09/14/2015 2:55PM

Keeneland September: War Front continues solid opening session with $1.45-million filly

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by Joe Nevills and Nicole Russo

A filly by popular commercial sire War Front sold for $1.45 million to Shadwell Farm to take over as the session leader Monday afternoon during the Keeneland September yearling sale’s opening session.

The filly is the first foal out of the Group 3-placed Galileo mare Betterbetterbetter, who made headlines in November 2012 when she topped the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall selected mixed sale, going to Mandy Pope for $5.2 million. The filly was consigned as agent by Timber Town Farm, which boards Pope's mares in Lexington, Ky.

"She'll probably go to England, but I don't know. It'll be up to Sheikh Hamdan," Shadwell manager Rick Nichols said of the new purchase. "I think he could go either way with her. He likes to see them run, and he can do that easier in England than he can do here. She's awfully pretty. He might want her pretty close to keep an eye on her."

Betterbetterbetter is a half sister to Irish classic winner Yesterday and fellow Group 1 winner Quarter Moon. She is also a half sister to two group stakes placed fillies.

Betterbetterbetter was part of a major upgrade of Pope’s broodmare band a few years ago, as she also acquired Horse of the Year Havre de Grace for $10 million at the 2012 Fasig-Tipton November sale, Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty, whose first foal sells tomorrow, for $4.2 million at the 2012 Keeneland November sale, and champion Groupie Doll for $3.1 million at the 2013 Keeneland sale.

"Of the big mares that I bought, I was going to keep Havre de Grace's Tapit," Pope said. "The other one is Plum Pretty's, who is in this sale, and then there was this one. This mare unfortunately did not get back into foal, so she was barren. She's back in foal to Tapit. I needed to sell some to recoup the money that I put into this. Obviously, the easiest way to do it would have been to sell the filly out of Havre de Grace, but I wasn't going to do that."

Pope was pleased to see international connections land Betterbetterbetter's filly.

"She needs to go to England, and I don't race in England," Pope said. "That was a big part of [selling the filly]. She needed to be in different hands than mine. Plans can always change but she's a very international family and grass is going to be her thing, I'm sure, just like the rest of her family, and I think she's in the best of hands. Hopefully she'll be a superstar over there."

This marked the second seven-figure yearling of the day for War Front, who stands at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Ky.