Tapit son tops second day of Keeneland

Plenty of excitement during the second session of Keeneland on Tuesday

PICTURE: Martin Stevens Second day of Keeneland topped by son of Tapit
By Ron Mitchell of Blood-Horse 11:30AM 14 SEP 2016

THE Keeneland September Yearling Sale's second session on Tuesday offered plenty of excitement: a new sale-topper at $1.2 million, an expensive buy-back that turned out to be a mistake, two high-priced yearlings sold by Airdrie Stud, and a continued uptick in prices.

The new topper, a Tapit colt out of Grade 1 winner Hooh Why, was one of the last horses through the ring and bought by JJ Crupi's New Castle Farm for $1.2 million.

Consigned by Baccari Bloodstock, the colt is out of a mare who won the 2009 Grade 1 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland and the 2010 Grade 3 Seaway Stakes at Woodbine among seven stakes wins. The colt was bred in Kentucky by SF Bloodstock.

Hooh Why, a daughter of Cloud Hopping, was a $750,000 RNA at the 2014 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale while carrying the Tapit colt in utero.

"He just had a beautiful body. He had a big walk, and I fell in love with him," Crupi said of the colt. "We weren't leaving here without him. It's going to the racetrack, it's not going to the sale, it's going to become a racehorse. He'll be broken at Crupi's New Castle Farm and then move on probably to Todd Pletcher."

Sale continues to post solid figures

Overall, the sale continued on an uptick, with 119 yearlings sold Tuesday for gross receipts $37,959,000, compared with the $42,965,000 total in 2015 for 142 yearlings during the second session. The session average increased five per cent to $318,983 from $302,570 a year ago, and the median rose 18 per cent to $290,000 from $245,000. The 54 horses that did not sell represented a buyback rate of 31 per cent, nearly identical to the 32 per cent rate in 2015.

After two sessions for a slimmed down Book 1 from last year, Keeneland has sold 227 horses for $72,490,000. At the same point in 2015, 292 had changed hands for receipts of $87,607,000. The cumulative average of $319,339 represents a gain of six per cent over the two-day average of $300,024 last year, and the cumulative median is up 12 per cent to $280,000 from $250,000. The cumulative RNA rate is 33 per cent (32 per cent in 2015).

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Keeneland sales director Geoffrey Russell said the day two results were in line with the first session and other auctions this year in which there is reluctance by buyers to go over $1 million for a yearling.

"There were 25 horses in the $500,000-$999,999 range, compared with 18 last year," Russell said. "It is nice to see strength at that level, but you also like to have breakout horses."

Havre De Grace son a $1.9 million RNA

A colt that could have topped the auction and was one of the most highly anticipated offerings at the sale – a son of War Front out of horse of the year Havre De Grace – was bought back by Mandy Pope's Whisper Hill Farm for $1.9 million, apparently by mistake.

Not long after the colt went through the ring, Pope met with the media to apologise to those who had bid on the youngster and to explain that the reserve price was to have been lower than that amount. However, due to some mix-up, the bidding continued beyond what the breeder believed the reserve to be and the reserve that had been told to some potential buyers.

"A mistake got made, the correct people have taken the responsibility for it, but it is what it is, we can't go back and change it," Pope said, adding the colt is still for sale but that she is also comfortable with keeping him and racing him. "So what I would like to say is: I apologise to the agents who thought we were trying to take advantage of them; we certainly were not."

The colt out of the mare Whisper Hill bought for $10 million was consigned by Wayne and Cathy Sweezey's Timber Town.

Russell said the RNA mix-up was between Pope and her consignor.

"The reserve we were given is what we went to. If there is any difference between that and the conversation she had with Wayne [Sweezey] I'm not party to it. I have not talked personally to Mandy so I can't speak to that."

Airdrie sell two lots for $900,000

The day's co-second-highest price of $900,000 was paid for yearlings from Airdrie Stud, the Kentucky nursery owned by former Kentucky governor Brereton C Jones.

The first at that level was a Tapit colt produced from the Proud Citizen mare Believe You Can, whose eight wins in 14 starts included the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks for owner-breeder Jones. Airdrie offered Believe You Can for sale at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November Sale when she was carrying the Tapit colt, buying her back on a final bid of $4.9 million.

Airdrie's second $900,000 yearling was a War Front colt out of Don't Trick Her (Mazel Trick). He is a half-brother to two-time Grade 1 winner Include Me Out, Grade 1 scorer Check the Label, and stakes winner On the Menu. He was purchased by Japan-based Shadai Farm.

After two sessions, Taylor Made Sales Agency is leading consignor, with 31 sold for $9,912,000. Shadwell is leading buyer, with eight purchases for a total $4,600,000.

The third and final session of Book 1 begins at 11am local time on Wednesday.

    Read More at Racing Post Bloodstock

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