 2016 when 138 horses brought $52,764,000. The average of $397,067 rose 3.85 percent versus last year’s $382,348. The median of $285,000 was up 9.62 percent when compared with $260,000 in 2016.
Through the first two days of the sale, which make up the premier Book 1 portion of the auction, Keeneland sold a total of 201 horses for $83,996,000, down 18.39 percent from the first two sessions last year when 253 horses brought $102,919,000. The cumulative average of $417,891 rose 2.73 percent from $406,794 in 2016. Median price increased 15.38 percent from $260,000 to $300,000.
“Today was very solid again,” Keeneland Director of Sales Operations Geoffrey Russell said. “Book 1 this year had one less million-dollar horse (17 this year versus 18 in 2016) with 20 percent fewer horses in the catalog compared to Book 1 last year, so the numbers at the top end were very good.
“We want Book 1 to start off strong with the top-end horses selling well. Having a $6 million horse this year (champion Stellar Wind, who sold Tuesday) compared to $3.8 million last year definitely shows buyers are spending money. Having nine million-dollar horses today shows the market is very healthy.
“The barn area has been very busy with buyers looking at Book 2 horses already,” Russell said. “Comments are very positive and lots of people have said they haven’t bought yet. You try to establish what the market is the first two days to see what’s going to happen through the rest of the sale.”
Denali Stud, agent, consigned the session-topping For Royalty, a 10-year-old daughter of Not For Love out of the stakes-winning Irish Open mare Taft Lil Queen. A stakes winner herself, For Royalty is a half-sister to Grade 2 winner Kiss to Remember and stakes winner El Viento.
“She fits my program – actually she was probably our top pick here,” Summer Wind owner Jane Lyon said. “We’re so excited to have her, and to have three now (joining Tuesday’s $1.4 million purchase, Weekend Whim, dam of Grade 1 winner New Money Honey, and Belle Watling, bought for $1.05 million on Wednesday) who are producers and pregnant, that’s it. Her pedigree and the fact that she’s a relatively young mare (with) multiple stakes horses – you don’t see that often, so we’re pretty excited.”
Belle Watling is the dam of Grade 2 winners War Story and Land Over Sea. The 12-year-old daughter of Pulpit out of the Housebuster mare Polly Adler was consigned by Brookdale Sales, agent for Jack Swain.
“The fact that she has two graded stakes winners doesn’t hurt her a bit,” Lyon said. “She is beautiful and a very sweet mare. I am buying (outstanding) producers and I am very excited to have another producer in my broodmare band.”
“Such a pretty mare, real pleasant outlook to her, easy to be around – she had it all; she’s one of those types,” Brookdale’s Freddy Seitz said. “We didn’t think she was going to do that well, but we’re extremely happy for Jack Swain. He puts a lot of effort into his program, him and Larkin (Armstrong), his agent. They work real hard and they got rewarded this week for their efforts.”
Peter Brant’s White Birch Farm paid $2 million for Enchanted Rock, in foal to More Than Ready and carrying a full sibling to multiple Grade 1 winner, Irish highweight and stallion Verrazano. A 13-year-old daughter of Giant’s Causeway, Enchanted Rock is out of the Grade 1-winning Mr. Prospector mare Chic Shirine. She was consigned by Gainesway, agent.
“I was happy with the price,” breeder Emory A. Hamilton said. “I have three of her fillies and I have to sell some to make a little money. I usually keep all my fillies, but I had no colts to sell (at recent auctions). She has been good to me. She went to a good buyer so I am pleased.
“Peter Brant and I are old friends; we go way back. He will board her at Claiborne Farm and they are old friends, too. It is a good situation.”
Royal Obsession, a 4-year-old daughter of Tapit in foal to Curlin, sold for $1.8 million to Don Alberto Corporation. Consigned by Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, the graded stakes-placed Royal Obsession is out of the Tiznow mare Rote.
“We loved her. Physically she was beautiful, also Grade 2-placed,” Fabricio Buffolo of Don Alberto said. “It’s a great combination of Tapit and Tiznow. She has some features of Tapit with the size of Tiznow, which we love. (The market’s) very expensive, but it’s good. We’re looking at this sale for some different types of mares. (Royal Obsession) fits our criteria; she’s a lovely mare.”
