01/07/2013 1:59PM

Keeneland January sale: Three Chimneys buys Maristar for $500,000

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Grade 3-placed winner Maristar became the first horse to break the half-million mark on Monday at the Keeneland January horse of all ages sale, selling to Robert Clay’s Three Chimneys Farm for $500,000.

The 6-year-old Giant’s Causeway mare was consigned by Gerard Butler Racing.

Maristar won five of 19 starts in four seasons of racing for earnings of $131,402. She finished second in the Grade 3 Washington Park Handicap in 2011, and finished her campaign that year with a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Chilukki Stakes.

“I loved her physical, loved her family, loved her mother, and we’re excited to have her,” said Case Clay, president of Three Chimneys. “We haven’t made any decisions (as to a mate) yet, so we’ll go back and think about it.”

Clay said the price was a bit higher than he expected to go for the mare, but it was still in the expected range.

“She’s got a beautiful profile, a great walk, and a lovely front end,” he said. “The page is what really jumped out at us. She’s a quality mare and we’re very interested in quality.”

Maristar is out of the multiple Grade 1-winning Key to the Mint mare Jewel Princess, winner of the 1996 Eclipse Award as champion older female. The mare has produced three winners from five to start, including stakes winner One Nice Cat, who now stands in New York.

This is the second time that Maristar has sold at public auction. In 2008, she dropped the hammer at $200,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale. Jewel Princess’ foals have performed well in the auction ring, led a pair of $1.4-million horses – Jewel for a King, who sold at the 2004 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga selected yearling sale; and Home Court, who sold at the 2005 Keeneland November breeding stock sale.