By Esther Marr and Frank Angst
Multiple graded stakes-winning millionaire Keertana brought some excitement to the second session of the Keeneland January horses of all ages sale when she fetched $1 million from Craig Bandoroff of Denali Stud.
Consigned by Four Star Sales, agent for Brownwood Farm, as Hip No. 429, the 7-year-old daughter of Johar was bred to Arch but was not in foal after aborting last year. She was bought by Bandoroff on behalf of an undisclosed United States-based client.
"That was my last bid," noted Bandoroff after signing the ticket. "I didn't expect to get her really. This is for a man who has been buying nice mares at the top of the market. We got blown away in November. I guess her not being in foal helped. He's building a long-term program. She fell right into what he wants to do."
Keertana impressed on the racetrack during her five-season career, winning the Regret, Grey Goose Bewitch, Louisville Handicap, Glens Falls Handicap, and The Very One, all grade III on turf. Trained in all her starts by Tom Proctor for the late Barbara Hunter, Keertana retired from racing with a record of 11-6-8 from 29 starts, for earnings of $1,031,938.
The $1 million mare is out of Motokiks (by Storm Cat), who is a full sister to stakes winner Catoki and a half sister to Italian champion Knifebox and grade III victor Parochial. Keertana is a half sister to dual graded stakes winner Snow Top Mountain, who is scheduled to sell later in the day as Hip No. 584.
"It's never really been a family that's been sold. It's an heirloom of Barbara's," said Four Star Sales' Tony Lacy, bloodstock manager for Hunter. "It's a credit to Barbara and her legacy. I'm very proud for her."
"(Keertana) is big; she's pretty," Bandoroff said. "It's not a strong, strong family, but she can run; her sister can run. She ticked two of the three boxes. Hopefully she'll throw it all."
Bandoroff said the lost foal was an umbilical situation and not a huge concern. "We've all been there," he said.