Wealthy buyers’ enthusiasm for the young and the beautiful fueled the market again during the second session of the Keeneland November breeding stock sale. Broodmares Pure Clan, who is in foal to Bernardini , and Changing Skies, who is in foal to Street Cry, commanded $4.5 million and $4.2 million, respectively, Nov. 7 in Lexington.
Seven-year-old Pure Clan is the highest-priced horse in the auction so far. Changing Skies, also 7, equaled the price brought by 2011 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Plum Pretty during the sale’s first session Nov. 6. Plum Pretty is 4 years old.
“I’m a little tongue-tied here,” said John Sikura of Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, which consigned both Pure Clan and Changing Skies. “When you sell two mares for better than $4 million in 2012 that’s a great day. (We had) great stock, great clients, and great results.”
The overall results for the session included a gross of $33,840,000 for the 109 horses that were sold. The average price was $310,459 and the median price was $200,000.
Compared to last year, the number sold and gross declined 21% and 34.2%, respectively. The average fell 16.7% while the median rose 1.3%.
The buy-back rate increased to 31.9% from 20.7% in 2011.
“The comments from everybody seemed to indicate it was a more solid, broader market today than yesterday, and I think the results proved that,” said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s director of sales.
During last year’s second session, a dispersal by Chanteclair Farm grossed $16,813,000. The 20 lots that were sold included the sale-topping Royal Delta, who brought $8.5 million. When compared to 2011’s second session with the Chanteclair figures removed, the results for this year’s number sold and gross declined 7.6% and 2.2% respectively. The average rose 5.9% while the median dropped 7%. The buy-back rate for 2011 was 23.4%.
Goncalo Borges Torrealba of Brazil, in the name of Borges Torrealba Holdings, purchased grade I winner Pure Clan (by Pure Prize ). The chestnut mare is a half sister to grade II winner Greater Good (by Intidab ) and Swift Girl (by Unbridled), who is the dam of grade I winner Sky Diva (by Sky Mesa ). Their dam, Gather the Clan (by General Assembly), was a grade III winner.
“I liked her physical a lot, and the way she won on both turf and dirt,” said Torrealba of Pure Clan. “She’s going to Three Chimneys Farm. I think Robert Clay (Three Chimneys' owner) is going to take a piece of her and we plan on breeding her to nice horses together.”
Pure Clan won six added-money events, including the 2008 American Oaks Invitational Handicap (gr. IT), 2009 Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes (gr. IT), and 2007 Golden Rod Stakes (gr. II). She earned $1,987,498.
Said Torrealba of Pure Clan’s price, “After the Fasig-Tipton (Kentucky November select) sale and what happened yesterday here, it was more or less around what we were expecting.”
Torrealba raced grade I winner Cara Rafaela, who produced champion and classic winner Bernardini . She was Kentucky’s Broodmare of the Year in 2006. In the name of Stud T N T, Torrealba also raced Leroidesanimaux, who was 2005’s champion male on grass. He ran for T N T and Stonewall Farm Stallions in partnership in his final career race, finishing second in the NetJets Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) to close out his championship campaign.
“Now I’m buying for my family because now they are all crazy about racing, and they decided we should race in America also,” Torrealba said. .”We’re just getting started again in America. We’re trying to build a broodmare band. We have a long-term plan; it’s not short term.”
The plan for Pure Clan’s foals “really depends on what comes out,” Torrealba said. “The fillies we will keep for sure; the colts we might send to market. I’m not sure yet.”
Hill ‘n’ Dale’s Sikura said Pure Clan stood out from some of the other grade I winners in the sale and brought more because “she is a fantastic mare to look at. She was very athletic, a great type," he continued. "She had really great presence and class. She always had her ear forward and eye wide open. It drew you to her. Nobody could look at her and forget her. It’s often said a mare is a nice mare, but this mare really had a real charisma about her and she was like that every time she was shown.”
SF Bloodstock bred Pure Clan’s first foal, a Smart Strike filly that was born earlier this year.
"We were very happy (with Pure Clan's price)," said Tom Ryan of SF Bloodstock.
Nicolas de Watrigant of the France-based Mandore International Agency bought Changing Skies. Benoit Jeffroy, who works for de Watrigant, declined to reveal the identity of her new owner.
Bred and raced by Swettenham Stud, Changing Skies (by Sadler's Wells) captured three added-money events, including the 2010 The Very One Stakes (gr. IIIT) and 2011 La Prevoyante Handicap (gr. IIIT). She also was group II-placed in France and stakes-placed in England.
“She’s by Sadler’s Wells, a good broodmare sire, and she’s a good performer herself,” Jeffroy said. She has a beautiful pedigree and she is a fantastic mare. She also is in foal to Street Cry, who is a very good sire.”
Changing Skies is out of Magnificient Style (by Silver Hawk), who was a group III winner in England. Including Changing Skies, Magnificient Style has produced eight stakes winners, six of which are group winners. They include English champion and group I winner Nathaniel (by Galileo), 2012 Darley Irish Oaks (Ire-I) winner Great Heavens (by Galileo), and English champion and group I winner Playful Act, who is a full sister to Changing Skies.
Hill ‘n’ Dale sold Playful Act for Swettenham for $10.5 million at the 2007 Keeneland Novembe sale. At the time, the price was a world record for a broodmare or broodmare prospect sold at public auction.
“She was just a queen, a magnificent mare in every respect,” said Sikura of Changing Skies. “I thought she was the best mare cataloged in the sale, and I thought, coming into the sale, that she would top the sale. Her family is very active and full of group I winners and other high class horses. The premier European judges of horses said she looked exactly what you want to see by her sire. She is just the complete package of a global mare."
The Keeneland November sale’s results for the first two sessions combined included a gross of $61,505,000 for the 209 horses that were sold. The average was $294,282 and the median was $160,000. Compared to 2011, the gross fell 46.4% while the number sold declined 26.7%. The average dropped 26.9% and the median fell 27.3%.
The buy-back rate increased to 31% from 18.8% last year.
The Chanteclair dispersal wasn’t the only major sell-off of horses during last year’s Keeneland November sale. The dispersal of the late Edward P. Evans’ Spring Hill Farm boosted figures during the auction’s opening session. When both those dispersals were removed from last year’s combined results, 2012’s combined figures compared more favorably. The number sold and gross were up 3.5% and 7.6%, respectively. The average was up 4% and the median was down 13.5%.
Last year’s buy-back rate was 24.6% without the dispersals.
The Keeneland sale runs through Nov. 16, with each session beginning at 10 a.m. (EST).