A record price for a juvenile filly sold at Keeneland was established during the one-day 2-year-old in training sale April 17 when California billionaire B. Wayne Hughes went to $1.75 million for a daughter of Mineshaft .
The price for the sale-topping filly broke the previous record of $1.25 million, set in 1999 for Lochlin Slew (Seattle Slew--Lochlin). Hughes also purchased Lochlin Slew.
While the Central Kentucky auction company registered one record, total numbers for the sale took a dive with the exception of the median which showed a positive gain, increasing 3.3% over last year's figure.
For the sale, Keeneland reported 82 horses sold for a gross $16,637,000, an average of $202,890. The median was $155,000, with 73 hips (47.1%) failing to meet their reserves.
Compared to last year, the number of horses sold dropped 5.7% and the gross was down 9.8%. The average fell 4.3%.
Last year, the sale grossed $18,440,000 for 87 hips sold. The average was $211,954 and the median $150,000. Sixty hips (40.8%) failed to meet their reserves.
Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland's director of sales, wasn't overly disappointed with the final numbers. "I think this is just what you call a 2-year-old sale," he said. "Whether it be Polytrack or main track or whatever, it is just the dynamics of a 2-year-old sale."
Russell said he did not believe the workouts over Polytrack negatively affected the outcome of the sale. "It (2-year-old sales) is a high risk, high reward business and it is the highest risk of any segment of our market," he said. "I think there was a little uncertainty before the first breeze show, but after that I don't think there was any. The horses came out of it well and we have always said Polytrack was a sound, safe surface and now we know it is fast and the horses can bounce right out of it. We want these horses to go on to the buyers in a condition where they can continue their training and go on and win races."
The record-setting filly was bred in Kentucky by Formal Gold and was originally purchased for $400,000 at the 2006 Keeneland September yearling sale by her consignors, Randy Hartley and Dean DeRenzo of Hartley/DeRenzo Thoroughbreds.
The striking and powerful-looking filly breezed an eighth of a mile in :9 3/5 to equal the juvenile auction workout record for that distance during the first pre-sale workout show April 9.
After the breeze show, Hartley called the filly "awesome," saying she was one of the best Mineshaft 2-year-olds on the market. "She's got that catty 'I'm it' kind of walk. She's really big, and she looks like a colt."
The filly, produced from the Forty Niner mare Stylish Talent and from the family of stakes winners Stylish Star, Sentimental Value, and Brownie Points, will be sent to the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella, who was involved in her selection.
"She is a great talent and a beautiful filly. She just has everything," said Seth Semkin, racing manager for Hughes. "I don't know if I have ever seen a filly at one of these sales that I liked better than her. She just speaks for herself, I think."
Concerning her workout time, the California-based Semkin said, "Obviously, the talent she shows is a big part of the equation," he said. "Her physical type to be able to stride out and gallop out the way she did was exceptional. I had her going (galloping out) in :20.1."
The racing manager added her ability to get over the synthetic surface was another plus in her column.
Semkin said Hughes dropped out of the bidding at one point, but quickly rejoined the fray, which included Jimmy Bell, representing Sheikh Mohammed's Darley operation, who was the underbidder.
The day's top-priced colt was a bay son of Mr. Greeley purchased for $600,000 by Centrnnial Farms from the consignment of Kirkwood Stables, agent.
Bred in Kentucky by Spendthrift Farm, Robby Rankin, and Mark Meeks, the colt was originally purchased for $22,000 by Bobby Rankin at the 2005 Keeneland November mixed sale. He worked a quarter of a mile in :21.0 April 9.
"We came here this year to find a special colt," said Don Little Jr., president of Centennial Farm. "Watching him breeze during the first gallop show, it really showed his potential and ability."
Little said he told potential investors the night before the auction he expected the colt to be expensive. "He was sort of at our limit as far as price range in concerned," Little said. "I spoke to some of our investors last night I told them I thought we would have to go to around $600,000, so I look pretty smart."
The colt will be sent to Centennial Farm near Middleburg, Va., where he will be let down for 30 to 60 days before resuming training at the farm. "When he is ready to go to the races he will be sent to either Michael Matz or Jimmy Jerkens," said Little.
The colt was produced from the Country Light mare Cruise and is from the family of stakes winners Card Table, Irving's Girl, and Deeliteful Irving.
One offering expected to make a large noise during the auction was the filly One Hot Wish, who established a world-record mark for 4 1/2 furlongs in :48.87 in breaking her maiden by 12 1/4 lengths over Keeneland's Polytrack April 12, failed to meet her reserve and was bought back for $300,000.
"While she is really fast, she has one wheel that the conformation is off a little bit," said Tom VanMeter of Eaton Sales who consigned the filly. "It was just tough to get her past the market. Everybody came to look at her, but it was just tough to get her past through. Her left knee was a little freaky, and she was a tad offset and toed-in a bit."
Concerning the reasoning for including the daughter of Bring the Heat out of Wish for Jeanne, by Roar, in the auction, VanMeter said, "At the time I thought it was a good idea."
VanMeter indicated the filly would remain with trainer with Wesley Ward, who bred and co-owns the filly with Robert Tanklage. "She's going to get some time off and I think we will see her again at Del Mar," he said.
Keeneland April 2YOs in Training: Sale Leaders