11/02/2016 11:56AM

Top-class females going right from Breeders' Cup stables to November sales

Email
Barbara D. Livingston
Grade 1 winner Celestine will contest the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, then is cataloged to sell at Keeneland November.

The familiar faces of several top racemares, all in adjacent shed rows, in early November might make you feel as though you were walking the barns at Santa Anita. But the brisk weather and colorful fall leaves at the Fasig-Tipton and Keene-land sale grounds will serve to remind you that, yes, you are in Kentucky.

North America’s major fall sales – the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall selected mixed sale Nov. 7, and the Keeneland November breeding stock sale, beginning the following day – take place just days after the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita. The auctions are thus notable for more than a dozen fillies and mares entered to head straight from the races to the sale grounds as racing or broodmare prospects eligible for major catalog updates – to say nothing of the broodmares already proven as the dams of Breeders’ Cup starters, or weanlings looking to get a boost from siblings.

“It’s like you’re walking around in a hall of fame; it’s like a living museum,” said Mark Taylor, whose family’s Taylor Made Sales will consign a number of dams with Breeders’ Cup entrants, including the dam of Classic favorite California Chrome. “You walk around and it’s all these great horses, and what I love is you get to hone your eye on what makes an athlete run. Everywhere you turn, there’s another Grade 1 winner. . . and you try to find the common denominators.”

:: DRF Breeding Live: Follow through the Breeders' Cup and the November sales for industry updates ::

While the sales following the Breeders’ Cup provide some racing operations an opportune time to capitalize on the value of their top fillies or mares – particularly those who focus on ontrack activity rather than breeding and maintaining a broodmare band – some enter a horse in the sale simply to keep their options open and may choose to withdraw the horse before sale time. Eclipse Award champion Stellar Wind is part of a star-studded field for this year’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff, as she will clash with three-time Eclipse winner Beholder and unbeaten champion Songbird. She is entered for Keeneland November, but trainer John Sadler described the entry as “like flight insurance,” indicating that the plan is to withdraw Stellar Wind for a 2017 campaign, unless anything unforeseen happens. The popular multiple Grade 1 winner Lady Eli was also cataloged for the Keeneland sale, but her connections have also indicated that they are likely to withdraw her and race another year.

Should multiple Grade 1 winner Curalina knock off the “big three” in the Distaff, she would get a major catalog update for the Fasig-Tipton sale, which she is cataloged to, along with her dam, Whatdreamsrmadeof.

One highlight of the Keeneland catalog is Celestine, who has spent most of this season competing in major events at a mile, setting a stakes record winning the Just a Game in June at Belmont and finishing third in the First Lady at Keeneland behind Photo Call and champion Tepin. She will cut back in distance to contest the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.

“I think somebody could buy her and either have a foundation mare or they could possibly have another year of a ton of fun running her in top turf races in 2017,” said Taylor, whose operation would consign the daughter of Scat Daddy.

The Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint could have the biggest commercial effect on the week, because six entrants for the race were cataloged to sell. The group is led by the defending race winner, Wavell Avenue, who is part of the Taylor Made consignment at Fasig-Tipton.

“She’s hopefully rounding into form where she can peak at the Breeders’ Cup again,” Taylor said. “I think if she can do it, it would be a fantastic way to send her off into her broodmare career. It seems like this time of year is where she hits her best stride, and we’re cautiously optimistic that she can do it again.”

Other Filly and Mare Sprint hopefuls entered for the Fasig-Tipton sale are Grade 1 winners Gomo and Haveyougoneaway, as well as Luminance, and Spelling Again. Grade 1 winner Paola Queen will sell across town at Keeneland.

Fasig-Tipton picked up two more Breeders’ Cup contenders when Al’s Gal won the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes at Woodbine to punch her ticket to the Filly and Mare Turf, and dominant maiden winner and Juvenile Fillies candidate Jamyson ’n Ginger was made a supplemental entry. However, the sale also was likely to lose at least one entry, as the Ruis Racing connections of leading Juvenile Fillies contender Union Strike indicated that she would be withdrawn from the auction. Expect the Fasig-Tipton catalog to continue to fluctuate with major updates as sale time approaches. The company accepts selected supplemental entries through the Breeders’ Cup.

“We think it’s another great group of horses that will be presented on that evening, and we’ll hopefully add a few more stars to the show between now and the sale night with an addendum,” Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning said.

The broodmares set to sell at Fasig-Tipton are led by Love the Chase and Bubbler, dams of the favorites for the Breeders’ Cup Classic: 2014 Horse of the Year California Chrome and track-record Travers Stakes winner Arrogate, respectively.

Love the Chase, a daughter of Not For Love, is consigned by Taylor Made Sales, as agent for owner Perry Martin. Martin has already stated that he intends to sell the mare to raise additional capital to put into purchasing mares to support California Chrome at stud. California Chrome is expected to retire to Taylor Made in time for the 2017 breeding season.

Love the Chase will sell in foal to two-time leading sire Tapit, with that offspring bred on the same cross as California Chrome, who is by Lucky Pulpit.

“Everyone has their own stigma they place on California Chrome because he’s by a stallion that was not a household name in Kentucky before he came along,” Taylor said. “If you look at the way Love the Chase is bred, there’s no mystery why she’s a great broodmare. She’s line bred to Dance Number, who was Ogden Phipps’s best mare. The pedigree is there, which is great to talk to people about, and it’s a fun platform to do it. The production is there, but if you look behind just California Chrome, there’s a reason why that happened. The genetics are there.”

Bubbler, who sells in foal to Into Mischief, is consigned by Clearsky Farm.

Classic Strike, dam of Union Strike, is entered to sell at Keeneland November. Also in that book is the broodmare Azara, a half-sister to champion Tepin and multiple graded stakes winner Vyjack, both preparing to start in the Breeders’ Cup. Azara is in foal to Into Mischief, the sire of Vyjack.

The weanling market at Keeneland November has been extremely strong in recent years, establishing a new North American record price for a weanling in each of the last two renewals. Among the select weanlings in Book 1 this year are a Tapizar filly who is a half-sister to unbeaten champion and Breeders’ Cup Distaff contender Songbird, and a Tapit filly who is a half-sister to Dirt Mile entrant Gun Runner.