11/10/2017 8:35PM

Keeneland November: Book 2 portion shows significant growth

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Book 2 of the Keeneland November breeding stock sale showed significant growth over the same portion of last year’s auction, led by the $1-million broodmare Fools In Love.

The two-session Book 2 portion, comprising the third and fourth sessions of the marathon sale, closed with a combined 459 horses sold for $60,101,000. That gross bettered last year’s Book 2 by 14 percent, when 442 horses brought $52,914,500.

The average sale price for Book 2 was $130,939, up 9 percent from $119,716, while the median rose 18 percent to $100,000 from $85,000. The buyback finished at 27 percent compared with 30 percent last year.

“Looking at the figures from last year, this session definitely improved dramatically over last year’s figures, which is very positive,” Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s director of sales operations, said. “We like the two days [of Book 2] to be very close together, you can’t get it bang-on, but at least in the same air mass on averages and medians, and we accomplished that. I think Book 2 was a success, and on to Book 3.

At the top of the market, one horse passed the $1-million threshold when none did so during Book 2 of the 2016 sale. Horses sold for $500,000 or more went unchanged at five, while transactions of $250,000 or more rose to 57 from 43.

The most expensive horse of Book 2 was the stakes-winning broodmare Fools In Love, who sold to England’s Cheveley Park Stud during Thursday’s session 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.

Triple Crown winner American Pharoah’s first crop of weanlings continued to be well-received during their first season at auction, producing that segment of the market’s most expensive horse of Book 2, a $575,000 colt sold to Scott and Evan Dilworth.

The bay colt is out of the Grade 3-placed stakes-winning Harlan's Holiday mare J Z Warrior, whose two foals to race are both winners. J Z Warrior is herself a sister to Grade 1 winner A Z Warrior, Grade 2 winner Jojo Warrior, and Grade 3 winner E Z Warrior.

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"I've looked at nearly every American Pharoah here,” Scott Dilworth said. “He was a lot more elegant and refined versus the others. He was just definitely the best one."

Dilworth said he bought the colt on behalf of a still-forming partnership that will number four or five individuals, and that their purchase will be pinhooked as a yearling.

Eaton Sales consigned the colt as agent for breeder Ty Scheumann's Grousemount Farm.

"He was a really popular horse, and the American Pharoahs have looked terrific,” said Reiley McDonald of Eaton Sales. “He's a talking sire. They're getting more and more expensive because people are seeing what this horse is throwing. We knew he'd bring $400,000-plus, but you never know what the ‘plus’ is on a top horse.” 

Friday's transaction tied for the most expensive for a foal out of J Z Warrior to sell at public auction, joining the Tapit filly K J Warrior, who went to Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings as a weanling at the 2014 Keeneland November sale.

Scheumann bought J Z Warrior at the end of her 3-year-old campaign for $1,125 million at the 2008 Keeneland November sale. She raced the filly for three more seasons before beginning her broodmare career.

"There would have been some premium if it had been some plain old, average American Pharoah just walking through here, but there's not an average one in the bunch,” McDonald said. “They have their daddy's shoulder, length, scope, and apparently, from the little I've seen in my barn, and what I've heard talking amongst friends, they've got his temperament.”

Friday’s session posted across-the-board gains over last year’s fourth day of trade, with 230 horses sold for $28,327,000, up 33 percent from the previous edition when 220 horses brought $21,280,500. The day’s average sale price jumped 27 percent to $123,161 from $96,730, the median rose 20 percent to $90,000 from $75,000, and the buyback rate finished at 28 percent compared with 26 percent last year.

“The figures were very positive today,” Russell said. “Young, good-looking mares that were well-covered sold very well. I thought the whole day, from start to finish, had great buzz and good bidding all the way through.”

The most expensive offering of Friday’s session was Tension, a placed Tapit mare who sold to Woodford Thoroughbreds for $750,000.

Tension, a 5-year-old mare, was offered in foal for the first time to Curlin after an on-track career in which she finished third in one of two starts for $5,385.

Homebred in Kentucky by Karl Watson and Paul Weitman, Tension is out of the multiple Grade 1-winning Tiznow mare Tough Tiz’s Sis, whose three winners from six runners includes Grade 2 winner Tiz Midnight. Grade 3-placed Golly Greeley is in the extended family

“When they pretty ones walk in that look like that and they’re in foal to a top sire, you can’t say you expect to pay that much, but you can’t be surprised either,” said Matt Lyons, vice president of Woodford Thoroughbreds. “You knew sitting around here tonight, there were people waiting the same as we were. We knew it was going to be competitive.”

Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency consigned Tension, as agent.

“She was as good-looking a mare as you could put together, just a magnificent specimen,” said Hill ‘n’ Dale’s John G. Sikura. “It’s kind of the perfect recipe, a young mare, first service, in foal to Curlin, by Tapit, and absolutely gorgeous. She’s a standout mare, and she exceeded expectations.”

American Pharoah, a resident of Coolmore’s Ashford Stud, was Friday’s leading covering sire by gross, with five in-foal mares bringing $1,315,000. The most expensive was It’s All Me, a Congrats mare who sold to Helen Andrews of Twin Hopes Farm for $300,000.

The stallion, represented by his second book of in-foal mares at Keeneland November, was also the day’s leading covering sire by average sale price among those with three or more mares sold, at $263,000.

Paramount Sales was Friday’s top consignor by gross, with 26 horses sold for $3,154,000. Leading the group was a weanling American Pharoah colt who sold to Chestnut Valley for $375,000.

Woodford Thoroughbreds finished as the day’s top buyer, with four purchases totaling $1,270,000, including the session-topper.

At the end of four sessions, a total of 660 horses had sold for $144,097,000, down 8 percent from the same point last year, when 695 horses brought $155,833,500. The average sale price was down 3 percent to $218,329 from $224,221, the median was up 4 percent to $130,000 from $125,000, and the buyback rate was down to 26 percent from 30 percent.

The Keeneland November sale continues daily through Nov. 18, beginning each day at 10 a.m. Eastern.

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