LEXINGTON, KY (Sept. 14, 2016) – Keeneland realized significant gains in average and median prices during the third session of its September Yearling Sale, where a half-brother to multiple champion Beholder received a round of applause after he sold to Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier for $3 million. The colt was one of six yearlings to bring seven-figure prices during Wednesday’s session.
The $3 million yearling is the most expensive Thoroughbred sold at public auction in the world this year. He is the highest-priced yearling at the September Sale since 2010.
Wednesday’s session, the conclusion of the premier Book 1 catalog, saw gains across the board despite fewer horses sold. Gross sales for 119 horses of $47,735,000 was up 2.1 percent from the corresponding session in 2015 when 151 horses sold for $46,754,000. The average price of $401,134 rose 29.55 percent from $309,629 in 2015. The median of $300,000 increased 20 percent from last year’s $250,000.
The average is the highest for a session during the September Sale since 2012, when opening day averaged $403,867 for 75 horses.
“This was a dynamite day with nearly 30 percent growth in average while the median price was up 20 percent,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing and Sales Bob Elliston said. “There were multiple players on some of the big lots. On the $3 million colt, at least three groups remained in the bidding past $2 million, so the action wasn’t just from a couple of people hooking up. Multiple buyers were after the very best quality.”
Magnier, from Irish-based Coolmore, which has global breeding and racing interests, bought not only the session-topping colt but also was involved in the purchase of two other of the day’s highest-priced yearlings – all colts. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Shadwell Estate Co. Ltd. bought two million-dollar colts, each by War Front, and Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm acquired two seven-figure fillies by Tapit.
“We definitely broke through the glass ceiling today,” Keeneland Director of Sales Operations Geoffrey Russell said, referring to the number of horses that brought $1 million or more. “To see such interest, especially from long-term investors looking for stallion potential, was very exciting.
“There was a sense of urgency today,” Russell added. “People realize this is the end of Book 1. This is where the top pedigrees and the top physicals meet if you want to play. So people got busy.”
Through the first three days of the sale, which comprised Book 1, Keeneland sold 346 yearlings for $120,225,000, down 10.52 percent from last year when 443 yearlings sold for $134,361,000. The average of $347,471 is 14.56 percent higher than the $303,298 from 2015, while the median of $300,000 is 20 percent above $250,000 last year.
Cumulatively, eight yearlings have been sold for $1 million or more versus 11 during Book 1 in 2015.
The $3 million colt is by Scat Daddy and out of the stakes-winning Tricky Creek mare Leslie’s Lady. He is a half-brother to multiple champion Beholder, an earner of nearly $5 million, and Grade 1 winner and sire Into Mischief. The colt was consigned by breeder Clarkland Farm.
“I was very surprised by the price,” Fred Mitchell of Clarkland said. “I thought he might be the highest price of the sale, but we were (just) hoping to get a million and a half. Double that is unbelievable. He is an unbelievable individual with a great disposition and mind that you dream to have. He had a special look in his eye from the time he was two months old.”
Mitchell said the colt had been “shown at Keeneland for 5½ days and never missed a beat in the way he moved. It was like he was on air, just striding out.”
Magnier, who bought Monday’s $1 million session-topping Medaglia d’Oro colt, noted the success of the Scat Daddy colt’s half-siblings, especially Beholder, saying, “You don’t see much better than her.
“I have had a lot of luck with Scat Daddy in the past; hopefully, it will continue,” Magnier added. “(Another Scat Daddy colt, 2016 Keeneland Phoenix-G1 and Coventry-G2 winner) Caravaggio looks like he could be an exceptional horse; he’s so fast. (He and 2016 Darley Prix Morny-G1 and Queen Mary-G2 winner) Lady Aurelia (also by Scat Daddy) are the best horses in Europe.”
Magnier said the colt would be sent to Europe.
Magnier teamed with Bridlewood Farm to pay $2 million for a Tapit colt who is a half-brother to 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner and sire Mucho Macho Man. Consigned by Eaton Sales, agent, the colt is out of the stakes-winning Ponche mare Ponche de Leona, who sold in foal to Distorted Humor for $775,000 at Keeneland’s 2014 January Horses of All Ages Sale.
“He was the nicest Tapit in the sale, and he has a stallion pedigree,” Bridlewood General Manager George Isaacs said. “Coolmore asked us to consider to partner with them on a nice colt that would potentially be a stallion. We were more than happy to join them on that. (Bridlewood owner John) Malone has a farm in Ireland, and we are trying to build Bridlewood back horse by horse to have a very nice program and potentially a stallion. Hopefully, this is the right one.”
In partnership with Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Stables, Magnier paid $925,000 for a Pioneerof the Nile colt who is a full brother to 2016 Shoemaker Mile (G1), Eddie Reed (G2) and Del Mar Mile (G2) winner Midnight Storm. Warrendale Sales, agent, consigned the son of the Bertrando mare My Tina.
Shadwell Estate Co. Ltd. went to $1.9 million to acquire a War Front colt out of the stakes-winning A.P. Indy mare Prize Catch, a half-sister to multiple Grade 2 winner Lead Story. He was consigned by Lane’s End, agent.
Shadwell Estate Co. Ltd. also paid $1.3 million for a War Front colt out of Grade 1 winner Love and Pride, by A.P. Indy. Four Star Sales, agent, consigned the colt, whose third dam is Grade 1 winner and Broodmare of the Year Cara Rafaela. She produced champion and successful sire Bernardini. The colt’s family also includes Grade 3 winner Thiskyhasnolimit.
“He was just such a great individual, and he acted like one,” Four Stars Managing Partner Kerry Cauthen said. “The horses make consigners; we get lucky by getting to sell them.”
Shadwell Estate Co. Ltd. purchased seven yearlings for $6.15 million to lead all buyers Wednesday.
Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm paid more than $1 million each for two fillies by Tapit that appeared in the sales ring one after the other. Both were consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent.
She spent $1.4 million for a half-sister to 2016 Kentucky Derby (G1) third-place finisher Gun Runner and $1.1 million for a daughter of Grade 2 winner Quiet Temper.
“Two Tapits, two totally different fillies,” Pope said about her acquisitions. “One had very little resemblance to the other one. The half to Gun Runner is more of your usual Tapit conformation, Tapit size.
“The other filly is much larger, scopier and leggier. We fell in love with her, she reminded us a great deal of (Grade 1-placed) Tap to It and we have been calling her ‘Tap to It Junior’ all week. Tap to It is a different type of Tapit, too; so they’re the same leggy, rangy kind of fillies. Hopefully, both kind win.”
Taylor Made Sales Agency was the session’s leading consignor, selling 19 horses for $6,475,000.
No sale will be held on Thursday, Sept. 15. The sale resumes Friday, Sept. 16 and continues through Sunday, Sept. 25, with all sessions beginning at 10 a.m. ET. The entire sale is streamed live at Keeneland.com.