11/05/2013 12:55PM

Keeneland November: Awesome Maria sells for $4 million as Robsham dispersal fuels early figures

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Grade 1 winner Awesome Maria brought the hammer down at $4 million, with M.V. Magnier signing the ticket on behalf of Coolmore clients, to help pace the opening session of the Keeneland November breeding stock sale Tuesday.

The 6-year-old Maria’s Mon mare was among the highlights of the dispersal of the E. Paul Robsham Stables LLC of the late Paul Robsham and his wife, Joyce. Lane’s End, as agent, is handling the dispersal, which was fueling solid figures through the opening hours of Tuesday’s session. With several solid offerings still to come, three mares from the dispersal brought seven figures in the early going.

“It's good to see horses like that bringing prices like that again,” Magnier said.

Shortly following Awesome Maria through the ring was multiple graded stakes winner Broadway’s Alibi, the runner-up in the 2012 Kentucky Oaks. The 4-year-old daughter of Vindication, offered in foal to Smart Strike, went to Jon Clay’s Alpha Delta Stables for $2.15 million.

“ We bought her as a commercial prospect,” said Reynolds Bell, who signed the ticket as agent for Clay. “We love the mare. She could run, and she's a lovely physical with a great family. She's what we were looking for. I wish we didn't have to pay that much, but that's the way it goes when you're buying nice mares. We valued her at about $2 million.”

Grade 1 winner R Heat Lightning was the sale’s first seven-figure horse, going to Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings for $1.6 million. The Trippi mare, who took the Spinaway Stakes for Robsham Stables, was offered in foal to Bernardini.

Awesome Maria won nine of 16 career starts – winning or placing in 13 stakes –for earnings of $1,114,875. The mare won six consecutive graded stakes races from 2011 into early 2012, including the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Handicap.

Awesome Maria, retired last year with a tendon injury, was offered in foal to Giant’s Causeway, with her first foal. Giant’s Causeway stands at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud near Versailles, Ky., where Awesome Maria will now be boarded.

“She's a lovely mare and was a very good racehorse,” Magnier said. She comes from a fantastic family. She was a very nice mare, and she's being bought for friends of ours. When I meet them later on, we'll decide as to what she's going to [for her 2014 breeding]. We haven't decided yet. We'll see what the Giant's Causeway looks like.”

Awesome Maria is one of two winners from as many starters out of her dam, the unraced Discreetly Awesome. The 11-year-old Awesome Again mare was scheduled to be sold later in Tuesday’s session as part of the dispersal.

Out of the Robshams’ Grade 1-winning foundation mare Pretty Discreet, Discreetly Awesome is a half-sister to Grade 1 winners and young sires Discreet Cat and Discreetly Mine; stakes winner Pretty Wild; Grade 3-placed Discreet Treasure; and stakes producers Lady Discreet and Pretty Boundary.

Set to be offered from the dispersal in upcoming sessions are Discreetly Awesome’s 2-year-old filly by Street Cry, her yearling Bernardini colt, and her weanling Smart Strike filly.

-- Additional reporting by Joe Nevills