09/18/2008 11:00PM

Alberta-based buyers lead the charge at Keeneland sale


Through 10 days of the giant Keeneland September yearling sale, Canadian horsepeople have been busy buying and selling.

But it is the folks from western Canada, not Ontario, who have been making the most noise from standpoint of bidding through the first 3,700 yearlings sold.

Leading the group are Jim and Susan Hill of Calgary, Alberta, who bought half a dozen yearlings for $855,000 through the first eight sessions.

Donna and Verne Dubinsky of Sherwood Park, Alberta, also bought a handful of yearlings in the name of their Donver Stable. Roger Fortier's Jus Luk Stable, based in Bonnyville, Alberta, was still buying during the 10th session, as was Lynne and Cheryl Chouinard's Bar None-Ranches, located in Dewinton, Alberta.

And this Alberta domination comes without the presence of the province's Bear Stables, which bought a litany of yearlings at the recently completed Woodbine sale.

The Hills, who race at Woodbine with trainer Reade Baker but also have a few runners with trainer Paddy Gallagher in California, paid $220,000 for a Petionille colt who was bred in Kentucky.

The colt is half-brother to Panamanian champion Full (by Victory Speech), a full brother to the stakes-winning Political Web and out of a half-sister to Scarlet Tango, the dam of Visionaire, winner of the Grade 1 King's Bishop.

The couple also bought Canadian-bred youngsters, including an Ontario-bred filly by hot sire Exchange Rate out of Platinum Hope by Carr de Naskra. The filly, bred by Ashleigh Stud, was scooped up for $200,000.

The Hills also paid $100,000 for an Ontario-bred filly named Ernfold, by Stormy Atlantic-Wynyard (Mr. Greeley), a half-sister to stakes-placed Dafoe.

Jim Hill is the director, president, and chief executive of Pason Inc., an oil-field services provider, and got started in the Thoroughbred business in the early part of the 2000s.

The Dubinskys paid $280,000 for a gray California-bred filly by Giant's Causeway out of Miss Soft Sell, the dam of graded stakes winner Brother Derek.

The Donver Stable trainer at Woodbine is Josie Carroll.

Fortier's purchases included a $65,000 colt by Grade 1 winner Forest Dancer out of stakes-placed Old Flame, whose grandson Texas Wildcatter is a favorite for Sunday's British Columbia Derby. The colt, an Ontario-bred, was sold by Mike Byrne, agent.

Baker trains for Fortier.

And Bar None, which stands Canada's leading stallion, Gilded Time, and is one of the largest establishments in western Canada, has purchased more than half a dozen horses through the first five books of the sale.

Bar None races in Calgary and Edmonton, but also in Ontario with trainer Dave Bell.

Chiefswood's big purchase

Top Canadian outfit Chiefswood Stables, owned by Robert Krembil, paid $800,000 for a filly by A.P. Indy out of the Japanese-bred mare Million Gift at the Sept. 9 session of the sale.

This filly's dam is by Sunday Silence, and the mare is a half-sister to champion Sky Beauty and the dam of Tale of Ekati.

Other Canadian buyers included Woodbine Entertainment director Ben Hutzel, who bought an Ontario-bred Tomahawk colt for $140,000 from Byrne and a Gulch colt for $130,000, also Ontario-bred, from Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency.

On the selling side, Anderson Farms, agent, sold a Canadian-bred Elusive Quality colt out of Rare Opportunity for $350,000. A half-brother to Street Sounds and Silver Highlight, both stakes winners, the colt was bought by John Ferguson.

David Willmot's Kinghaven Farms sold a filly by Hennessy out of Brandy Lake for $220,000 to Mark Keller and a Songandaprayer filly out of Forty Gran for $220,000 to Blandford Bloodstock.

A Canadian-bred colt by Smart Strike out of Bienandanz, by Bien Bien, sold for $240,000 by Windfields Farms, agent, to Blandford Bloodstock.