Half-brother to Beholder stars at Keeneland

Beholder: her Scat Daddy half-brother was snapped up by MV Magnier

PICTURE: Jeff Gross/Getty Images Half-brother to Beholder makes $3m at Keeneland
By Ron Mitchell of Blood-Horse 12:35PM 15 SEP 2016

BUYERS' appetites for yearlings by leading sires Tapit and War Front fueled a frenzied third session of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale on Wednesday, which was topped by a Scat Daddy colt sold for $3 million.

After the first two sessions, in which the seven-figure mark proved mostly elusive, there were six yearlings that brought prices of $1 million or more Wednesday. Three were by Gainesway's leading sire Tapit and two by Claiborne Farm's War Front.

For the session, Keeneland reported 119 yearlings averaged $401,134, up nearly 30 per cent over the comparable session a year ago for a gross of $47,735,000. A larger Book 1 catalogue last year saw 151 horses bring $46,754,000. The session median rose 20 per cent to $300,000 from $250,000, and the buy back rate was just shy of 25 per cent.

For the three days, 346 yearlings changed hands for a total $120,225,000. Last year 443 lots totaled $134,361,000. This year's Book 1 average price of $347,471 represented a 15 per cent increase over the $303,298 average a year ago; this year's three-day median was identical to the Day 3 figure of $300,000 and last year's Book 1 median was $250,000.

"We definitely broke through the glass ceiling today," Geoffry Russell, Keeneland's sales director said of the six big transactions. "We expected that the Scat Daddy would be up there. The highest price since 2010? No [we didn't expect that], but we're delighted that it did.

"There was a sense of urgency today," the sales executive said. "I think people realized this was the end of Book 1. The end of when the top physicals and the top pedigrees met, so if you we're going to play you needed to play. They got busy."

Beholder's half-brother brings $3 million

Not surprisingly, considering his sire and female family, the star of the show was hip 454, a son of the late Coolmore sire Scat Daddy and a half-brother to three-time champion Beholder. Winning the protracted bidding battle that elicited applause at its conclusion was MV Magnier, representing interests associated with Coolmore. The $3 million price tag was the highest at the September Sale since Mr Besilu was purchased by Besilu Stables for $4.2 million at the 2010 auction.

Consigned by Clarkland Farm, the colt is not only a half-brother to Beholder, the three-time champion who has won 17 of 22 starts and earned more than $4.7 million, but to Grade 1 winner and promising young sire Into Mischief. Beholder was a $180,000 Keeneland September purchase by B Wayne Hughes' Spendthrift Farm.

"He's by Scat Daddy and he's out of an exceptional race filly," Magnier said noting the colt. "He's a very good mover, he's very good looking, and from a very good family. We had a lot of luck with Scat Daddy in the past and hopefully it will continue."

Leslie's Lady has become a blue hen mare for Clarkland, operated by Fred and Nancy Mitchell and Marty Buckner, which bought her for $100,000 from the Estate of James T. Hines at the 2006 Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

"You see such interest, especially in long-term investments looking for stallion potentials," Russell said. "The bidding on [the sale topper] was very exciting."

Eaton's Tapit colt lights up bid board

Coolmore also played a role in the sale's second-highest price horse, a Tapit half-brother to multiple Grade 1 winner Mucho Macho Man, purchased in partnership with Bridlewood Farm for $2 million.

"In my opinion he was certainly the nicest Tapit in the sale and he has a stallion pedigree," said Bridlewood general manager George Isaacs. "My appraisal was at the $1.5 million $1.75 million-level, so obviously somebody was right below us trying to get the horse, but at that level, another bid is usually what it takes."

Consigned by Eaton Sales as hip 561, the colt is out of Stakes winner Ponce De Leona, and bred in Kentucky by Brushwood Stable. Mucho Macho Man, the mare's second foal, won nine races, including the Breeders' Cup Classic, and finished third in the Kentucky Derby to earn more than $5.6 million in prize-money.

Sheikh Hamdan's Shadwell Estate Company was the Book 1 leading buyer, with 15 bought for $10,750,000. Included in the group was the sale's third-highest priced yearling, a War Front colt produced from the stakes winner Prize Catch, a half-sister to multiple Grade 2 winner Lead Story and from the female family of millionaire Unbridled Elaine.

The colt, hip 571, was bred in Kentucky by W S Farish and Lazy F Ranch.

With 50 sold for gross receipts of $16,387,000, Taylor Made was leading consignor, followed by Gainesway, with 22 bringing $10,570,000. Lane's End was a close third, with a gross of $10,407,000 for 30 sold.

Following a one-day break the sale resumes on September 16 in Lexington with daily sessions beginning at 10am local time (2pm GMT).

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