09/11/2015 3:33PM

Keeneland September: Five yearlings by Frankel among stars of sale

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Unbeaten Frankel was named Europe's Horse of the Year in two consecutive seasons.

The arrival of yearlings by first-year stallions to the marketplace is annually among the highlights of the sales season. But it’s rare for those first-year stallions to include an unbeaten champion hailed among the greatest racehorses of all time, whose foals are eagerly anticipated on both sides of the Atlantic.

Thus is the case with two-time European Horse of the Year Frankel, whose first yearlings offered in the U.S. market are five colts at the Keeneland September yearling sale, all of whom are scheduled to be offered during the sale’s Book 1 portion from Sept. 14-16. Frankel is among several European standouts with yearlings cataloged at Keeneland, including his own sire, international titan Galileo, and old rival Excelebration.

“We are delighted to have yearlings by Frankel in the September sale,” Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s director of sales, said when the catalog was unveiled. “The presence of his yearlings and those by other highly prized international sires reflects the fact that U.S. breeders have traveled overseas to buy mares in foal to these stallions or breed mares to these stallions with the intent of selling the resulting offspring at Keeneland.”

Frankel won all 14 of his starts, including 10 Group 1 events, bankrolling more than $4.7 million in three championship seasons. He retired to owner-breeder Juddmonte’s Banstead Manor Stud in Newmarket, England, for the 2013 breeding season – and, as expected, attracted a stellar book of mares that only increases his potential as a commercial stallion. The list included Grade 1/Group 1 winners or producers, classic winners, or champions from every major Northern Hemisphere racing jurisdiction, as well as a handful of standouts shipped to England to be bred on Southern Hemisphere time.

“Frankel’s book of mares is as one would hope and expect for ‘the best racehorse ever,’ ” then-Juddmonte general manager Philip Mitchell said in 2013. “We are most grateful to all the breeders in Europe, America, and Japan, who have put their faith in Frankel, and as a result we have one of the most impressive books of mares that a first-season sire has received.”

The U.S. market got its first taste of Frankel-mania in the fall of 2013, when four mares carrying foals from the champion’s first crop sold for an overall average of $1,437,500 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky selected fall mixed sale and the Keeneland November breeding stock sale. The group was led by a pair of Grade 1-winning mares sold to Japanese interests at Fasig-Tipton, with In Lingerie going for $2.4 million and Mi Sueno for $1.9 million.

At the Keeneland November sale, the mare Tashzara sold for $775,000 to Town and Country Farms, and Reaching sold for $675,000 to Reiko and Michael Baum. A little less than two years later, the resulting Frankel colts are back on the Keeneland sales grounds to be sold as yearlings.

Reaching, by Dansili, is a three-quarter sister to European champion Peeping Fawn and a half-sister to Group 1 winner Thewayyouare. It is the immediate family of prolific broodmare Better Than Honour, dam of Belmont Stakes and Kentucky Oaks winner and champion Rags to Riches, Belmont Stakes winner Jazil, and Breeders’ Cup Marathon winner Man of Iron.

Man O War Farm is consigning Reaching’s colt as agent for the Baums. The same group is also selling another Frankel colt, out of the winning Kingmambo mare Compelling. Compelling’s dam is Group 1 winner and stakes producer Damson.

Tashzara, whose colt is consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, as agent, is a half-sister to multiple Group 1 winner Excelebration, who finished second or third behind Frankel in five group stakes in Europe. Excelebration, a son of Exceed And Excel, finished a creditable fourth, beaten two lengths, behind Wise Dan, Animal Kingdom, and Obviously in the Breeders’ Cup Mile in his career finale before retiring to Coolmore’s Irish headquarters. He has three yearlings from his first crop cataloged at Keeneland September, including a Book 1 filly who is from the family of Canadian Horse of the Year Never Retreat and sire Distorted Humor.

The two other Frankel yearlings at Keeneland September are both from the immediate families of Grade 1 winners. Lane’s End, as agent, consigns Frankly Speaking, a colt out of Grade 2 winner India. A Hennessy mare who is the dam of two winners from as many starters, India is a half-sister to stakes winner Pilfer, the dam of Grade 1 winners To Honor and Serve and Angela Renee.

Also cataloged for Frankel is a half-brother to Grade 1 winner Laragh and multiple graded stakes winner Summer Front. He is consigned by Indian Creek, as agent.

More familiar to the U.S. market at this stage of their careers is Bullet Train, Frankel’s Group 3-winning three-quarter brother who, later in his career, served as a pacemaker for his famed stablemate. Bullet Train entered stud in Kentucky for 2013 and now stands at Crestwood Farm. He is represented by 10 yearlings from his first crop cataloged over the second week of Keeneland September.