Multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire PURE CLAN (Pure Prize) brought a session-topping $4.5 million from Brazilian Goncalo Torrealba of Stud TNT at Wednesday's second session of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale in Lexington, Kentucky. The seven-year-old mare, who was listed in foal to Bernardini, entered the ring as Hip No. 279 from the Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency, agent, consignment.
Torrealba said the mare will go to Robert Clay's Three Chimneys Farm near Midway, Kentucky.
"I like her physical a lot; the way that she won on both turf and dirt," Torrealba said. "We are looking for good mares, and we just loved her."
Pure Clan captured a graded contest in all three of her seasons on track, including wins in the Grade 2 Golden Rod and Grade 3 Pocahontas at Churchill Downs when going a perfect four-for-four as a juvenile. Though she placed in her next three starts as a sophomore -- the Grade 3 Honeybee, Grade 2 Fantasy and Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks -- the chestnut miss wouldn't taste success again until trying turf for just the second time in her career.That came in the Grade 3 Regret and Pure Clan immediately followed up with her first Grade 1 victory in the American Oaks Invitational. Trainer Bob Holthus kept his filly on the grass for the remainder of her career, and she rewarded that decision with scores in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational and Grade 3 Modesty Handicap as well as placings in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf, Grade 1 Beverly D. and Grade 1 Garden City.
"She was an elite mare that all the major buyers wanted," Hill 'n' Dale's John Sikura stated. "She was a fantastic mare to look at; very athletic; great presence and class. She has a lot of charisma. Nobody could look at her and forget her."
Pure Clan retired to the breeding shed with a 8-4-3 line from 16 career starts having banked $1,987,498. Thus far she has produced a 2012 Smart Strike filly
Pure Clan is out of Grade 3 victress Gather the Clan (General Assembly), making her a half-sister to Grade 2 hero Greater Good (Intidab) and dual stakes-placed Gather the Day (Dayjur) as well as the dams of Grade 1 vixen Sky Diva (Sky Mesa) and multiple Grade 1-placed stakes star Quick Little Miss (Freud). Gather the Clan is herself a daughter of 1977 champion sprinter What a Summer (What Luck).
Pure Clan was almost bumped out of the top spot as the second session highlight when Hip 374 entered the ring. CHANGING SKIES (Sadler's Well), also consigned by Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency, agent, saw her price reach $4.2 million before the gavel fell on Mandore Int. Agency's winning bid.
The Irish-bred bay mare, listed in foal to Street Cry, closed out her racing career with a win in the Grade 3 La Prevoyante Handicap and a fifth as the defending champion of the Grade 3 The Very One in the winter of 2011. The seven-year-old placed in the Group 3 Prix de Psyche when beginning her career overseas with trainer Brian Meehan, but immediately took to American turf when capturing an allowance in her stateside bow in the fall of 2009. Two races later she added the 2010 edition of The Very One to her resume, and would also just miss by a head in that year's running of the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational.
Changing Skies also recorded placings in the Grade 2 New York Stakes and Grade 3 Bewitch before retiring with a 19-5-6-3, $438,993 scorecard last February.
She is out of Group 3 winner Magnificient Style (Silver Hawk), who is best known for producing Nathaniel (Galileo), hero of last year's Group 1 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth and this season's Group 1 Eclipse. Changing Skies' other half-siblings include Group 1 victress and classic-placed Playful Act (Sadler's Wells), reigning Group 1 Irish Oaks diva Great Heavens (Galileo) and dual Group 2 heroine Echoes in Eternity (Spinning World).
Changing Skies' fourth dam is 1968 Broodmare of the Year Delta (*Nasrullah).CAPITAL PLAN (Rock Hard Ten) gave Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency, agent, a hat trick when bringing $825,000 from Adena Springs Farm to round out the top three prices of the second session. Sporting Hip 368, the four-year-old miss was entered in the sale as a racing or broodmare prospect.
