11/11/2013 12:07PM

Mares in foal to Frankel highlight fall mixed sales

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Benoit & Associates
Grade 1 winner Mi Sueno sold for $1.9 million at the Fasig-Tipton November sale to help mares in foal to Frankel average seven figures at the Kentucky fall mixed sales.

The premier Kentucky fall mixed sales are always of note on the international bloodstock calendar. But this month, they sent an extra ripple through the market, as mares carrying foals from the initial crop of unbeaten champion Frankel were offered at public auction for the first time.

Two-time European Horse of the Year Frankel completed his first season at owner-breeder Khalid Abdullah’s Banstead Manor Stud in Newmarket, England, having covered 133 mares, with 126 confirmed in foal as of July. In total, four of those were sold between the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky selected fall mixed sale and the Keeneland November breeding stock sale, fetching an average price of $1,437,500.

The group was led by a pair of Grade 1-winning mares sold to Japanese interests during the one-night Fasig-Tipton sale. In Lingerie was purchased for $2.4 million by Shadai Farm, while Mi Sueno sold for $1.9 million to Katsumi Yoshida. Both were among a small group of U.S.-based mares who were shipped overseas to be bred to Frankel – a somewhat unconventional move.

“Certainly, you hold your breath,” said Aron Wellman, president of Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, which campaigned In Lingerie in partnership with Gary Barber. “There are so many things beyond your control. You need the right horse that will cooperate, and she handled the entire journey so well. I tip my hat off to the mare. It was not an easy task we challenged her with, and she was the right mare to do it.

“It’s a lot more details than one would think,” he added. “You don’t just book a first-class ticket and send the mare over. A lot goes into it. Once you’ve pushed all your chips into the center, you really hope the ‘flop’ goes your way. There were a lot of moving parts.”

Meg Levy’s Bluewater Sales consigned both In Lingerie, a daughter of Empire Maker who won the Grade 1 Spinster Stakes at Keeneland, and the Pulpit mare Mi Sueno, a Grade 1-winning juvenile out of Grade 1 winner Madcap Escapade. A visibly emotional Levy echoed Wellman’s sentiments following the sale of In Lingerie. 

“She did everything right,” Levy said. “She jumped through every hoop. Watching her walk around this ring brings a tear to my eye. She’s a really, really special mare, and I’m just really happy and pleased to be able to have the opportunity to be around her. Having her at the farm, and having her go to Europe, and come back, and watching her jump through every hoop is just really special.”

In Lingerie and Mi Sueno were just two of the Grade/Group 1 winners in the remarkable first book of Frankel, who won all 14 of his starts, including 10 Group 1 events, to bankroll $4,789,144. The Galileo stallion’s roster for his initial season included Eclipse Award winners Zagora and Stacelita; two-time Japanese Horse of the Year Vodka; Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf winner Midday; 2011 Kentucky Broodmare of the Year Oatsee; multiple Group 1 winner Dar Re Mi; and multiple Grade 1 winner Balance, a half-sister to 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta.

“It’s very much like [2009 European Horse of the Year] Sea The Stars, where [his owners] had the whole world of mares to pick from, and more were rejected than accepted,” John G. Sikura of Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms said.

Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, as agent, was one of two outfits that consigned regally bred mares in foal to Frankel at the Keeneland November sale. The Dansili mare Reaching went for $675,000 to Reiko and Michael Baum during the second session of the Keeneland November sale. The mare is a three-quarter sister to European champion Peeping Fawn and a half-sister to Group 1 winner and freshman sire Thewayyouare, from the family of prolific broodmare Better Than Honour.

One day earlier, Hunter Valley Farm, as agent, consigned Tashzara, purchased for $775,000 by Town and Country Farm. The Intikhab mare is, interestingly, a half-sister to Excelebration, a Group 1 winner who placed behind Frankel in five group stakes in Europe.

Frankel’s international appeal presented a unique opportunity at the Kentucky sales, as buyers had the first opportunity to purchase stock prior to the major bloodstock auctions in the stallion’s home base of Europe.

“They have an opportunity to buy mares here that may not cost as much as they would at Tattersalls or Goffs,” Sikura said.

Shannon Potter, who signed the ticket on Tashzara for Town and Country, echoed that mindset after his purchase.

“[Frankel] was the main reason we were attracted to the mare,” Potter said. “She’s a nice mare with a nice European pedigree. We wanted to buy one here instead of having to go overseas to try to get one.”

Following his first Northern Hemisphere breeding season, Frankel was made available to a limited number of mares on Southern Hemisphere time. His popularity also clearly extends to Asia, where In Lingerie and Mi Sueno are headed. Dr. Mitsuru Ikeda, who signed the ticket for the former on behalf of Shadai, said the operation has mares of its own in foal to Frankel.

“Frankel, of course, he’s unbeaten,” Ikeda said, beaming when asked about the stallion. “We have two mares in foal to Frankel, and we are very, very excited.”

Attention will soon shift overseas for the premier European breeding stock auctions. Three mares in foal to Frankel are cataloged at the Goffs November breeding stock sale in Ireland, which runs from Nov. 22-23. The mares includes Song, a Sadler’s Wells full sister to Irish classic winner Yesterday and to Group 1 winner Quarter Moon. Song is from the family of Betterbetterbetter, who topped the Fasig-Tipton November sale at $5.2 million.

Ten mares in foal to Frankel are cataloged at the Tattersalls December mare sale, Dec. 2-5. The group includes Laurelei, an Oratorio half-sister to champion Cape Blanco, who was scratched out of the Hunter Valley consignment at Keeneland November.