09/07/2017 1:16PM

Coolmore first-year pair hit elite level at yearling sales

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Standouts among this year's first-year yearling sires include Cairo Prince, who was represented by a colt sold for $500,000 at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale. The price was a record for that auction.

The Keeneland September yearling sale offers a diverse group of horses over its two-week run, and thus attracts horsemen from many jurisdictions, with buyers from five continents active at last year’s sale.

Few operations are as successful on a global level as Coolmore, an early pioneer in stallion shuttling. The practice took off when its prolific sire Danehill traveled from Ireland to Australia for the 1990 season. Coolmore continues to curate a global roster of stallions, and its first-year yearling sires appear poised to play a major role before international shoppers at the Keeneland September yearling sale, as well as at the inaugural Fasig-Tipton Turf Showcase.

Only three yearlings by first-year sires were selected for Keeneland September’s elite Book 1 portion, and two, prior to outs, were by Coolmore sires – Verrazano, who is based at the operation’s Ashford Stud in Kentucky, and Australia, based at its Irish headquarters. Verrazano (by More Than Ready) was a multiple Grade 1 winner in the United States as a 3-year-old, taking the Wood Memorial and later romping by 9 3/4 lengths in the Haskell Invitational, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 116. He transferred to turf to compete overseas the following season and acquitted himself well in some of England’s top events, finishing third in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes and second in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes at the renowned Royal Ascot meeting.

“Coolmore is a global operation, so a horse like Verrazano has plenty of options,” Ashford manager Dermot Ryan said in discussing prospects for the stallion at the time of his retirement. “He has form at the highest level on turf, and More Than Ready is very well thought of in the Southern Hemisphere, so that is all in his favor when it comes to shuttling.”

Verrazano is represented by 71 yearlings from his first crop at Keeneland September, and four in the Turf Showcase. His Book 1 representative at Keeneland is a half-sister to More Than Ready’s Grade 2 winner Made You Look, from the immediate family of champion and blue hen Serena’s Song.

Expectations were always high for Australia, by international leading sire Galileo and out of the globe-trotting champion Ouija Board. He delivered on those hopes in a career highlighted by victories in the Epsom Derby, Irish Derby, and Juddmonte International.

“From very early days we thought Australia was as good as any horse we have ever had here and nothing has happened to change our view,” trainer Aidan O’Brien said in a press release. “He’s unique.”

Australia’s Book 1 representative at Keeneland was listed as an early out, but he had five entrants remaining for the course of the marathon sale.

Australia’s six representatives at Keeneland are led by a Book 1 filly out of the Grade 1-placed War Front mare Emerald Gold.

Coolmore also stands Magician, another son of Galileo, at Ashford. Magician, who won the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Turf and Irish 2000 Guineas, is among several of Galileo’s sons to test the Kentucky market in recent years. Cartier Award champion Noble Mission, a full brother to unbeaten champion and exciting young sire Frankel, stands at Lane’s End.

“With Galileo’s success and the number of top Galileos that are at stud [in Europe], it was bound to start happening,” Lane’s End’s Bill Farish said of the developing trend as Noble Mission arrived in Kentucky. “You can only stand so many sons of a stallion in the same region.”

Magician has 17 first-crop yearlings at Keeneland and seven at the Turf Showcase; Noble Mission is represented by 45 and 13, respectively, at those sales.

Coolmore’s international roster of first-year sires includes Group 1 winner War Command (War Front), standing in Ireland, with one yearling in the Turf Showcase.

The only other first-year yearling sire with a horse selected for Book 1 at Keene-land was Eclipse Award champion Will Take Charge (Unbridled’s Song), represented by a colt out of Grade 2-placed Painted Woman. His hand at the Keeneland sale is strong, as his 65 overall representatives also include a half-brother to Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty, and a half-brother to Grade 1 winner Twirling Candy.

:: DRF Breeding Live: Streaming video of September sales, a look at top horses with comments from consignors and buyers, market analysis, and more::

Will Take Charge has been a commercial leader for his class, leading first-year sires at last year’s proving grounds of the Keeneland November breeding stock sale with 18 weanlings sold, averaging $128,444. He continued on this season to sire a $475,000 colt at the boutique Fasig-Tipton Saratoga selected yearling sale. He gives Three Chimneys Farm a solid one-two punch with Grade 1 winner Strong Mandate (Tiznow), who recorded an $825,000 filly at the Saratoga sale. He has 38 first-crop yearlings at Keeneland.

Multiple graded stakes winner Cairo Prince (Pioneerof the Nile) has emerged as a breakout star of this yearling season, led by a $500,000 colt at the Fasig-Tipton New York-bred sale who established an auction record, preceded by a $420,000 colt at the select sale.

“This momentum, I think, is going to continue,” said Bret Jones of Airdrie Stud. “And if they run as fast as they look like they will, we’re gonna have a lot of fun for a long time.”

Cairo Prince has 54 representatives at Keeneland September, including a half-sister to American Pharoah’s dam, Littleprincessemma; a half-brother to Grade 1 winner Sam’s Sister, a filly out of Grade 1 winner No Such Word; and a filly out of a full sister to Grade 1 winner Summer Soiree.

Other Grade 1/Group 1 winners with their first yearlings on offer at Keeneland September or the Turf Showcase include Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man (standing at Adena Springs), two-time Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Goldencents (Spendthrift Farm), Alpha (Sequel New York for Darley), Cross Traffic (Spendthrift Farm), Itsmyluckyday (Spendthrift Farm), Real Solution (Calumet Farm), and Shakin It Up (Spendthrift Farm).