09/11/2014 2:22PM

Keeneland September: War Front colt new leader at $2.2 million

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A War Front colt out of Gold Vault sells for $2.2 million Thursday becoming the top seller of the Keeneland September sale.

by Matt Hegarty, Joe Nevills and Nicole Russo

A War Front colt sold for $2.2 million to Coolmore to take over as the Keeneland September sale topper as brisk trade continued in Thursday’s final Book 1 session.

The colt, bred in Kentucky by Cherry Valley Farm, was consigned as agent by Claiborne Farm, which stands both War Front and this colt's broodmare sire, Arch.

The colt was the fifth yearling to sell for $1 million or more during Thursday’s session. His price tag surpassed the $1.6 million Mandy Pope paid for an Unbridled’s Song colt on Tuesday as the sale leader.

"He's a great mover, a lot of quality, and you don't need to say how good Claiborne is," said M.V. Magnier, who signed the ticket for the Coolmore team. "He's obviously is coming from a good farm. As with the others, we'll bring him back to [Coolmore's Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky.] and get him going. He'll most likely go to Europe."

The colt is out of the winning Arch mare Gold Vault, dam of three winners from as many starters. The group is led by Contested, who won the Acorn Stakes and Test Stakes as a 3-year-old.

This colt became the third horse out of Gold Vault to sell for $1 million or more. Contested sold for $2.3 million to Japanese interests when offered at the 2012 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall selected mixed sale at the close of her racing career. Mosler, a winning full brother to this colt, fetched $1.05 million at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale. Mosler earned his second win from four career starts when capturing an allowance race at Belmont Park on Thursday afternoon, just a few hours after his sibling took his star turn in the sale ring.

Out of the winning Seeking the Gold mare Questress, Gold Vault is a half sister to multiple Grade 1 winner and sire Pomeroy; and a full sister to stakes placed winner Acquelleia.

"It's a brilliant pedigree," Magnier said. "With Arch, he's a brilliant broodmare sire of Uncle Mo, and all his progeny have sold very well this week, so if he's anywhere along those lines, we'll be happy to pay for him."

Coolmore stands champion Uncle Mo, whose first yearlings are selling this year, at its Ashford Stud.

Overall, 12 yearlings have sold for seven figures this week at Keeneland, including two by War Front, both sold to Coolmore. The popular young son of Danzig also sired last year’s Keeneland September sale topper, a $2.5-million colt also purchased by Coolmore. The international outfit has campaigned offspring of the stallion that include multiple Group 1 winner Declaration of War.

"[War Front] is a hot sire. He's doing great for us," Claiborne's Walker Hancock said. "We knew [this colt] was going to bring a whole lot of money. We just didn't know how much. Everyone came to see him, everyone liked him. Everyone said what a great athlete he was. No one said anything negative about him."