Don Alberto also purchased Grade 1 winner Paola Queen, cataloged as a broodmare prospect, for $1.7 million. Consigned by ELiTE, she is a 4-year-old daughter of Flatter out of the stakes-winning Kafwain mare Kadira.
“She was a very good race mare,” Fernando Diaz-Valdes of Don Alberto said. “All the opinions from other people are that she’s very classy, she has a lot of talent. (She is) another addition to the good broodmare band that we have on the farm. We have stallions now, so more than likely she can go to Empire Maker, we will see. We will look into which stallion we will cross her with.”
“She is the (winner of the) Test, which arguably may be the best race to produce (mares that produce) graded stakes horses,” ELiTE’s Bradley Weisbord said. “When you add that to her physical, that is a collector’s item. Don Alberto made a great purchase. It is wonderful for both people.”
Don Alberto was the day’s leading buyer with these two purchases totaling $3.5 million.
Grade 3 winner Sky Girl, a half-sister to multiple Grade 1 winner Abel Tasman in foal to Union Rags, sold to Greg Goodman’s Mt. Brilliant Farm and Ranch for $1.5 million. Mill Ridge Sales, agent, consigned the 7-year-old daughter of Sky Mesa out of Vargas Girl, by Deputy Minister.
“I’m happy about it,” Goodman said. “There’re only about three or four mares that we (bid) on, and this was the one that we wanted, so we were really happy about getting her. (Buying has) been hard. We’ve been trying to stick to our prices and buy horses at the prices we wanted but couldn’t do that, and we had to go to more money to have them. We walked away from two or three and I didn’t want to walk away from this one, so I’m really happy about getting her.”
“The price exceeded our expectations,” Headley Bell of Mill Ridge said. “She is a beautiful mare from an active family. Mt. Brilliant tries to collect jewels and they collected one with her. It certainly helped that she is in foal to Union Rags. He is a popular stallion.”
Katsumi Yoshida paid $1.25 million for Lucky to Be Me, dam of champion and 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner Champagne Room in foal to Uncle Mo. The 10-year-old daughter of Bernstein is out of the Pulpit mare Belle Erzulie. She was consigned by Denali Stud, agent for Respite Farm.
“She’s obviously the dam of a Breeders’ Cup winner, and she looks really good,” Shunsuke Yoshida said. “We’ve been trying for a couple of days (to buy a horse) and finally we got one. I think we will probably take her home to Japan.”
Wapi (CHI), a champion in her native Chile in foal to Curlin, sold to Don Alberto Corporation and Three Chimneys for $1.05 million.
“It will be a partnership between Three Chimneys and Don Alberto,” Fabricio Buffolo of Don Alberto said. “Goncalo (Torrealba of Three Chimneys) approached Carlos (Heller of Don Alberto) to do the deal, and we were very happy to have a mare from Chile and especially with a partner like Goncalo. Goncalo had Gun Runner in the Breeders’ Cup (Classic-G1, which he won), and Carlos (in partnership with WinStar Farm) had (Las Vegas Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile-G1 winner) Battle of Midway, so we need to get together.”
Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, agent, consigned the 5-year-old mare by Scat Daddy.
Andre Lynch, agent, paid $1 million for the sale’s top-priced weanling, a son of Curlin who is a half-brother to Grade 1 winner and sire Violence. Hill ’n’ Dale Sales Agency, agent, consigned the weanling, who is out of the Gone West mare Violent Beauty.
“(I bought him for) a syndicate, to go racing,” Lynch said. “(He was) the best foal of the sale. Great mover, quality, had everything. Loved his pedigree; hopefully, he runs.”
“He is a half (brother) to Violence, who is off to a great start (as a stallion) and he is by Curlin, who is having a fantastic year,” John G. Sikura of Hill ‘n’ Dale said. “That is the kind of money those horses make. That is fair value; I thought he would make more.
“He is the kind of horse that with racing ability he will have a huge upside (as a stallion). It is a lot of money, but I think they got very good value. He is a magnificent horse.”
Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale, which sold three of the day’s top-priced horses, was the session’s leading consignor, selling 11 horses for $7,325,000.
The November Sale continues through Saturday, Nov. 18. Thursday’s session begins at 10 a.m. ET. The entire sale is streamed live at Keeneland.com.
Click here for a video recap of Book 1