Capital Plan hasn't been seen in action since taking the Grade 3 Beverly Hills Handicap on June 24 at Hollywood Park. Prior to that, the bay lass was third in the Grade 1 Gamely and also captured the Grade 2 Santa Barbara Handicap. The Kentucky-bred currently boasts a 12-5-2-1, $305,800 career record.
Capital Plan far outstripped her initial purchase price of $50,000 as a Keeneland September yearling, and counts as a half-brother Grade 2-placed Skellytown (Thunder Gulch). The duo are grandchildren of champion grass horse and dual English Horse of the Year Dahlia (*Vaguely Noble), who routinely beat the boys both overseas and stateside. Dahlia found success in the breeding shed as well when foaling Grade 1 winners Dahar (Lyphard), Rivlia (Riverman), Delegant (*Grey Dawn II) and Dahlia's Dreamer (Theatrical).
A bay colt by War Front topped the weanlings on Wednesday when selling for $800,000 to John McCormack Bloodstock. Consigned by Eaton Sales, agent, as Hip 280, the Kentucky-bred is out of Questress (Seeking the Gold), making him a half-brother to multiple Grade 1-winning top sire Pomeroy (Boundary) as well as the dam of this year's Grade 1 Test and Grade 1 Acorn queen Contested (Ghostzapper).
Two mares also brought $800,000 -- GRACIOUS GIFT (Giant's Causeway) and HEATHERDOESNTBLUFF (Old Trieste) -- from KI Farm and Hunter Valley Farm, respectively.
Gracious Gift also came from the Eaton Sales consignment and wore Hip 207 in the sales rings. The unraced sophomore, who was listed in foal to Distorted Humor, is out of multiple Grade 1-winning champion Heavenly Prize (Seeking the Gold), making her a half-sister to duel Grade 1 victor and sire Good Reward (Storm Cat), Grade 2 scorer Pure Prize (Storm Cat) and the dam of Grade 1 vixen Persistently (Smoke Glacken).
Gracious Gift's third dam is Grade 2 victress Blitey (Riva Ridge), whose progeny include Breeders' Cup Sprint hero Dancing Spree (Nijinsky II) as well as Grade 1 queens Furlough (Easy Goer) and Fantastic Find (Mr. Prospector).
Heatherdoesntbluff sold just six hips later from the Denali Stud (Craig and Holly Bandoroff), agent, consignment. Listed in foal to Medaglia d'Oro, the nine-year-old mare was a $32,000 RNA when passing through the 2007 Keeneland November sale. She was carrying an In Excess filly at that time who would later be named Rockin Heather and post three stakes-placings. Heatherdoesntbluff's second foal, Killer Graces (Congaree), put her in the spotlight after taking last year's Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet and placing in a pair of Grade 3s this year.
Heatherdoesntbluff is out of Grade 3 winner Michigan Bluff (Skywalker) and counts as her fifth dam 1966 champion two-year-old filly Regal Gleam, who is the granddam of multiple Grade 1-scoring sire Caerleon (Nijinsky II).
Wednesday's session saw 109 horses sell for $33,840,000, a drop of 34.2 percent when compared to last year's second session which sold 138 for $51,405,000. The $310,459 average fell 16.7 percent from last year's $372,500 average, while the median showed a modest 1.3 percent increase, from $197,500 to $200,000.
The second session in 2011 had a huge boost as the stock of the late Saud bin Khaled's Palides Investments N.V. Inc. was dispersed that day, topped by Royal Delta (Empire Maker), who brought $8.5 million. Day 1 of the 2011 November sale saw another dispersal in the form of the estate of Edward P. Evans, and both of those combined boosted the 2011 two-day total to $114,681,500 for 285 horses. The average for those two days was $402,391, while the median stood at $220,000.
This year's opening two-day cumulative couldn't hold up with those two dispersals as 209 horses brought a gross $61,505,000, a decline of 46.4 percent. The $294,282 average dropped by 26.9 percent and the $160,000 median fell 27.3 percent.