Two Fillies Sell For More Than $1 Million On Opening Day Of Yearling Sale At Keeneland

Increases in average and median prices and the sale of two fillies for more than $1 million apiece marked a robust opening session of the 71st Keeneland September Yearling Sale on Monday.

"I think the first day went very, very well,” Keeneland Director of Sales Geoffrey Russell said. “There was very strong, competitive bidding, a good cross section of buyers and a good cross section of prices. The figures reflect that it was a very competitive day.”

A total of 120 yearlings sold for $33,165,000, for an average of $276,375 and a median of $245,000. The average price rose 3.4 percent from last year’s average of $267,192, and the median was nearly 23 percent above last year’s median of $200,000.

A Bernardini filly out of millionaire and Grade 1 winner Mushka, by Empire Maker, brought the session-topping price of $1.2 million from John Ferguson.

“It’s one of the best pedigrees in the book,” said Ferguson, bloodstock agent for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. “This filly looks very much like (Mushka), but not only that, she goes back to a lovely family. From the point of view of always looking for nice young mares, she’s going to make a lovely racehorse.”

Eaton Sales, agent, consigned the filly, whose dam won Keeneland’s Juddmonte Spinster (G1) in 2009.

“It’s always a great sales pitch to have a horse that looks exactly like its mother who is a Grade 1 winner,” said Eaton’s Reiley MacDonald. “And she had this air about her. She just had this great outlook every time she came out (for inspection by potential buyers), and she came out of her stall 250 times. She never got tired and she never changed her mannerism.”

A half-sister to multiple champion Beholder brought $1.1 million from John and Leslie Malone’s Bridlewood Farm in Ocala, Fla., about an hour after the noon start of the session.

“Obviously she’s a very nice filly, by the leading third-crop stallion (Curlin), a half-sister to champion 2- and 3-year-old filly Beholder, and a half-sister to (Grade 1 winner and sire) Into Mischief,” said George Isaacs, Bridlewood’s general manager who signed the ticket. “She’s got a huge pedigree and looks like she can run. (She represents a) foundation-type family for Bridlewood Farm.”

The filly, who is out of the stakes-winning Tricky Creek mare Leslie’s Lady, was consigned by breeder Clarkland Farm of Fred and Nancy Mitchell and Nancy’s daughter Marty Buckner.

Tapit sired the session’s top-priced colt, a half-brother to Grade 3 winners Heart Ashley and Ashley’s Kitty and stakes winner Indianapolis purchased for $900,000 by Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier. VanMeter Sales, agent, consigned the colt, who is out of the graded stakes-placed Beau Genius mare Pretty ‘n Smart.

At the 2013 September Sale, Magnier paid $1 million for the colt’s full brother.

“(Trainer) Bob Baffert says that Indianapolis (who races for Coolmore partners) is a very good horse and (the now 2-year-old) brother has been doing pretty good,” Magnier said. “Hopefully (this colt will) follow their lead.”

Ferguson was the session’s leading buyer, purchasing six yearlings for $2,610,000.

Taylor Made Sales Agency was the session’s leading consigner, selling 19 yearlings for $4,715,000.

The September Sale continues through Sunday, Sept. 21. Sessions through Thursday, Sept. 11 begin at noon ET.

The entire sale is streamed live at Keeneland.com.

 

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