09/16/2016 11:56AM

Pope prominent figure during Book 1 sessions


As a high-level player on both sides of the auction ring, Mandy Pope was on a roller-coaster ride during Book 1 of the Keeneland September yearling sale.

The Florida-based owner of Whisper Hill Farm bred the most-expensive filly of Monday’s opening session, a $900,000 daughter of War Front out of the Galileo mare Aloof, whom Pope bought for $3.9 million at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall select mixed sale. She was swept up in controversy the following day when a War Front colt out of 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace, whom Pope bought for $10 million as a broodmare, unexpectedly hammered as a $1.9 million buyback instead of a sale following an error in submitting the colt’s reserve.

Pope bounced back to close the auction’s select sessions with authority Wednesday, buying a pair of seven-figure Tapit fillies in succession.

The first was a $1.4 million filly out of the Grade 2-winning Giant’s Causeway mare Quiet Giant, making her a half-sister to multiple Grade 2 winner Gun Runner.

Quiet Giant is a half-sister to 2005 Horse of the Year Saint Liam, Grade 3 winner Congressionalhonor, stakes winner Dance Quietly, Grade 1-placed Miss Besilu, Grade 2-placed American Dance, and Grade 1 producer Beatem Buster.

“They’re two Tapits but two totally different fillies,” Pope said. “The first Tapit, the half to Gun Runner, is more of your usual Tapit conformation and Tapit size. The other filly is much larger and scopier and leggier than the normal Tapit.”

No sooner did the ink dry on the ticket than the next one was headed Pope’s way, a $1.1 million filly out of the Grade 2-winning Quiet American mare Quiet Temper. It is the family of champion Heavenly Prize and Grade 1 winners Dancing Spree, Fantastic Find, Finder’s Fee, Good Reward, and Oh What a Windfall.

“We fell in love with her,” Pope said. “She reminded us a great deal of [Grade 1-placed] Tap to It ... we’ve been calling her ‘Tap to It Jr.’ all week. Tap to It is a different type of Tapit, too. They’re the same leggy, rangy kind of fillies.”

The new purchases will join Havre de Grace’s War Front colt at Whisper Hill Farm in Citra, Fla., to continue their development and receive early training, then go to GoldMark Farm in nearby Ocala to work toward the racetrack.

However, Pope said her expensive buyback was still very much on the market, either as an outright purchase or as a partnership opportunity.

“I’m happy with him,” she said. “I think God wanted me to keep him, so he’ll be on his way back [to Whisper Hill Farm], and I’m sure if anyone is interested, they know how to get in touch with me or Wayne. I want to get him back home and to his happy environment.”