Bless, a full sister to Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus in foal to leading sire Storm Cat was expected to bring a big price at Tuesday's session of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock sale.
Consigned by Stone Farm, as agent for Stone Farm owner Arthur Hancock III and Stonerside Stable, the 3-year-old mare was the object of spirited bidding until she was hammered down to Classic Star for $4-million.
"We waited all day to buy her and we knew she wasn't going to go cheap," said David Plummer, Classic Star president and managing partner. Plummer, the leading buyer during the first two days of the auction, said the new owners would like to breed the daughter of Mr. Prospector--Angel Fever back to Storm Cat.
John Adger, racing manager for the Stonerside operation of Robert and Janice McNair, confirmed he was the underbidder on the mare. Adger said the female family had been very good to Stonerside but that he was not prepared to go above $4-million.
The session's second-highest price of $2-million was paid by Australian horse breeder Jim Fleming for Warrior Queen, a 5-year-old daughter of Quiet American consigned by Eaton Sales. Fleming, the operator of Tyreel Stud who made a rare trip to the Keeneland sale because he thought prices would be depressed and it would be a buyer's market, was represented by Adrian Nicole of BBA (Ireland).
Earlier in the day, Rose of Tara, a 6-year-old mare in foal to Storm Cat, was purchased by a Canadian breeder for $1,950,000. Consigned by Glenwood Farm/Voute Sales, the daughter of Generous was purchased by Toronto-based Chiefswood Stables. Chiefswood is the racing and breeding operation of Robert Krembil, a relative newcomer to the horse industry. Krembil previously was chairman of Trimark Financial Corporation, which was merged with another financial entity in 2000.
Krembil, who said he currently has 15 broodmares, said he was attracted to Rose of Tiara's family and the fact she was in foal to Storm Cat. Produced from group II winner Flame of Tiara, Rose of Tiara is a half-sister to European champion Salsabil and to stakes winners Marju (group I), Danse Royale, Flame of Athens, and Song of Tara.
Second highest price of $1,250,000 was paid by David Plummer's Classic Star for multiple grade II winner Nannerl, a 15-year-old Valid Appeal mare also in foal to Storm Cat. Consigned by Eaton Sales, Nannerl is the dam of Magicalmystercat (by Storm Cat).
Nasty Storm, a multiple grade II winner sold as a racing or broodmare prospect, brought a high bid of $1,075,000 from owner-breeder Frank Stronach. Stronach said he purchased the 4-year-old Gulch filly as a broodmare and was non-committal on whether Nasty Storm would run this Saturday in the Churchill Downs Distaff (gr. II), which she won in 2001.
Starine, winner of the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf Oct. 26, was purchased by Klaus Jacobs of England-based Newsells Park Stud for $1-million. The French-bred daughter of Mendocino was owned and trained by Bobby Frankel.
TOP PRICES, TUESDAY SESSION:Price--Hip No./Horse/Consignor/Buyer
$4,000,000--487/Bless/Stone Farm, agent for Arthur Hancock III and Stonerside Stable/Classic Star
$2,000,000--447/Warrior Queen/Eaton Sales/BBA (Ireland)
$1,950,000--371/Rose of Tara/Glenwood Farm-Voute Sales/
$1,300,000--427/The Seven Seas/Mill Ridge Sales/Northwest Farms
$1,250,000--343/Nannerl/Eaton Sales/Classic Star
$1,075,000--344/Nasty Storm/Eaton Sales/Frank Stronach
$1,000,000--407/Starine/Mill Ridge Sales/Newsells Park StudResults From Keeneland