Pulpit Colt Brings Record Price at Keeneland Sale; Numbers Rise

Pulpit Colt Brings Record Price at Keeneland Sale; Numbers Rise
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Pulpit colt, sold for Keeneland April record price.
A record price was established at the Keeneland 2-year-olds in training sale Tuesday when Coolmore Stud interests went to $3.3-million to acquire a striking juvenile son of Pulpit.

All of the relevant numbers -- gross receipts, average price, median price, and percentage of horses that did not sell -- rose when compared with last year.

In addition to being the highest price for a 2-year-old sold at Keeneland, the price was also the second-highest ever paid at auction for a juvenile. The record 2-year-old auction price was established earlier this year at the Fasig-Tipton Florida's sale of 2-year-olds in training at Calder Race Course when a colt from the first crop of Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Fusaichi Pegasus was sold for $4.5 million.

Consigned by Niall Brennan Stables, the colt was expected to be the star of the show and did not disappoint. Produced from the multiple stakes-winning Vice Regent mare In My Cap, the colt had been purchased by agent Mike Ryan for $170,000 at last year's Keeneland September yearling sale.

Aisling Cross-Duignan signed the ticket on behalf of Irish agent Demi O'Byrne, who represents the Coolmore interests of Michael Tabor and John Magnier. The immediate underbidder was Jess Jackson.

"He has a tremendous amount of class," Brennan said. "I was not surprised by the price because everyone had been coming around and saying he was going to bring a lot of money. But you never know for sure what 'a lot of money is.' The feedback was that with his pedigree and his looks this was a once in a lifetime opportunity at a 2-year-old sale."

Keeneland reported 101 horses were sold for a gross of $22,012,000, an average price of $217,941, and a median price of $135,000. The 82 horses that did not sell by virtue of not attaining their reserve prices represented 44% of the total through the ring. An additional 75 horses were withdrawn from the sale.

During the 2003 sale, 127 horses grossed $21,375,000, for an average price of $168,307 and a $100,000 median.

The sale was impacted when the second of two pre-sale workouts, scheduled for Monday, was cancelled shortly after it began due to unsafe track conditions caused by heavy rain.

"Overcoming that adversity, I think it was a very successful sale," said Keeneland sales director Geoffrey Russell. "The RNAs were high. We were fearful of that because of not having the gallop show. The rules of the game changed (when the under tack show was cancelled) and nobody knew how they were going to react to that."

Noting the effects of the under tack show cancellation on the high number of horses withdrawn from the sale, Russell said: "When the buyer can't see a horse on the racetrack, the consignor will withdraw the horse because of the cost of sending it through the ring."

Coolmore, with Cross-Duignan again signing the ticket, went to $1.4-million to purchase the sale's second-highest priced offering, a Dixie Union colt produced from the stakes-winning Seeking the Gold mare Sneaky Quiet. The colt was consigned by Danny Pate's Solitary Oak Farm.

The only offspring of deceased leading sire Seattle Slew in the sale, a filly produced from the grade II winner She's a Devil Due (by Devil His Due), was bought by Fleetwood/N. W. Management for Stanley Fulton $800,000. The filly, named She's a Devil Slew, was consigned by Robert N. Scanlon.

"She's a class act," Fulton said. "She really, truly is. There's nothing not to like about her. She's a beautifully built young lady. She galloped out beautifully and she's out of a stakes winner. That's the kind you want to buy."

The sale's fourth-highest price of $750,000 was paid by agent Buzz Chace, agent for Aaron and Marie Jones, for Foxglove, a son of Fusaichi Pegasus sold by Eaton Sales as part of the dispersal of the late Jeanne G. Vance. Produced from the Prized mare Rokeby Rosie, the colt had been purchased by Vance for $900,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton Saratoga August select yearling sale.

"He has a two-turn pedigree and is a nice individual," Chace said. "He looks like an athlete. He galloped beautifully, very smooth and with a nice long stride. We thought we'd have to pay more for him."

He also bought Gold Siphon, a Siphon (Brz) filly, for $500,000 from the Nick de Meric consignment, and Notta Saint, a Saint Ballado colt, for $475,000, from the Tony Bowling/Bobby Dodd consignment. Both were purchased for the Joneses.

Chace said the cancelled workouts had an effect on buyers. "It affected buyers quite a bit. It was raining so hard yesterday that everyone was in the Keeneland kitchen playing 'Racehorse Rummy.' Everyone had to look this morning. I don't think anyone missed any horses, but you never know."

At the sale's end, seven non-2-year-olds from the Vance dispersal were sold for a gross of $2,025,000. Top price of $775,000 was paid by Joe Allen for Ecclesiastic, a Pulpit colt produced from the stakes-winning Rubiano mare Starry Dreamer who had won during the current Keeneland race meet.

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Results, Other Sale Information from Keeneland

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