11/11/2017 8:52PM

$275,000 filly Storm the Hill tops Saturday's Keeneland November session

Storm the Hill won the Unzip Me Stakes and finished third in the Grade 3 Autumn Miss after the Keeneland November catalog was printed.

The fifth session of the Keeneland November breeding stock sale on Saturday yielded returns similar to last year's fifth session, topped by the $275,000 stakes-winning filly Storm the Hill.

A total of 248 horses changed hands for revenues of $15,313,000, up 10 percent from last year’s fifth session, when 226 horses sold for $13,975,700. Saturday’s average sale price declined 0.2 percent to $61,746 from $61,839, the median saw no change at $47,000, and the buyback rate finished at 27 percent compared with 35 percent last year.

Three horses surpassed the $200,000 threshold, while eight did so during last year’s fifth session. The number of six-figure purchases increased to 49 from 37.

A pair of late catalog updates helped raise the stock of Storm the Hill, who sold to Lynn and Rovena Alexander’s Alastar Thoroughbreds.

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The 3-year-old Get Stormy filly won the Unzip Me Stakes and ran third in the Grade 3 Autumn Miss Stakes, both at Santa Anita, after the Keeneland November catalog was published, improving her record to three wins in 14 starts for earnings of $172,995. Prior to being cataloged, Storm the Hill ran third in the Special Goddess Stakes at the Southern California track.

Mike Aker, who signed the ticket as agent for the Alexanders, said the filly would return to the racetrack. Where she would run or for what trainer was still to be decided.

“They’ll go to the races and have some fun, hopefully,” Aker said. “We thought she’d be $250,000 to $300,000, so she was right in there.”

Peter Miller previously trained Storm the Hill for owners Gary Barber, Silver Ranch Stable, and Wachtel Stable. She was consigned by Bluewater Sales, as agent.

“She’s just a lovely filly,” said Meg Levy of Bluewater Sales. “She came in, she did what she was supposed to do. She won a stake since the catalog and then she was placed in a graded stake since the catalog, so that’s what everybody wants.”

Despite heading back to the track, Storm the Hill was not cataloged in the auction’s horses of racing age section, which is scheduled for Monday and Tuesday. Levy said the filly’s race record before the late updates affected how she was going to be marketed, and thus how she was placed in the catalog.

Even with the change in priorities, Levy said the buyers had no problem finding her.

“We had plenty of people looking at her,” Levy said. “She probably had 20 shows or so. It’s not necessarily the number of shows with [racing prospects], it’s the right people. Now, with technology, people are really good about finding the horses. We had an ad, we did a walking video. You’d be surprised how many people tend to find these horses that way, and they just call in.”

Bred in Kentucky by Kimberly and Buff Bradley, Storm the Hill is out of the winning Good and Tough mare Thornhill, whose four foals to race are all winners, also including stakes-placed Fleur de Lilly. She is from the family of Grade 3 winner Jet Black Magic.

Saturday’s top weanling, and second overall highest price, was a filly from the first crop of Claiborne Farm resident Lea who sold to bloodstock agent Mike Ryan for $230,000.

The dark bay or brown filly is the second living foal out of the unraced Pulpit mare Nippy, who hails from the family of Grade 2 winner Well Monied, Grade 1-placed stakes winner Economic Model, and Grade 3-placed stakes winner Jimmy Simms.

“She was very special, a beautiful filly,” Ryan said. “I’ve seen four or five today by Lea, and I was very impressed with them, but this was the standout. She’s got a proper page. The second dam is a great mare, with Economic Model and Well Monied. It’s a very nice Claiborne pedigree.

“She’s bought for an end-user, and I said, ‘Look, she’s going to cost a considerable amount more as a yearling because she’s that special.’ After today and the next few days, Lea won’t be a secret anymore, because they’re very nice.”

The filly was bred in Kentucky by Dell Ridge Farm and consigned by St. George Sales, as agent. Nippy was a $180,000 purchase with the filly sold Saturday in-utero at last year’s Keeneland November sale.

Super Saver, a resident of WinStar Farm, finished the day as the top covering sire by gross, with three pregnant mares bringing $397,000. The most expensive was Madam Pele, a stakes-winning Salt Lake mare who sold to B.T. Bloodstock for $170,000. Super Saver was also the top covering sire by average sale price among those with three or more sold, at $132,333.

Lane’s End was Saturday’s leading consignor by gross, with 28 horses sold for, $2,222,000, led by a weanling first-crop Constitution colt, who is a half-brother to Grade 1 winner Dancing Rags and Grade 2 winner Coup de Grace. The colt sold to WinStar Farm CEO Elliott Walden’s Maverick Racing for $170,000.

Springhouse Farm, the operation of Gabriel Duignan, was the day’s leading buyer, with five purchases totaling $595,000. His most expensive purchase was a weanling first-crop Bayern colt for $180,000.

At the close of five sessions, a total of 908 horses had changed hands for $159,410,000, down 6 percent from the same point in 2016 when 921 horses sold for $169,809,200. The average sale price was down 5 percent to $175,562 from $184,375, the median was up five percent to $100,000 from $95,000, and the buyback rate was down to 26 percent from 31 percent.

The Keeneland November sale continues daily through Nov. 18, beginning each day at 10 a.m. Eastern.