09/09/2013 1:29PM

Keeneland September: Medaglia d'Oro filly first to eclipse seven figures in opening session


A Medaglia d'Oro filly from the family of multiple Grade 1 winner Verrazano became the first horse to reach seven figures during Monday's opening session of the Keeneland September yearling sale, as Alan Cooper signed the ticket at $1.5 million on behalf of the Niarchos family's Flaxman Stables Ireland, Limited.

The filly, consigned by Gainesway, as agent, is out of the winning A.P. Indy mare Flying Passage, dam of four winners from as many starters. Her offspring include multiple Grade 2 winner Hungry Island, who is also Grade 1 placed; Grade 3 winner Soaring Empire; and Grade 3 placed Tokyo Time, who is also by Medaglia d'Oro.

Flying Passage is out of the Grade 1 winning Mr. Prospector mare Chic Shrine, a full sister to champion Queena. Flying Passage is thus a half sister to Enchanted Rock, dam of multiple Grade 1 winner Verrazano and Grade 2 winner El Padrino. It is the family of Grade 1 winner Serra Lake and graded stakes winners Coal Play, Somali Lemonade, and Al Khali.

“It’s a lovely filly from a superb family,” Cooper said. “She’ll be a good addition to the broodmare band in due course, hopefully. Just beautiful, the way she showed herself, and she’s just a lovely filly.”

Cooper added that the filly will be sent to Europe to train.

Bred in Kentucky by Emory Hamilton, the filly is the second and most expensive foal to sell at public auction out of Flying Passage, surpassing Soaring Empire, who brought $190,000 at the 2008 Keeneland September sale.

“She's a very good prospect coming out of that deep family,” Michael Hernon, director of sales for Gainesway, said. “It was very good trade for her. We anticipated a good number and we're delighted that Maria Niarchos stepped in and bought her.”

The family that produced the filly was in hot demand on Monday, as one hip prior, a Candy Ride colt out of the winning Dixieland Band mare Flying Dixie, another daughter of Flying Passage, sold for $700,000 to Nat Rea’s Regis Farms.

“The first colt sold very well,” Hernon said. “He had a strong following as well. He's a great-moving horse. He's a very special horse. He showed great and is a very athletic horse. He has terrific potential. It's a very strong start for us. We've got a lot of good horses coming up, too, and we anticipate a strong sale. It's a great start for the farm and we're very gratified.”

For live updates on Monday's session of the September sale as it progresses, click here.