11/04/2014 5:18PM

Keeneland November: Session closes strong with trio of seven-figure mares

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by Joe Nevills and Nicole Russo

A trio of graded stakes winners, led by Grade 1 winner Last Full Measure, each fetched prices in excess of $1 million to bring the total number of horses to reach that threshold during Tuesday’s opening session of the Keeneland November breeding stock sale to seven. The mark is one better than the total from the 2013 opening session.

China Horse Club went to $1.5 million to acquire Last Full Measure, the final horse through the ring as a supplemental entry into the sale. The 6-year-old Empire Maker mare, who was consigned by Lane’s End, sold in foal to popular young commercial sire War Front.

The mare was the second seven-figure purchase of the day for China Horse Club, following $2.8-million Iotapa earlier.

"We've already got a breeding program in Australia, one in Ireland, and obviously, we're accumulating high-quality mares that will go into part of that," the outfit's Eden Harrington said. "This was an opportunity to buy a ready-made mare in foal to a high-quality stallion, who could be a foundation mare in an operation like this in this part of the world. We knew she wasn't going to be cheap, but we knew as well a mare of this caliber that if she can throw a quality yearling in time to War Front, it's highly appealing. That's what we're hoping for, and hopefully she can play an important role in what we're trying to do in the coming years."

Last Full Measure posted her signature victory last year at Keeneland, winning the Grade 1 Madison Stakes on the Polytrack. She placed in two other graded stakes events on turf, earning $293,245. She is out of the Grade 1-winning Slewvescent mare Lazy Slusan.

A short while earlier, Grade 3 winner Scarlet Strike and Grade 2 winner Renee's Titan each brought seven-figure price tags.

Scarlet Strike sold for $1.3 million to Sheikh Joaan Al Thani’s Al Shaqab Racing. The Smart Strike filly, who was consigned by Taylor Made Sales, scored her biggest victory in the Grade 3 Providencia Stakes last year. She placed in six other graded stakes, including three Grade 1 events.

Out of the stakes-placed French Deputy mare Scarlet Tango, Scarlet Strike is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Visionaire.

“We're going to retire her,” Al Shaqab’s Benoit Jeffory said, adding that Scarlet Strike would take up broodmare duties in Europe. “She's a lovely filly, so we really liked her. “We don't know [who we will breed her to] yet, we'll see, but she might go to a home stallion like maybe Toronado or something. She's a nice mare to have.”

Meanwhile, Bridlewood Farm continued its activity at the top end of the market, purchasing Renee's Titan for $1.1 million. The Bernstein mare, also consigned by Taylor Made, sold carrying a foal from the first crop of Kentucky Derby winner Orb.

Renee's Titan, whose biggest victory came in the Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes, is a half sister to Fashion Alert, a Grade 3-winning juvenile of this year.

"This mare checked all the boxes for me," Bridlewood’s George Isaacs said of his second seven-figure purchase of the day. "Certainly, a really strong physical, in foal to an exciting horse. We're just trying to develop a broodmare band."

Isaacs said that after Renee's Titan delivers her Orb foal, she will visit champion Will Take Charge, in whom Bridlewood owns shares. The Unbridled's Song horse will stand his first season in 2015 at Three Chimneys Farm.