11/13/2017 3:16PM

Lots of depth to first-crop sires at Keeneland November sale

Barbara D. Livingston
Honor Code has had eight weanlings sell for an average of $179,375.

The fall sale season in Kentucky is the first serious measuring stick for the commercial viability of a new stallion’s foals at auction, and gives buyers multiple opportunities to inspect and purchase weanlings on the public market.

There was little surprise when the clear early leader of this year’s class was Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, whose average price at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale through the halfway point was more than double his next-closest contemporary.

American Pharoah, a 5-year-old son of Pioneerof the Nile, has had five weanlings sell at this year’s Keeneland November sale for an average price of $416,000. He is also the leading first-year weanling sire by gross through the sale’s first three books at $2,080,000.

The most expensive of the group was a colt out of the Harlan’s Holiday mare J Z Warrior who sold to Scott and Evan Dilworth for $575,000, making him the most expensive first-crop weanling of the sale thus far. Reiley McDonald’s Eaton Sales consigned the colt, as agent.

“There would have been some premium if it had been some plain old average American Pharoah just walking through here, but there’s not an average one in the bunch,” McDonald said. “They have their daddy’s shoulder, length, scope, and apparently from the little I’ve seen in my barn and what I’ve heard talking amongst friends, they’ve got his temperament.”

American Pharoah stands at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky., for a private fee.

While American Pharoah is the headliner of this year’s incoming class, it’s an especially deep group, both in buzz when they entered stud and the reception of their weanlings at the November sale.

Coming in second by average is champion Honor Code, whose eight weanlings to sell brought an average of $179,375.

His highest-priced offering of the sale thus far was a half-brother to Grade 1 winner General Quarters, out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Ecology, who went to Mayberry Farm for $370,000.

Honor Code, a 6-year-old son of A.P. Indy, resides at Lane’s End in Versailles, where he is advertised in 2018 for $40,000.

“They’re well made over all,” said Allaire Ryan of Lane’s End. “They have good bone, they’re very well balanced. They’re attractive, smooth-bodied. They just have a lot of quality. They’re clean looking.

“He’s very much like that himself. He was, as a yearling, probably the most impressive yearling I’ve ever seen. He consistently puts quality into his foal. They’re very classic looking. We’re just really pleased with how they’ve been received.”

Breeders’ Cup Dirt mile winner Liam’s Map ranks third, with 11 weanlings sold for an average of $146,818.

Dennis O’Neill landed the most expensive Liam’s Map, a colt out of the Grade 3-placed Pollard’s Vision mare Aqua Regia for $310,000, as agent for Vincent Viola’s St. Elias Stables. Viola co-campaigned Liam’s Map during his ontrack career.

“Obviously, he’s going to try to make that stallion, and he’s got some really nice babies that we’ve seen out here,” O’Neill said. “In my opinion, Liam’s Map has been in the top three or four weanling [sires] that I’ve seen out here. They’re really nice-looking weanlings. I hope he keeps him and races him, and he wins the Derby, and Vinnie doesn’t forget about me.”

Liam’s Map, a 6-year-old Unbridled’s Song horse, also stands at Lane’s End. He is advertised for $25,000.

Fourth among first-year weanling sires is Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Bayern, who had seven horses sell for an average of $139,286. The 6-year-old son of Offlee Wild stands at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms in Lexington, Ky., for $15,000.

The most expensive Bayern weanling of the sale through the first week was a colt out of the Curlin mare Sweet Destiny who went to Rocco Bloodstock for $220,000.

Gabriel Duignan purchased a Bayern colt out of the stakes-placed Holy Bull mare Holy Dazzle for $180,000.

“I’ve liked them all week,” Duignan said about the Bayern foals. “I thought there were some very nice, straight, fast bodies. They look like they’ll be 2-year-olds. I think he’s making a nice horse. He was a great racehorse himself.”

Rounding out the top five is Summer Front, whose four foals sold averaged $138,750. Summer Front, an 8-year-old War Front horse, stands at Airdrie Stud in Midway, Ky., for $10,000.

Leading the way for the stallion was a colt out of the Distorted Humor mare Psychadelacized who sold to bloodstock agent Steven Young for $200,000.

“He has been extremely consistent with what he’s been throwing,” said Bret Jones of Airdrie Stud. “All the foals that we have on the farm have a great hip and hind leg. They have that sort of War Front look, but they probably have a little more leg under them. What people are seeing on the sales grounds is what we’ve seen on the farm, and that’s that Summer Front is throwing good-looking horses.”