It did not take long for the second session of the Keeneland September yearling sale to reach the seven-figure mark Sept. 12, with Mandy Pope paying $1 million for a gray/roan filly by Unbridled's Song out of the Silver Deputy mare Silvery Swan.
The filly, Hip No. 116, was bred by Betz Thoroughbreds/Needham/Liberation Farm/Hill ‘n’ Dale and was consigned by Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency. She is a half sister to three graded stakes winners: Haskell Invitational Stakes (gr. I) winner and top sire Roman Ruler; Cigar Mile Handicap (gr. I) winner and sire El Corredor; and grade III winner and producer Silver Tornado. The yearling is also a half sister to grade I-placed Maimonides.
Pope, who acknowledged she had never spent seven figures for a horse before, hopes her recent acquisition can run as well as her half brothers.
“We are more inclined to spend that kind of money on a mare because if something does go wrong with her racing career, she is a wonderful broodmare and I still have a very classy horse with great future ahead of her,” Pope said. “I have never spent this kind of money on a horse before but I just fell in love with her. I have a thing about grays anyway.”
In addition to the filly’s pedigree, Pope said she was attracted to the May 22, 2010 foal because of her conformation and disposition.
“Physically she was very classy,” Pope said. “She is well balanced. She’s a little immature but she’s going to grow. She has the correct length of body to go with her legs, which sometimes you have to watch with Unbridled’s Songs a little bit. She’s very elegant; very classy. Her attitude is wonderful. Nothing fazed her.”
While Pope said the final price is in line with what she expected to pay, Pope said some of the other horses through the ring during the first two days of the sale had exceeded her projections.
“The prices have been very good, even for some of the horses I was not that high on,” Pope said. “I think people are feeling a little bit more confident for whatever reason.”
Pope said she has 25 broodmares at her Whisper Hill Farm near Citra, Fla. Whisper Hill Farm is the breeder of dual grade I winner and top handicap male of 2011 Tizway .