11/05/2014 2:04PM

Keeneland November: Ciao Bella sells for $1.6 million to Don Alberto Corp


by Joe Nevills and Nicole Russo

Graded stakes winner Ciao Bella continued a strong start for Wednesday's second session of the Keeneland November breeding stock sale, selling for $1.6 million to Don Alberto Corp.

The 5-year-old Giant's Causeway mare, who sold in foal to Speightstown, was consigned by Four Star Sales, as agent. She became the second horse to fetch seven figures through the first two hours of Wednesday's session, along with sale-leading Aloof at $3.9 million to Mandy Pope.

The mare marked the third high-end purchase of the Keeneland November sale for Don Alberto Corp, the outfit that purchased Vinery last year. Don Alberto also made a pair of seven-figure purchases at Monday night's Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall selected mixed sale.

"She's a very nice mare," Don Alberto owner Liliani Solari said. "She's a very strong mare, she has a very good pregnancy. We want to have good mares at the farm."

Ciao Bella scored her biggest win in the Grade 3 Rampart Stakes, bankrolling $236,960 on her career. The foal she is carrying is her first.

Out of the multiple graded stakes winning French Deputy mare Bella Bellucci - also multiple Grade 1 placed, and a full sister to Japanese champion Kurofune - Ciao Bella is a half sister to Grade 2-placed Grapelli.

"It was definitely at the outer reaches of what we might have," Kerry Cauthen of Four Star Sales said. "Truly, she was an absolutely drop-dead gorgeous mare with one of the nicest personalities. She was gray, she had black points, she was everybody's dream. She was a superstar. I think she might have been the nicest mare I've ever taken through, she was on price alone."