01/07/2014 5:56PM

Keeneland January: Ponche de Leona, dam of Mucho Macho Man, to Brushwood Stable for $775,000


Ponche de Leona, dam of Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man, sold for $775,000 to Betty Moran’s Brushwood Stable to take over as the top price of the Keeneland January horses of all ages sale during Tuesday’s second session.

The 15-year-old Ponche mare, who was offered in foal to Distorted Humor, was consigned by Blake-Albina Thoroughbred Services, agent.

“The mare gets great foals,” said Reiley McDonald of Eaton Sales, who signed the ticket on behalf of Moran. “She's the dam of a Breeders' Cup winner, and there aren't many like her in the sale. We felt like we stretched a little to get her, but who knows what the first foal is worth, and we love [Ponche de Leona’s yearling Tapit filly] coming in right in front of it.”

Bidding opened at $100,000 and climbed steadily in six-figure increments to $700,000. It then stalled for a long moment at $750,000 before Brushwood brought the hammer down with the knockout bid of $775,000.

“It was about what we thought we'd have to spend,” McDonald said. “We stretched a little bit. We've got five good reproductive years left in her, and she gets great foals.

A stakes winner who earned $260,870, Ponche De Leona produced Mucho Macho Man as her second foal. The son of Macho Uno finished third in the 2011 Kentucky Derby and second to Fort Larned in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic before finally breaking through with his first career Grade 1 victories in the fall of 2013, romping in both the Awesome Again Stakes and the Classic. Mucho Macho Man, who has won or placed in 15 stakes races, has earned $5,340,410 to date, and remains in training for a 6-year-old campaign.

A producer of two winners from three starters, Ponche de Leona is also the dam of stakes placed Mucho Mans Gold.

This was the fourth time Ponche de Leona has changed hands at public auction, and her highest price. The mare was offered at the 2012 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall mixed sale, but failed to meet her reserve with a high bid of $1.4 million. She was previously a $300,000 purchase by Black Rock Stables out of the 2011 Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

“It was in the ballpark of what we thought she'd bring,” consignor Hanzly Albina said. “We bought her a couple years in foal to Macho Uno. [Mucho Macho Man] was a significant racehorse, but people had kind of written him off after being disappointed in the beginning. He finished well in the Derby, but they didn't really think about his long-term career. We thought he was a really good prospect as an older horse, and actually told [Steve Marshall of Black Rock], 'Buy this mare and he'll win the Breeders' Cup next year and we'll sell the mare.’ He came close. We ended up loving the mare. She's such a beautiful mare, good size, the foal was unbelievable, so we kept her, loved the Tapit foal, and it turns out he won the next year.”

McDonald said Ponche de Leona may re-visit Tapit in 2014 after delivering her Distorted Humor foal.

“My thought at the moment would Tapit, but I'd like to talk to Mrs. Moran about it a little bit more,” he said. “The Tapit foal from 2013 is so good, it's kind of hard not to go back to him.”