09/10/2003 11:00PM

High-ticket items, both with the goods


LEXINGTON, Ky. - The sales leaders at the first two days of the Keeneland September yearling sale showed how strongly the market values superior examples of select yearlings. The first day's top lot, a bay colt by Danzig out of champion Queena, by Mr. Prospector, brought $3.6 million, and the overall sale leader, who sold for $3.8 million late Tuesday, is a bay filly by Gone West out of Touch of Greatness, by Hero's Honor.

Both yearlings have outstanding physiques, are full siblings to graded winners, and are products of the most internationally popular pedigree cross, featuring lines of Mr. Prospector and Northern Dancer.

Purchased for Godolphin, the Gone West filly is a full sister to the hot young sire Elusive Quality, who raced for Sheikh Mohammed and stands at Gainsborough Farm in Kentucky. A son of Gone West, Elusive Quality has made an impressive debut at stud with his first crops to race and, along with Mr. Greeley, Zafonic, Zamindar, and others, is adding luster to Gone West as a sire of sires.

Even had she not been related to Elusive Quality, the sale-topping filly would have been a very strong sales yearling. As Dan Rosenberg, general manager for the consigning Three Chimneys Farm, said, "She was perfect. Everything came together for her."

Likewise, there were no holes in the Danzig colt, which Middlebrook Farm consigned on Monday. A strong and well-balanced bay, the son of champion Queena was especially impressive considering he is a May 13 foal.

Helen Alexander, who consigned the colt through her Middlebrook Farm for her sister Emory Hamilton, said: "Overall he is a beautiful colt, with a good attitude. He has always been fairly forward, but it seemed that all my horses started to take off in May. They went through a stage over the winter where they didn't change, then in May they really took off and matured a lot."

With the Danzig colt already standing about 15.3 hands, Demi O'Byrne, buying for John Magnier and Michael Tabor, noted that the colt was bigger, stronger, and more robust than his full brother, the Grade 1 winner Brahms.

Brahms, twice placed at the Group 1 level in Europe as a juvenile, returned to America as a 3-year-old for his greatest success. Now a stallion at Vinery, Brahms will have his first yearlings in 2004.

Coolmore also purchased Brahms as a yearling, paying $1 million for the good-looking young horse. Coolmore, which has had its most success standing sons of Danzig with international leader Danehill, would naturally be drawn to more colts by Danzig, the last great American-based son of Northern Dancer. In addition, Danehill died in an accident earlier this year, and that would only heighten the Coolmore group's interest in securing another potential champion by Danzig.

Brahms and his $3.6 million full brother both descend from a family that Alexander or members of her family have held for five generations. The colts' fourth dam is the Klairon mare Monade, a winner of the Epsom Oaks and Prix Vermeille who ran second in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and was acquired by Alexander's grandfather, Robert Kleberg.

Alexander said: "He bought her privately and brought her to the States, where he didn't have much luck with her as a racehorse. But she turned into a great broodmare and has had a lasting legacy. This is mainly through Too Chic, but also Aquaba is good."

Remedia is the link between champion Monade and Grade 1 winner Too Chic and her champion daughter, Queena. Alexander recalled that "Remedia was the daughter of Monade by Dr. Fager. She was tremendously fast like her sire, but her speed was too intense to harness. She probably had the ability to win what would now be a graded race, maybe a Grade 1, but she just ran herself silly. If she had been able to rate, she would have been a top stakes mare."

Emory Hamilton purchased Too Chic as a yearling from the King Ranch consignment. After Too Chic had won the Maskette and run second in the Alabama, Hamilton retired her to stud, and she has foaled two Grade 1 winners from her: Chic Shirine and Queena.

Alexander said: "My sister has always wanted to get a Danzig filly out of Queena but has never gotten one. Fortunately, she has two A.P. Indy fillies out of her, the 2-year-old and the foal this year. She elected not to breed Queena back this year so we could get her started early next year."