11/21/2014 2:19PM

First foals by Bodemeister, Union Rags impress at November sales

Barbara D. Livingston
Dual classic-placed Bodemeister was represented by his first weanlings at the Kentucky fall mixed sales in November.

The November mixed sales season in Kentucky is best known for the high-priced racing and broodmare prospects that go through the sales ring, but the auctions are also an important time for buyers to form first impressions of weanlings by young stallions.

The sample sizes at the recently completed November sales are smaller than what will be seen at the massive Keeneland September yearling sale next year, but how the market receives a stallion’s first offerings at both the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky selected fall mixed sale and Keeneland November breeding stock sale has the potential to affect stud fees and cement commercial perceptions for years to come.

Bodemeister and Union Rags emerged as the most prominent names among the first-year sires at the end of Kentucky’s fall mixed sales season, carrying the buzz from their debuts in the breeding shed into the auction ring.

The two stallions, both major players on the 2012 Triple Crown trail, finished atop the rankings of first-crop sires by gross sales and average price with three or more foals sold during the November sales.

Bodemeister, a 5-year-old son of Empire Maker, was the November mixed season’s leading first-crop sire by gross revenues, with 23 weanlings selling for a total of $2,731,000. The average sale price of $118,739 placed him second among sires with three or more foals sold.

Union Rags, a 5-year-old son of Dixie Union, finished the November sales second to Bodemeister in gross receipts among first-crop sires, with $2,277,000 from 17 horses sold, and his average weanling price of $133,941 led the category.

Bodemeister’s most-expensive offering was a colt out of the Grade 1-winning Distorted Humor mare Awesome Humor, selling to L D Bloodstock for $230,000 at the Keeneland November sale.

“[The Bodemeister weanlings] are nice, racy-looking horses,” said Richie Galway, speaking for Headfurd Farm, which secured a $165,000 Bodemeister colt earlier in the Keeneland sale. “I think they’ll be nice yearlings. I think he’ll be popular next year.”

Bodemeister stands at WinStar Farm in Versailles, Ky., and his fee has been set at $30,000 for 2015. His first crop consists of 88 foals, meaning 26 percent of the offspring from his debut year at stud changed hands at the two Kentucky November mixed sales.

While the biggest of Bodemeister’s two wins from six career starts came in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby, he is perhaps best known for posting gritty runner-up finishes in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. He is out of the Grade 3-winning Storm Cat mare Untouched Talent, whose second foal to race was the multiple Grade 1-placed Fascinating.

Marc Wampler of Pocket Aces Racing signed the ticket on behalf of T206 Stables for a $70,000 Bodemeister colt out of the stakes-placed Mineshaft mare Bell’s Shoes, who is from the family of Grade 3 winner Clearly Foxy and Grade 2-placed stakes winner Prom Shoes. He described the Bodemeister foals he had seen as a leggy group, which he expected to improve as yearlings and beyond.

Wampler said about the new weanling purchase: “He’s an exceptional individual, had a great big walk on him, nice shoulder, nice hip, and he’s got a lot of room to improve, too. I think he’s just going to get better over the next four to five months.

“I made a point to look at every Bodemeister at the sale because I was so thoroughly impressed by him as a racehorse. He had speed and he carried it over a route of ground, which is really one of the big things I look for when looking at these young stallions. I want [a stallion] that showed some brilliance at 2 and carried it over a route of ground at 3. Obviously, he did that in spades.”

Walnut Hill Bloodstock purchased the most-expensive Union Rags weanling of the season, going to $290,000 for a colt at the Keeneland sale. The bay colt is out of the Broad Brush mare Brush of Fortune, whose foals include the Grade 3-placed stakes winner Lecturing Lynn. It is the family of Grade 1/Group 1 winners November Snow, Bounding, and Morning Line.

“I think Union Rags throws a lot like his sire, maybe with a little more color, a little more chrome,” said bloodstock agent Mike McMahon, who secured a Union Rags filly for $170,000 at Keeneland. “[His weanlings] have the same sort of shape, hip, shoulder, which is appealing for us. We look for horses with that kind of look of their father’s. This filly definitely has that.”

Union Rags stands at Lane’s End in Versailles, Ky., and his 2015 fee is set at $35,000. With 63 foals in his initial crop, Union Rags had 27 percent of his 2014 progeny sell at the November sales.

Union Rags won 5 of 8 starts during his racing career, highlighted by a memorable victory in the Belmont Stakes, when he rallied along the rail to edge Paynter. He also took the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes and the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes, and placed in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Florida Derby.

His dam, the winning Gone West mare Tempo, has had seven winners from eight foals to race, including stakes-placed Geefour. Tempo West, a half-sister to Union Rags by Rahy, is the dam of multiple Group 1 winner Declaration of War, who ran a strong third in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic and will stand at Kentucky’s Ashford Stud in 2015.

Carrie Brogden of Machmer Hall landed a Union Rags filly for $37,000 at the Keeneland sale as a member of a partnership with the intent to pinhook the horse as a yearling. The filly, named Springtime Blues, is out of the multiple stakes-winning Fusaichi Pegasus mare South Bay Cove, whose foals include the Irish Group 3 winner and classic runner-up Free Judgement.

Brogden said she has looked at about 18 to 20 Union Rags foals, and said they provide an added dimension to what one normally sees from their grandsire.

“I thought they looked like Dixie Unions with stretch,” Brogden said. “He’s a big horse, and the mares we sent to him were big, because I was concerned he would throw back to Dixie Union and throw a bit of their shorter legs. I think [the foals are] big and beautiful. Across the board, I’ve been very impressed. I saw him, he’s big and gorgeous, and most of his foals are big and gorgeous.”