Brushwood Stables jewels in strong demand

Unrivaled Belle: Breeders' Cup winner was bought by Mandy Pope

PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos) Brushwood Stables jewels in strong demand
By Michele MacDonald 1:34AM 10 NOV 2016

A TROVE of bloodstock from internationally prominent breeder and owner Brushwood Stable paraded through the Keeneland sale pavilion ring on Wednesday, with 15 mares and weanlings selling for a total of $10,715,000, or 20 per cent of the day's overall $52,764,000 turnover for 138 horses sold.

Mandy Pope, who bought two of Brushwood's marquee mares – Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic winner Unrivaled Belle for a sale-topping $3.8 million and Grade 1-placed stakes winner Miss Empire for $1,050,000 – said it was bittersweet to watch the stars gathered over the years by Brushwood owner Betty Moran being sold.

"Hopefully, I can continue the legacy she has built," Pope said after signing the ticket on Unrivaled Belle, who was sold in foal to Tapit.

"[Moran] has been very successful and put a lot of hard work into it and loved it. I hope to continue with that."

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Moran, whose stable has been based in Malvern, Pennsylvania, bred Cheveley Park Stud's 2003 European champion filly Russian Rhythm and raced 1985 Belmont Stakes winner Crème Fraiche as well as 2000 Grand National winner Papillon.

In September, Brushwood sold the second highest-priced yearling at Keeneland when MV Magnier and Bridlewood Farm joined together to spend $2m on a Tapit colt who is a half-brother to Breeders' Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man.

Agent Reiley McDonald, who bought Mucho Macho Man's dam, Ponche De Leona, on behalf of Moran for $775,000 to top the 2014 Keeneland January sale, is handling the sale of Brushwood's horses at the November auction through his Eaton Sales and has long been Moran's bloodstock adviser.

McDonald declined to comment on the ongoing sale, which has not been described by Keeneland officials as a dispersal but has included many of Brushwood's top stock.

"I thought they sold very well," said Geoffrey Russell, director of Keeneland sale operations, of the Brushwood horses. "Mrs Moran has always had nice mares and mated them well. It was good to see the market react favorably to them."

Pope had to fend off Carlos Heller of Chilean-based Don Alberto Corp to land Unrivaled Belle, a big, dappled grey who entered the ring with her head held high and her ears pricked. After a long pause, Heller bid $3.75m, but Pope quickly fired back at $3.8m to prevail, although she said that was about her limit.

"She's gorgeous," declared Pope after signing the ticket. "And what a hell of a racemare."

Moran bought Unrivaled Belle at Keeneland in 2011 as a broodmare prospect for $2.8m after the daughter of Unbridled's Song out of Grade 2 winner Queenie Belle earned $1.85m while racing.

To date, Unrivaled Belle has produced three foals, including a promising juvenile filly by Tapit named Unique Bella. Unrivaled Belle's yearling filly by Malibu Moon was purchased by leading Japanese owner Koji Maeda's North Hills Co at the Keeneland September sale for $550,000.

Miss Empire, a six-year-old by Empire Maker who is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Bordonaro, was sold to Pope while in foal to Medaglia D'Oro. Miss Empire's weanling filly by Tapit followed her through the ring and was sold for $975,000 to Peter Brant's White Birch Farm.

Another intriguing entry in the Brushwood collection, multiple Group 1-placed Laughing Lashes, who finished third in the 2011 Irish 1,000 Guineas behind the Coolmore duo of Misty For Me and Together, sold for $450,000 to David and Diane Nagle's Barronstown Stud.

David Nagle said Laughing Lashes, an eight-year-old by Mr Greeley who is out of a half sister to Racing Post Trophy winner Palace Episode, would likely remain in America. She is currently in foal to Medaglia D'Oro after producing a Medaglia D'Oro filly this year and a colt by the same sire in 2015.

Other buyers of Brushwood horses included China Horse Club and the partnership of SF Bloodstock with Australia's Newgate Farm.

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