Wilburn, a strapping son of Bernardini , became the new price leader at the Keeneland sale of 2-year-olds in training when he attracted a $625,000 winning bid from John Moynihan, who is the bloodstock adviser to Jess Jackson’s Stonestreet Stables, early in the evening of April 5 in Lexington.
The bay juvenile, which stands over 16 hands, was the only horse in the consignment of Kentucky-based trainer Bill Helmbrecht. Wilburn had been working regularly at Turfway Park prior to the auction and he breezed three furlongs in :33 4/5 during the sale’s under tack show. Helmbrecht’s brother Mike, is the president of Woodbridge Bloodstock, which bred the colt in Kentucky.
“He’s a nice horse, we hope,” Moynihan said. “They’ve done so much with him. He’s a great big horse; he’s almost 16.2 hands. I don’t know if we are going to keep going to the same extent they were going. We may just stop on him a little bit and then bring him back in (to training) and get him ready for the early summer or fall. He looks like he’s a big, two-turn horse to me. He went beautiful on the racetrack.”
A member of his sire’s first crop, Wilburn is out of the 10-year-old Carson City mare Moonlight Sonata, who captured the 2002 Arlington-Washington Lassie Stakes (gr. IIII). He is a half-brother to 2008 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) winner Beethoven (by Sky Mesa ). Sky Mesa is a grandson of A.P. Indy, and Bernardini is a son of A.P. Indy.
“The pedigree, we’re taking a chance,” Moynihan said. “We like Bernardini and the mare has produced a good horse with the same cross, so we’ll take a shot. The price was high for me. I had Mr. Jackson on the phone and he always decides. But the price was pretty stout.”
The colt attracted a lot of interest from buyers before the auction. Jimmy Bell and Jimmy Gladwell, representing Sheikh Mohammed, were among the buyers who stopped by his barn, and they stood just outside sale pavilion in the hallway during the bidding.
“He had so much going for him that I was praying for this much (money),” said Mike Helmbrecht, who manages and is a partner in a Thoroughbred farm, Destiny Oaks of Ocala in Florida. "It's great."