09/11/2014 4:30PM

Keeneland September: Tapit colt ties for sale lead at $2.2 million


by Joe Nevills and Nicole Russo

A half brother to Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner New Year's Day sold for $2.2 million to Shadwell Farm on Thursday, making him the co-leader at the Keeneland September yearling sale and continuing the dominance for sire Tapit.

The colt, the third yearling by the leading sire to sell for seven figures on Thursday, was consigned by Clearsky Farm, as agent. He matched the $2.2 million Coolmore paid for a War Front colt earlier in the session as the highest price of the Keeneland September sale thus far.

It was the second big-ticket purchase of the day for Shadwell, which earlier in the day went to $1.1 million to acquire another Tapit colt consigned by Clearsky.

"It was a little bit more than I thought we'd have to do," Shadwell vice president and general manager Rick Nichols said. "There's a whole lot of potential. Sheikh Hamdan will come over soon and look through the yearlings and he'll decide then where he'll run, but I'd say more than likely he'll leave him [in the U.S.] to run. If he wins a Grade 1, he'd definitely be a stallion."

The colt's dam, Justwhistledixie, was a standout during her own racing career, winning the Grade 2 Bonnie Miss Stakes and Grade 2 Davona Dale Stakes and finishing second in the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes. The Dixie Union mare is now the dam of two winners from as many starters. Her first foal, New Year's Day, won two of his three starts this year, capped by a victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. An injury forced his retirement prior to his 3-year-old season, and he now stands at Hill 'n' Dale Farm.

New Year’s Day sold to Gary and Mary West for $425,000 at the 2012 Keeneland September sale, and Winslow, a Distorted Humor colt out of the dam, went to Godolphin for $600,000 last year.

Out of the winning Honour and Glory mare General Jeanne, Justwhistledixie is a half sister to Grade 2 winner Chace City and to Grade 2 placed Bakken. General Jannie is a half sister to four stakes winners, and it is the family of Grade 2 winners Smooth Air and Overdriven.

Tapit, who stands at Gainesway Farm, is the current leading general sire of 2014, with runners on the track including Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist and Kentucky Oaks winner Untapable. The son of Pulpit is represented by four yearlings who have sold for $1 million or more this week, matching his total from last year’s Keeneland September sale.