11/09/2017 7:45PM

Keeneland November: $1-million Fools In Love tops steady third session

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Book 2 of the Keeneland November breeding stock sale opened with continued solid trade on Thursday, led by the $1-million broodmare Fools In Love.

A total of 229 horses changed hands during Thursday’s session for revenues of $31,774,000, up 0.4 percent from last year’s third session when 222 horses brought $31,634,000.

Thursday’s average sale price finished at $138,751, down 3 percent from $142,495, while the median rose 17 percent to $120,000 from $102,500. The buyback rate finished at 27 percent, compared with 33 percent last year.

Three horses sold for $500,000 or more on Thursday, down one from the previous third session. The number of horses sold for $500,000 dropped by two to 30.

“There were a lot of different buyers, some new people coming into the market today,” Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s director of sales operations, said. “Still, we had some people left over from Book 1 that are still shopping. The Japanese are still here shopping, SF Bloodstock has been busy, both selling and buying. The diversity’s going to continue, I hope.”

English-based Chevely Park Stud bought the session topper, the stakes-winning broodmare Fools In Love, for $1 million.

The 11-year-old Not For Love mare's three foals to race are all black type earners: English Group 2 winner Seahenge, U.S. Grade 3-placed Urban Bourbon, and stakes-placed Frank's Folly. 

“She was very expensive, but she is proven and she is an outcross,” said Chris Richardson, managing director of Cheveley Park Stud. “We came here to buy special pedigrees and special mares. She is a proven producer. She has a good connection to the U.K.”

Richardson said the mare would be sent to Europe, but mating plans were still to be decided.

Bred in Maryland by Robert Manfuso and Katharine Voss, Fools In Love is herself out of the winning French Deputy mare Parlez. She is a half sister to Grade 2 winner International Star and a full to stakes-winner D C Dancer and stakes-placed No More Talk. The extended page includes Grade/Group 2 winners Halory Hunter and Van Nistlerooy, and Grade 3 winners Prory, Brushed Halory, and Key Lory.

On the racetrack, the mare won five of 23 starts for earnings of $240,746, highlighted by a victory in the Orleans Stakes at Delta Downs. She finished in the money in four additional stakes races.

Lane's End consigned Fools In Love, as agent.

Thursday’s top weanling was a Pioneerof the Nile colt that sold to Baccari Bloodstock for $550,000.

The bay colt is out of the stakes-winning Not For Love mare Bobbie Use, whose three winners from five runners include Grade 1 winner Starship Truffles and stakes-placed Desert Wonder. Bred in Kentucky by SF Bloodstock, the colt is from the family of Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro and Grade 3 winner La Reine Elaine. 

“The first time I saw him I knew I was going to have to own him, so I knew that going into it because he’s a very special horse,” Chris Baccari said. “He’s a later foal [born April 23], but he’s just got such a big, strong walk. Every time you saw him he never ever missed a beat, ever. I knew he was probably going to be anywhere from that $500,000 to $700,000 range.

“Just like any case when you have sire power like that sire, and you have a little female pedigree to go with it, they’re going to be very, very expensive,” Baccari continued.

Bedouin Bloodstock consigned the colt, as agent.

“I thought that was a great price,” said Neal Clarke, a partner in Bedouin Bloodstock. “He was so well received at the barn the last two days. He has a beautiful walk. He is a little immature, but he has plenty of room for improvement and I think everyone saw that. Everyone was bidding on him; it was exciting.”

Thursday's transaction made the colt the most expensive pre-racing-age foal out of Bobbie Use to sell at public auction, surpassing Replicator, who brought $520,000 at the 2016 Keeneland September yearling sale.

Starship Truffles has changed hands twice for seven figures, first going to Castleton Lyons for $1 million at the inaugural Fasig-Tipton Kentucky selected horses of racing age sale in 2013. She then sold as a broodmare to Japan's Shadai Farm for $1.5 million at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall selected mixed sale.

Quality Road, a resident of Lane’s End, was Thursday’s top covering sire by gross, with nine in-foal mares sold for $1,350,000. Leading the way was Hymnotic, a War Front mare that sold to J.S. Company, Limited for $240,000.

The day’s top leading covering sire by average, among those with three or more sold, was Malibu Moon. The Spendthrift Farm cornerstone had four mares bring an average of $316,250, led by Curlin Hawk, a half-sister to Afleet Alex by Curlin who went to Shimokobe Farm/Polo Green Stable, as agent, for $800,000 to be the day’s second-most expensive horse.

Taylor Made Sales Agency was the day’s top consignor by gross, with 36 horses sold for $6,042,000. Curlin Hawk led the consignment at $800,000.

Baccari Bloodstock was Thursday’s leading buyer, with four purchases totaling $1.3 million, led by the day’s most expensive weanling.

At the close of three sessions, 430 horses sold for a cumulative total of $115,770,000, down 14 percent from last year’s three-day gross of $134,553,000 from 475 sold. The average sale price was down 5 percent to $269,233 from $283,269, while the median was down 7 percent to $157,500 from $170,000. The buyback rate closed at 26 percent compared with 31 percent at the same point in 2016.

Book 2 of the Keeneland November sale closes Friday, and the auction continues daily through Nov. 18, with each session starting at 10 a.m. Eastern.