11/07/2017 3:24PM

Keeneland November: Stellar Wind to be bred to American Pharoah

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Benoit & Associates
Champion Stellar Wind was a $6 million purchase at Keeneland November.

Trainer John Sadler stood in the back walking ring of the Keeneland sale pavilion, watching as the chestnut mare he had trained for the past three years blew the bidding past each milestone. As the hammer fell for $6 million on champion Stellar Wind at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale, going to the international Coolmore operation, Sadler admitted it was bittersweet to close this chapter of the mare's career.

But another chapter now begins, as Stellar Wind will be bred to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah - who is based at at Coolmore's Ashford Stud in Kentucky - for her first foal.

"We loved her a lot," Sadler said. "She was so great for us. It's a little sad to see her go, but we're excited she's going on to her next career. I don't think you could do any better [than Coolmore].

"We'll try to buy some of her babies," he added.

Virginia-bred Stellar Wind, a daughter of Curlin, was privately purchased by bloodstock agent David Ingordo, on behalf of Sadler's client Hronis Racing, following her maiden score in late 2014. Over the next three seasons, she won nine graded stakes, six of those Grade 1 events, and bankrolled $2,253,200. She was honored with the Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old female of 2015. The following season, she defeated the great Beholder in a pair of Grade 1 events - the Clement L. Hirsch and Zenyatta Stakes - and this year, bested another champion in Finest City in the re-named Beholder Mile.

"She's a very good looking mare," M.V. Magnier, who signed for the Coolmore team, said. "She's a champion. Most of her life, she was brilliant. Let's hope we can do a good a good job with her, and she's as good as a broodmare."

The Breeders' Cup Distaff was Stellar Wind's only kryptonite. She finished a troubled second, beaten a neck, to Stopchargingmaria in 2015 at Keeneland; fourth behind the standouts Beholder, Songbird, and Forever Unbridled in 2016 at Santa Anita after breaking in the air; and a dull eighth behind Forever Unbridled last weekend at Del Mar.

Stellar Wind is a half sister to Grade 3-placed stakes winner Zenith and stakes winners Im Out First and First Ascent. It is a family of productive broodmares, with Zenith producing Grade 1 winner Great Hunter and Im Out First producing stakes winner Im a Dixie Girl, dam of multiple Grade 1 winner Mor Spirit.

Stellar Wind also shares a common ancestor, Gallant Nurse, with two-time champion turf mare Tepin. Coolmore purchased the latter for $8 million at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall selected mixed sale less than 24 hours prior, carrying a foal by Stellar Wind's sire Curlin.

Tepin is out of two-time Broodmare of the Year finalist Life Happened, whose sixth dam is Gallant Nurse. The branch of the family that produced Tepin is also represented by champion Smoke Glacken and graded stakes winners Disco Rico and Vyjack. Gallant Nurse is the fifth dam of Stellar Wind, with this branch of the family also responsible for Grade 1/Group 1 winners Love Sign, Matty G, Melodist, and Star of Cozzene.

"It's definitely a help - not too often two great mares come from the same family," Magnier said. "They're two different mares but they're both talented and very well bred. Let's just hope we do a good job with them."

Meanwhile, Sadler will head home to California, getting back to the daily routine with his stable after bidding the champion farewell.

"I just came in to kind of finish the circle,” Sadler said. “I gave her mints this morning, she loves peppermints, so we're sending her off with a bag of fresh peppermints, and I'll go off to California to work on the next one."

Top broodmare prospects sold in North America

Includes mares sold as broodmare prospects, and horses in training sold as racing/broodmare prospects

Price Horse Buyer Sale
$10,000,000 Havre de Grace Whisper Hill Farm Fasig-Tipton November, 2012
$9,500,000 Songbird Whisper Hill Farm Fasig-Tipton November, 2017
$9,000,000 Ashado John Ferguson Keeneland November, 2005
$8,500,000 Royal Delta Besilu Farm Keeneland November, 2011
$6,000,000 Take Charge Brandi Hill 'n' Dale Farm Keeneland November, 2015
$6,000,000 Stellar Wind M.V. Magnier Keeneland November, 2017
$5,750,000 Round Pond John Ferguson Fasig-Tipton November, 2007
$5,700,000 Stardom Bound IEAH Stables Fasig-Tipton November, 2008
$5,400,000 Lady's Secret Fasig-Tipton Bloodstock Fasig-Tipton November, 1987
$5,000,000 Riskaverse Eaton Sales Fasig-Tipton November, 2005