The session’s top-priced horse was a daughter of leading European sire Dubawi sold to the Niarchos family’s Flaxman Stables Ireland Limited for $1.45 million. She was consigned by Lane’s End, agent.
Bred in England, the filly is out of Vodafone Epsom Oaks (G1) winner Casual Look, by Red Ransom. A half-sister to stakes-placed Casual Trick, the filly is the lone yearling in the September Sale catalog sired by Irish-bred Dubawi, who stands in England.
“That was a big number,” said Charlie Vaughan-Fowler, who signed the ticket on behalf of Flaxman Stables. “But she’s by Dubawi and there aren’t a lot of them on the market, and she’s out of an Oaks winner, so we’re very pleased to get her. She’s an absolutely beautiful filly who handled the sale very well.”
Vaughan-Fowler said the filly would return to Europe.
“Dubawi is obviously a phenomenal international sire, so we thought (she) would sell really well,” said Bill Farish of Lane’s End. “We thought she was different than anything in the sale.”
“The sprinkling of international pedigrees is one of the elements that make the September Sale so much fun,” Keeneland Director of Sales Geoffrey Russell said. “They spark the interest of international buyers.”
The session’s second-highest priced horse was a Tiznow filly purchased for $1.1 million by the Bergler family’s Stonereath Farm of Paris, Ky.
The filly is out of the stakes-placed Storm Cat mare Countess Lemonade, a half-sister to European champion Duke of Marmalade (IRE) and European highweight Ruler of the World.
“We bought (her) to race here in the United States,” said Stonereath manager Peter Berglar, whose family purchased the farm in 2011. “I liked the presence of her a lot and, of course, the (catalog) page; there is a lot of pedigree. It’s fantastic. We are looking forward to racing her.”
“We knew she was very popular,” said Stone Farm’s Arthur Hancock, who consigned the filly on behalf of her breeder, celebrity chef Bobby Flay. “A lot of people liked her. She’s a big strong filly and she’ll make a good broodmare in the future. She has an impeccable pedigree, wonderful disposition, all of that. When you’re gonna buy the whole diamond, you gotta pay some money for it.”
Through the first three sessions of Book 1, a total of 345 yearlings have been sold for $100,568,000, down 9.81 percent versus last year’s gross of $111,511,000 when 404 horses sold. The cumulative average of $291,501 increased 5.61 percent over last year’s average of $276,017. The median rose 25 percent, from $200,000 to $250,000.
On Wednesday, 104 yearlings sold for $29,615,000, down 29.30 percent from last year when 135 horses brought $41,890,000. The average of $284,760 dipped 8.23 percent from $310,296 in 2013, while the median of $200,000 was down 16.67 percent from $240,000.
“Yearlings in Book 1 are cataloged alphabetically by dam, so you never know where (the top prices) are going to fall,” Russell said. “Last year, the third session was the strongest session, the one where we had the most million-dollar yearlings. It spreads out over the four days and the peaks and valleys meet together.”
Russell noted the exceptional performance of the upper-middle market, with 81 yearlings bringing $400,000 or more this year versus 69 during the comparable period last year.
“There is great strength in that level,” he said. “A million dollars is a lot of money no matter who you are, and the fact that we have sold seven million-dollar horses is very positive. The growth in the number of horses selling for $400,000 or more tells you that the market is rising. That creates momentum as we move forward.”
The day’s top-priced colt was a son of Bernardini who is a half-brother to Grade 1 winner R Heat Lightning, sold for $925,000 to Teruo Ono of Japan.
Baccari Bloodstock, agent, consigned the colt, who is out of the winning Gold Fever mare
Yellow Heat. The colt is from the family of multiple Grade 1 winners General Assembly and Versailles Treaty.
At Keeneland’s 2013 November Breeding Stock Sale, Baccari purchased the colt as a weanling for $300,000 from Lane’s End, agent for the Complete Dispersal of E. Paul Robsham Stables LLC.
“I felt like when we bought him as a foal he was the kind of horse that he could become a really good stallion with that kind of pedigree,” said Chris Baccari. “It’s hard to find that type of pedigree with that kind of racy look.”
Lane’s End Farm was the session’s leading consignor, selling nine yearlings for $3.38 million.
With its lone purchase, Flaxman Stables Ireland Limited was the day’s leading buyer.
Thursday is the final session of the premier Book 1 portion of the September Sale. The auction continues through Sunday, Sept. 21. The entire sale is streamed live at Keeneland.com.