Medaglia D’Oro colt on top at Keeneland

The Keeneland September Yearling Sale got underway on Monday

PICTURE: Keeneland – Coady Photography Medaglia D'Oro colt tops first day of Keeneland
By Ron Mitchell of Blood-Horse 11:34AM 13 SEP 2016

BOOSTED by a broad-based international buying bench and the appeal of top-caliber sires Medaglia D'Oro, Tapit, and War Front, the marathon Keeneland September Yearling Sale had a solid opening on Monday.

For the session, which was trimmed slightly in size from a year ago, Keeneland reported 108 horses sold for $34,531,000, compared with the $44,642,000 paid for 150 head during the 2015 opener. The average of $319,731 represented a seven per cent gain over the day one figure of $297,163 last year; the median of $267,500 was up slightly from the $265,000 in 2015.

The 60 horses that did not sell represented an RNA rate of 36 per cent, compared with 31 per cent last year. There was one seven-figure yearling this year, one less than on day one last year. There were 25 horses sold in the $500,000-$999,999 range, up from 19 in 2015.

Keeneland officials said they were pleased with the results and that the figures were indicative of stability in the marketplace.

"There was good strength at the top end of the market," said Keeneland sales director Geoffrey Russell. "[There was] selective bidding as we anticipated and have seen in other markets."

"The word stable feels like it might be appropriate here, because we saw our average up and the median was just a tick up over last year, with fewer offerings," said Bob Elliston, vice-president of racing and sales. "To have your $500,000-999,999 to be up and to have your average and your median comparable or a little better than last year, we're pretty pleased with that."

Russell said the diversity of buyers and stiff competition for the better horses were good signs going forward for the sale that runs through to September 25.

Magnier acquires Medaglia D'Oro colt for $1m

Topping the day's action was a Medaglia D'Oro colt bought by MV Magnier on behalf of Coolmore Stud interests for $1 million.

Magnier said the colt reminded him of Australian champion two-year-old Vancouver, a son of Medaglia D'Oro who won the Group 1 2015 Golden Slipper. Coolmore sold Vancouver at auction and later purchased the colt in partnership with China Horse Club.

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Consigned as Hip 48 by Taylor Made Sales Agency, the colt was bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings and is out of Smart Strike's stakes-winning daughter Spring Party, a half-sister to grade I winner Emcee and to the dam of grade I winner Constitution.

Stonestreet purchased Spring Party for $525,000 from Taylor Made at the 2012 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale.

"It's a lot of money to pay for a horse, but he's very good-looking and the lads seemed to like him," Magnier said. "He was a very nice horse, he reminded us a lot of Vancouver and he's exceptional looking horse, so if he's anything like him we're in good shape."

Magnier said the colt would most likely remain in the US to be raced.

Ferguson to $900,000 for War Front filly

A War Front filly who had a significant update in her pedigree brought the day's second-highest price of $900,000 when bought by John Ferguson on behalf of Sheikh Mohammed.

Consigned as Hip 166, by Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Sweezey's Timber Town, as agent, the filly is the first foal out of Aloof, a Group 3-winning daughter of top international sire Galileo. Second dam Airwave was a Group 1 winner and is granddam of Group 1 hero Churchill.

On Sunday, a day before the first session of the Keeneland sale, Churchill won the Group 1 National Stakes at the Curragh in Ireland.

The filly was bred in Kentucky by Mandy Pope's Whisper Hill Farm, who purchased Aloof for $3.9 million with the War Front filly in utero at the 2014 Keeneland November Sale.

"She's a beautiful filly, very athletic, and obviously the sire, War Front, has done very well over the last few years and he's just progressing and building, and being out of a Galileo mare makes her very attractive," said Ferguson. "It's a great family, we're delighted to have her not only as a racehorse but also as a future broodmare. So yeah, we feel good."

Ferguson said the filly's appeal, and price, were enhanced by the international nature of her pedigree and that she would likely be campaigned in Europe.

"I would say so," the agent said in reference to whether he knew the filly would cost $900,000. "She was one of the better European pedigrees in the book, and people underestimate how difficult it is to breed yearlings that look like that. So they deserve to be paid for when they come along."

Claiborne shocked that Zenyatta relation not sold

One yearling who could have been among the session toppers was a War Front ridgling produced from a half-sister to horse of the year Zenyatta and three-time Grade 1 winner Balance.

Consigned by Claiborne Farm, he was bought back on a final bid of $950,000.

Claiborne's Walker Hancock was surprised that the ridgling did not reach his reserve price, which he said was close to the RNA price.

"I don't really know; I'm shocked," Hancock said, adding that some buyers may be more reserved in their bidding during the sale's opening session with so many more days remaining.

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