'War Front' Colt Sells For $2.5 Million At Keeneland

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Reported by: Tom Kenny
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Updated: 9/12/2013 9:37 pm

Powered by the sale of 18 horses for $1 million or more, the first four days of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, which comprise the premier Book 1 catalog, came to a close on Thursday with gross sales reaching $153,385,000 for 546 horses sold. 

Five seven figure yearlings were sold on Thursday, topped by a 'War Front' colt which sold for $2.5 million to become the highest-priced purchase of the sale to date.

The 18 seven-figure yearlings represent the most sold since the 2008 September Sale, when 18 yearlings were sold for $1 million or more.

“It was certainly a successful week in terms of top horses, average, gross, and buy-back percentage,” Keeneland’s Vice President of Sales Walt Robertson said.

On Thursday, 142 yearlings sold for $41,874,000, for an average of $294,887 and a median of $210,000. The average for the first four days is $280,925, and the median is $207,500.

Keeneland reformatted the September Sale this year, expanding Book 1 to comprise the first four sessions of the sale. As a result, there are no comparable session figures for 2012.

“This is the cream of North America’s yearling crop,” Keeneland’s Director of Sales Geoffrey Russell said about the Book 1 horses. “Our goal was to get as many buyers on the grounds as we could to sort through them. We accomplished that and saw top-quality horses every day, a lot of spirited bidding, and a wide range of buyers staying from Monday through Thursday.”

M.V. Magnier, of Coolmore Stud, purchased the $2.5 million War Front colt who is out of the stakes-placed During mare Blading Gold Ring. The colt was consigned by Peter O’Callaghan’s Woods Edge Farm. O’Callaghan bought the colt as a weanling for $180,000 at the 2012 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale.

“Very nice horse,” said Magnier, whose lone purchase made him the session’s leading buyer. “He was a good mover with nice legs. We’ve been lucky with War Front. This is a good-looking horse for us.”

Sold for $1.7 million, the session’s top-priced filly was the daughter of Tiznow who is a half-sister to Horse of the Year Havre de Grace. Solis Bloodstock purchased the filly for an undisclosed client. Mill Ridge Sales, agent, consigned the filly, who is out of the Carson City mare Easter Bunnette.

“She’s a half to Havre de Grace to begin with; she’s an excellent physical,” said Alex Solis II, president of Solis Bloodstock. “She’s a beautiful filly. We saw her on the first day of showing, and she’s been here for five days showing and never weakened one bit. She has a great action, and she walks unbelievable. (She) goes back to a huge (producing) family.”

Bringing $1.2 million was the Tapit colt out of the Cryptoclearance mare Ava Knowsthecode, who produced recent Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap (G1) winner Justin Phillip as well as graded stakes winners Keyed Entry and Successful Mission. Michael Hernon, Director of Sales at Gainesway, where Tapit stands, signed the ticket on behalf of Gainesway, which purchased the colt in partnership with Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Stables.

“Well, obviously, Tapit being such an incredibly wonderful stallion, one always tries to get some good progeny of his to run,” Gainesway owner Antony Beck said about the yearling, who was consigned by Valkyre Stud, agent for Oakbrook Farm. “And (Ava Knowsthecode is) an incredible mare with an unbelievable produce record.”

Woods Edge also consigned the Tapit filly out of the Tabasco Cat mare Evrobi who brought $1 million. A half-sister to Grade 1 winner Tell a Kelly, she was purchased by Shadwell Estate Company, Ltd.

“It seems to me there are no limitations to this kind of horse,” O’Callaghan said. “Whether it be Tapit, War Front or Medaglia (d’Oro) -- those kind of sires with the pedigree -- there are no limitations. We put her in there at not even a third of ($1 million) as a reserve. Thank God for Shadwell; they’ve really made a great day for us. They were the underbidder (on the $2.5 million) War Front (colt).”

David Ingordo, agent, spent $1 million for Gold Shield, a colt by Medaglia d’Oro out of multiple Grade 1 winner Dream Supreme, by Seeking the Gold. Consigned by Lane’s End, agent for Kinsman Farm, the colt is a half-brother to Grade 1 winner Majestic Warrior and stakes winners Evolutionist and Crystal Current.

The session’s leading consignor was Taylor Made Sales Agency, who sold 21 horses for $6,435,000. Through the first four sessions, Taylor Made is the overall leading consignor with $18,390,000 from the sale of 68 horses.

Shadwell is the leading buyer to date with 25 yearlings acquired for $11.3 million.

No sale will be held on Friday, Sept. 13. The sale will resume on Saturday and continue through Saturday, Sept. 21, with all sessions beginning at 10 a.m. The entire sale is streamed live at www.keeneland.com.

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