11/07/2017 4:57PM

Keeneland November: Stellar Wind highlights opening day

Keeneland photo
Champion Stellar Wind sold for $6 million to Coolmore to power the opening session of the Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

Champion Stellar Wind lived up to her billing as the top attraction of this year’s Keeneland November breeding stock sale, attracting $6 million to help drive gains in average and median sale price for Tuesday’s opening session.

A total of 96 horses sold on Tuesday for revenues of $42,304,000, down 16 percent from last year’s opening session when 115 horses brought $50,155,000. The average sale price ticked upward 1 percent to $440,667 from $436,130, while the session-to-session median increased 15 percent to $300,000 from $260,000.

Tuesday’s buyback rate finished at 26 percent, improved from 33 percent during the opening session of 2016.

The number of horses sold for $2 million or more declined from two to three, while seven-figure transactions dipped to eight from 10. Horses sold for $500,000 or more fell to 22 from 31. While those numbers were down across the board, last year’s opening session did catalog 42 more horses, meaning the 2017 kickoff session had fewer opportunities to hit those thresholds.

“I thought the opening session went extremely well,” Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s director of sales operations, said. “It was great to see a variation of buyers at the top, both domestic and international, strong Japanese participation. The foals also sold very well, to some end-users as well as the pinhookers, so overall, I thought it was a very good day.”

“I think the weanling-to-yearling pinhookers did very well last year, so there are back here in force again, and end-users decided this is a good place to buy horses,” Russell said, describing the weanling market. “It just added competition through those two forces.”

The Coolmore partnership bought champion Stellar Wind, offered as a racing or broodmare prospect, for $6 million. The mare will be bred to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, who is based at at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in Kentucky, for her first season as a broodmare. The young stallion’s first foals are weanlings of 2017.

"We came out here early before the Breeders' Cup and got a look at a lot of the American Pharoah foals,” M.V. Magnier of the Coolmore partnership said. “They've really impressed us. The reaction to them has been quite amazing. Speaking to all the lads, we're going to send her to American Pharoah."

:: More coverage: Sadler bids farewell to Stellar Wind ::

Tuesday's transaction tied Stellar Wind for the fifth-highest price in history among broodmare prospects sold at North American public auction who have never carried a foal, including horses in training offered as racing or broodmare prospects. Her price matched champion Take Charge Brandi, who sold to Hill 'n' Dale Farm at the 2015 Keeneland November sale. Stellar Wind and Take Charge Brandi are also tied for the third-highest price among broodmare prospects in Keeneland November history.

Stellar Wind finished her on-track career with 10 wins in 16 starts for earnings of $2,253,200. She scored six Grade 1 victories, taking the Apple Blossom Handicap, Santa Anita Oaks, Beholder Mile, Zenyatta Stakes, and two editions of the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes. She finished second in the 2015 Breeders' Cup Distaff, and was named champion 3-year-old filly that season.

The mare arrived on the sale grounds Sunday afternoon, flying in from California after finishing eighth in the Breeders' Cup Distaff at Del Mar, her lone defeat of the season.

John Sadler, who was in attendance for the sale, trained Stellar Wind for owner Hronis Racing. Lane's End consigned her, as agent.

"We had her for three years, and we loved her,” the trainer said. “She was so great for us. She gave a lot of great thrills winning a lot of Grade 1s. We're going to miss her a lot, but we're happy to get such a good result and see her go to such nice people.

"I just came in to kind of finish the circle,” Sadler said of his trip to the sale. “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." 

Bred in Virginia by Keswick Stables and Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, Stellar Wind is the lone runner out of the winning Malibu Moon mare Evening Star, from the immediate family of Grade 1 winners Mor Spirit and Great Hunter. She shares an extended family with champion Tepin, who Coolmore purchased for $8 million at Monday night’s Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall selected mixed sale.

The early portion of the Keeneland November sale was dominated by the partnership of owner/breeder SF Bloodstock and consignor Bedouin Bloodstock, which sold three horses for a combined $4,575,000.

Leading the trio was 2016 Kentucky Oaks winner Cathryn Sophia, who sold to Bridlewood Farm and Don Alberto Corp. for $2.3 million, the day’s second-highest price.

Cathryn Sophia, a 4-year-old Street Boss mare, was offered in foal to Pioneerof the Nile, and improved on her price from last year's Fasig-Tipton November sale, when SF Bloodstock purchased her as a broodmare prospect for $1.4 million.

Conor Doyle of Bedouin Bloodstock said offering the mare confirmed in foal a year later increased her value beyond the stud fee alone.

