Keeneland Features Top International Sires

First book of Keeneland September includes 24 yearlings by European-based sires.

As the largest yearling sale on the planet, Keeneland September tries to provide something for everyone and this year that will include 24 first-book yearlings by European-based sires.

Keeneland director of sales Geoffrey Russell said that number seems to be in line with recent editions of the sale, noting the game is truly international. As usual, most of the horses at the sale are by Kentucky-based stallions but Russell notes that there are a variety of reasons to offer a European-sired or European-bred yearling at Keeneland.

"This is the largest Thoroughbred auction for yearlings in the world and it's a very diverse buying bench. People want to put horses in front of that wide audience," Russell said. "Keeneland gives them a chance to stand out a little bit, too. Back in their home country, there will be a whole lot more of them. Here they can stand out a little bit better."

Among the first-book yearlings by European-based sires are seven by England's four-time leading sire Galileo, 10 by Henrythenavigator, three by Fastnet Rock, one by Duke of Marmalade, one by High Chaparral, and one by Makfi. All but Makfi, who is located in Ireland at Tweenhills Farm and Stud, stand at Coolmore in Ireland.

Some of the more interesting pedigrees of Galileo yearlings to be offered at Keeneland include a filly (hip 66, consigned by Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency, agent) out of a half sister to grade I winner A P Valentine, a colt (hip 471, consigned by Eaton Sales, agent) out of multiple grade I winner Society Selection, a half brother (hip 496, consigned by Woods Edge Farm, agent) to European juvenile champion and classic winner Mastercraftsman, and a filly (hip 645, consigned by VanMeter Sales, agent) out of Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) winner Adoration.

One year after his colt George Vancouver captured the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park, dual classic winner Henrythenavigator will be well-represented at Keeneland. Some of the standout pedigrees for last year's leading freshman sire include a filly (hip 115, consigned by Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency, agent) out of multiple grade I winner and stakes producer Jewel Princess, and a half sister (hip 508, consigned by Warrendale Sales, agent for Haymarket Farm) to last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint winner Hightail .

Two of the Fastnet Rock yearlings are out of Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) winners who already have produced stakes winners. Hip 745 (a filly consigned by Paramount Sales, agent) is out of Cash Run and hip 859 (a colt consigned by Michael C. Byrne, agent) is out of Eliza.

Russell said sometimes breeders send a mare with a strong American pedigree to a European sire and they want to present her to U.S. buyers as well as international ones. He noted that Keeneland's strong support from Japanese buyers can be attractive for European breeders.