‘For Royalty’ tops Wednesday’s sale at Keeneland

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – For Royalty, dam of Grade 1 winner Constellation in foal to Bernardini, sold to Summer Wind Equine for $2.1 million to lead Wednesday’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.

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