"There's always doubts about broodmare capability, but I think people like the mating, and she's done well physically, too,” he said. “She's really let down into a stunning mare in the year that's elapsed.”

On the racetrack, Cathryn Sophia won six of nine starts for earnings of $1,229,720. In addition to her Oaks score, she won the Grade 2 Forward Gal Stakes and Davona Dale Stakes, and finished in the money in three additional Grade 1 races. John Servis trained Cathryn Sophia for owner Cash Is King.

Bred in Maryland by Robert Manfuso, Cathryn Sophia is the first foal and first winner out of the unraced Mineshaft mare Sheave. She is from the family of Grade 2 winners Belterra and Royal Haven.

George Isaacs, general manager of Bridlewood Farm, said a decision would be made later in regards to Cathryn Sophia’s next mating.

"She's a young Oaks winner in foal to a nice horse on an early cover. What's not to like?” he said. “We’ve partnered with Don Alberto, we bought Baffled [the $3.5-million topper at last year's Fasig-Tipton November sale] last year with them. We're very friendly with them. We're like-minded. We both want to breed nice horses, race nice horses, sell nice horses.”

Bedouin Bloodstock also handled Tuesday’s top weanling for SF Bloodstock, a Tapit filly who sold to Baccari Bloodstock for $775,000. The filly will likely be pinhooked as a yearling in 2018.

"She was a very, very nice filly,” Chris Baccari said. “It just looks like to me she was born a little bit late [May 11], but she just looked like the kind of filly where she could develop into anything.

“She's really strong, and with her mother having the race record that she did, and being by Tapit, I just try to surround myself with the best horses I can possibly get,” he continued. “She happened to be the one we landed on today.”

The bay filly is the second foal out of the Grade 1-winning Artie Schiller mare My Conquestadory, who was purchased by SF Bloodstock and New Gate Farm with Tuesday’s top weanling in utero for $1.5 million at last year's Keeneland November sale.

"It was a little more than we had anticipated, but it was a great result,” Doyle said. I'm delighted Chris got her. He's looked at her several times at the farm.”

Bedouin Bloodstock and SF Bloodstock also sold Her Emmynency, a Grade 1-winning Sucessful Appeal mare in foal to Pioneerof the Nile, to Shadai Farm for $1.5 million.

Book 1 of the Keeneland November sale concludes Wednesday, starting at 11 a.m. Eastern. The auction then continues daily through Nov. 18, with a 10 a.m. start time.

For hip-by-hip sale results, click here.

-- additional reporting by Nicole Russo

Keeneland November Day 1 results

Year Sold Gross Average Median Buyback
2017 96 $42,304,000 (-16%) $440,667 (+1%) $300,000 (+15%) 26%
2016 115 $50,155,000 $436,130 $260,000 33%

Keeneland November Day 1, top five mares

Price Horse Buyer Consignor
$6,000,000 Stellar Wind - racing/broodmare prospect by Curlin M.V. Magnier Lane's End, agent
$2,300,000 Cathryn Sophia - broodmare by Street Boss, in foal to Pioneerof the Nile Bridlewood Farm/Don Alberto Bedouin Bloodstock, agent
$1,900,000 Oscar Party - broodmare by Dixie Union, in foal to Tapit Reynolds Bell for Alpha Delta Stables Taylor Made Sales, agent
$1,650,000 Tammy the Torpedo - broodmare by More Than Ready, in foal to War Front Dr. Masatake Iida Claiborne Farm, agent
$1,500,000 Her Emmynency - broodmare by Successful Appeal, in foal to Pioneerof the Nile Bridlewood Farm Bedouin Bloodstock, agent
$1,500,000 Street Fancy - broodmare by Street Sense, in foal to Medaglia d'Oro Shadai Farm Taylor Made Sales, agent

Keeneland November Day 1, top five weanlings

Price Pedigree Buyer Consignor
$775,000 filly by Tapit - My Conquestadory, by Artie Schiller Baccari Bloodstock Bedouin Bloodstock, agent
$500,000 filly by American Pharoah - Life At Ten, by Malibu Moon Blue Sky Stables Adena Springs
$425,000 colt by Pioneerof the Nile - Miss Ocean City, by Mineshaft Baccari Bloodstock Taylor Made Sales, agent
$400,000 colt by American Pharoah - Kindle, by Indian Charlie Cavalier Bloodstock Darby Dan Farm, agent
$350,000 colt by Medaglia d'Oro - Androeah, by Arch Blue Sky Stables Stonereath Stud, agent
$350,000 colt by Pioneerof the Nile - Mythical Bride, by Street Cry West Bloodstock for Repole Stables Glennwood Farm, agent

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