As Rags to Riches and Curlin dueled during the stretch run of the June 9 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), it was guaranteed that Keeneland would be happy no matter what the outcome. That was because both 3-year-olds passed through the ring during the 2005 September yearling sale and both have gone on to successful careers.
While Curlin and Rags to Riches have been impressive in 2007, they are by no means the only Keeneland September sale graduates to go on to great things. No less than 18 individual grade I winners this year were offered during what has become one of the premier yearling sales in the world.
For example, other prominent 3-year-olds offered at the 2005 sale included Any Given Saturday, Dream Rush, Octave, and Scat Daddy. Rags to Riches was the most expensive of the grade I-winning Keeneland September sale yearlings, as she sold to Demi O'Byrne for $1.9 million, while Any Given Saturday, who cost $1.1 million, was the most expansive colt.
However, more than just the sophomore class has found success in grade I events this year. The distaffers have been represented by sale graduates Balance, Hystericalady, Maryfield, and Pussycat Doll, while Flashy Bull represented the handicap division. Midnight Lute, a sprinter who won the Sept. 1 Forego Stakes (gr. I), was sold in 2004, and turf specialists Jambalaya and English Channel passed through the ring in 2003. Jambalaya was sold for the lowest sum of the grade I winners, finding a new home with Kingfield Racing for $2,500.
Yearlings sold at the Lexington auction house have also gone on to run successfully overseas. The promising juvenile filly Saoirse Abu is now a group I winner in Ireland, while 6-year-old Soldier's Tale, who failed to meet his reserve, is a group I winner in England.
Several other horses that were offered at the sale but failed to meet their reserves have achieved grade I glory as well. Hard Spun brought a bid of $485,000 but failed to sell, and Irish Smoke, who took the Sept. 2 Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) for juvenile fillies, didn't meet her reserve when bidding stopped at $75,000.
In a 15-day sale, one thing is guaranteed: There is bound to be a horse for every need. And as graduates are showing this year, talented horses in every division can be found in every price range.