09/12/2013 2:51PM

Keeneland September: Coolmore goes to $2.5 million for War Front colt


A colt by War Front and from a relatively undistinguished immediate female family was bought for $2.5 million by Coolmore Stud at the Keeneland September yearling sale on Thursday, the highest price paid for a yearling so far during the first four days of the marquee auction.

The colt’s dam, Blading Gold Ring, by During, placed in two minor stakes in Louisiana. Her half-sister Emerald Gold, by War Front, was third in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante Stakes in 2011. Farther down the catalog page, the colt’s fourth dam, Sweet Willa, is a sister to Grade 1 winner Willa On the Move and a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Will’s Way.

M.V. Magnier, who signed the ticket on behalf of Coolmore, said that the colt was “a great mover” and said that Coolmore was especially attracted to War Front, who is the sire of two Coolmore runners that have won group stakes, Declaration of War and War Command.

“He’s been a lucky horse for us, so hopefully this colt will do something along those lines as well,” Magnier said.
Magnier said the colt will be shipped to Ireland, where Coolmore is based.

The colt was consigned by Woods Edge Farm of Peter Callaghan, agent. Magnier signed the ticket on Wednesday for a $1.4 million half-brother to champion and sire Mastercraftsman from the same consignment. That colt’s sire, Galileo, stands at Coolmore, as does Mastercraftsman.

“Our reserve was $350,000 or something,” Callaghan said, referring to the War Front colt. “We knew he'd make a lot of money, but we always reserved him sensibly because we had to sell him. [The final price] exceeded all expectations. He's a great horse. We're delighted that he made such a great price, and we're very grateful to all the people that bid on him, particularly Coolmore. I think they bought a great horse, and they knew it. They saw him four or five days ago and looked at him every day since.”

The $2.5 million is the most paid for a yearling at auction in North America this year.

The colt was the 15th horse to sell for $1 million or more at this year’s sale, more than double the number that sold for that figure during last year’s 11-day sale. The previous sale topper, a filly by Indian Charlie out of multiple Grade 1 winner Take Charge Lady, was sold on Wednesday for $2.2 million.

--additional reporting by Joe Nevills