01/12/2017 12:56PM

Stallions' books filling at Keeneland January

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Keeneland Photo
Taylor Made acquired Delightful Joy at the Keeneland January sale.

As one of the final public auctions before Kentucky breeding sheds open in February, the Keeneland January sale of horses of all ages provides owners a chance to bolster the book of an incoming stallion. Several partners in the new stallions of 2017 were aggressively bidding during the sale’s high-end Book 1 portion this week.

“It was good to see the number of breeders investing in mares for their newly retired stallions,” Keeneland director of sales Geoffrey Russell said, noting that as a point of strength during the first two days.

Albaugh Family Stables purchased six mares for a total of $897,000 during Book 1 to send to Grade 3 winner Not This Time, whose promising career was cut short by an injury after finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. That group of mares for the new Taylor Made stallion was led by the $270,000 Dream Your Dreams, a daughter of leading sire Tapit and a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Frost Giant. They are half-siblings to several other stakes horses.

The Albaughs, working through Steve Castagnola’s Kempton Bloodstock, also purchased multiple stakes winner On the Backstreets for $235,000.

The Albaughs have two young stallions to support this year, with dual Grade 1 winner Brody’s Cause entering stud at Spendthrift Farm. However, their focus at the January sale was building the book for Not This Time, retired only about six weeks prior.

“It really saddens me that his racing career [ended] too soon,” Dennis Albaugh said. “I’m so proud of his dam, Miss Macy Sue, whom we still have. She had really delivered with quality stakes horses like Taylor S and Liam’s Map before, and now Not This Time. I am very excited about staying a part of his stallion career.”

Also new to Taylor Made’s expanded stallion roster is multiple graded stakes winner Protonico, who raced as a homebred for Oussama Aboughazale. The owner recently purchased the former Belvedere Farm in Paris, Ky., and is building a broodmare band. He led Keeneland’s Book 1 buyers by gross, acquiring 11 horses for $2,251,000. His top two purchases, the $700,000 Delightful Joy and $575,000 Joyfully, are tabbed to visit popular commercial sire War Front, but he plans to send several others to Protonico.

“I just bought my farm here, and we have to stock it up with nice mares,” Aboughazale said. “You have to start well. That’s why we’re buying nice mares.”

One new stallion Taylor Made is not worried about shopping for at the moment, however, is champion California Chrome, whom it co-owns with Perry Martin and other partners. Mark Taylor said most shareholders, who were busy during Kentucky’s November mixed sales, have already finalized their plans for the leading moneymaker’s debut season.

“We’ve gotten most of our orders filled,” Taylor said. “There’s still a couple shareholders who want to add one or two more real high-quality mares, so we’ve been shopping privately. We still have a couple of orders if they can find the right mare.”

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red raced for a partnership including Erich Brehm, Wayne Detmar, Gene Voss, and Lee Michaels, along with trainer Keith Desormeaux. Brehm purchased five mares for $238,000 during Keeneland January’s first book, with the lone six-figure purchase among those being the stakes-placed Officer mare Ainsley.

“We are committed to seeing him succeed in his next career,” Brehm said. “[Among] the partners, we are looking to purchase a number of quality broodmares over the next few months in order to breed to Texas Red. We will aggressively buy and sell Texas Red babies and will be sending many of them to Keith for training.”

Texas Red, who will stand at Crestwood Farm, is one of two former Desormeaux trainees entering stud this year in Kentucky; the other is Preakness Stakes winner Exaggerator at WinStar Farm. Desormeaux signed for two horses during Book 1, one the active broodmare Bridge Game and the other an unraced racing or broodmare prospect.

The moniker Anchor Down Mares, representing the first-year Gainesway stallion, purchased two mares for $44,000, including Danceinthesunlight, from the family of champion and blue hen Dance Smartly. Hill ‘n’ Dale Bloodstock, indicating that it was shopping for new stallion Flintshire, purchased Singwiththebirds for $75,000; the mare is a winning half-sister to Canadian Horse of the Year Up With the Birds. Flintshire is standing at Hill ‘n’ Dale for that farm and partners Juddmonte Farm, S.F. Bloodstock, and China Horse Club.

Brad Kelley’s Calumet Farm purchased 10 horses – both mares and newly turned yearlings – in Book 1 for a total of $499,000. Calumet stands 18 stallions in Kentucky, including four newcomers.