The robust market for top-end young mares continued during the second session of the Keeneland November breeding stock sale as five horses sold for seven-figure prices. For the first two sessions combined, eight lots have brought $1 million or more compared to five in 2009.
Dreamtheimpossible, a 4-year-old stakes-winning daughter of Giant's Causeway , became the highest-priced horse sold at the auction so far when she brought $2.55 million Nov. 9 in Lexington.
“This was another good, solid session,” said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s director of sales. “As we expected, there was a strong international presence again today among the buyers. We’ve worked hard to build a strong, international bench of buyers for the industry and we’re glad to see our efforts paying off. It is encouraging, too, that the top bidder and underbidder on the sale topper are both North American-based breeders.”
The 143 horses that sold during the second session grossed $31,375,000 and averaged $219,406. The median price was $135,000. Compared to the same session a year ago, the number sold and the gross revenue declined 15.4% and 30.8%, respectively. The average price was down 18.3% and the median price fell 22.9%.
The buy-back rate rose to 19.2% from an exceptionally low rate of 13.3% in 2009.
According Russell, horses from the Overbrook Farm dispersal helped boost the second session’s gross, average, and median a year ago. There were 17 horses in the session that sold for $500,000 or more. This year, there were 12.
“We sold 38 horses for nearly $21 million as part of the Overbrook dispersal, which illustrates that it is difficult to compare November sessions from year to year because of dispersals,” he said.
The cumulative figures for the auction showed a gross of $70,345,000 for the 326 horses that were sold. The average was $215,782 and the median was $135,000. The number sold and gross were down 10.5% and 7%, respectively, from 2009. The average declined 11.2% and the median dropped 15.6%. The buy-back rate of 19.3% was down from 22.4% in 2009.
Eric Hamelback, the general manager of Frank Stronach’s Adena Springs Kentucky, signed the sale ticket for the $2.55 million Dreamtheimpossible. The immediate underbidder was Greg Goodman, who owns Mt. Brilliant Farm in Central Kentucky.
Dreamtheimpossible is carrying her first foal, a colt by Galileo, who is based at Coolmore Stud in Ireland. She won the 2008 Flame of Tara E.B.F. Stakes in Ireland and she finished third in the 2008 Meon Valley Stud Fillies’ Mile (Eng-I). She raced for Susan Magnier and Michael Tabor.
Produced from grade I winner Spain (by Thunder Gulch), Dreamtheimpossible is a half sister to Irish group III winner Plan (by Storm Cat), who was grade I-placed in this country.
“Cormack Breathnach, our bloodstock advisor, he put in the consideration for us to look at Dreamtheimpossible,” Hamelback said. “He and I looked at her together, and she is very nice. A part of it (the reason for Adena Spring’s interest) was that Frank has acquired Plan, and we’ll be standing him (at stud) in 2011. Spain is obviously one of the best race mares in history.
“Being in foal to Galileo was a huge plus,” he continued. “She (Dreamtheimpossible) is said to be carrying a colt, so we are very excited to be able to get this colt, put him in our racing stable, and hopefully do very well with him in the States.”
Hamelback talked to Stronach on a cell phone during the bidding.
“Frank was urging us right along,” Hamelback said. “I would say that it (the price) is probably a little higher than we thought. With that pedigree, right now in this day and age, it’s hard to put a good figure (estimate) on this kind of horse. However, we feel honored to have her. At this time, Frank has not made any decision on the mating (for 2011).”
Goodman was disappointed, but didn’t have any regrets about not bidding more for Dreamtheimpossible.
“I just felt like that was enough,” he said of his final offer. “I thought she was the nicest mare in the sale, and I really wanted her, but it was getting a little pricey for her. Orrin Ingram was going to take 30% of her. He is a partner with me on one other mare, Private Gift. I thought she was a beautiful mare. I loved everything about her. She was good-sized and well-balanced for her size.”
Eaton Sales, agent, consigned Dreamtheimpossible.
“She was a big, pretty mare,” said Eaton’s Reiley McDonald. “She had pedigree, she had looks, she had race record, and she was in foal to a horse that we just don’t get access to over here. I think that was a special thing for a lot of American breeders. When it came down to it, I would say there were probably 10 people in there (in the sale pavilion) ready to give seven figures to get a mare in foal to Galileo that had all the other elements. I thought it was a fair price for the seller and a fair price for the buyer to be able to get a fairly unique mare.”
Lucky One, the dam of 2010 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Blind Luck, sold for the second session’s second-highest price of $1.85 million. Teruya Yoshida’s Shadai Farm of Japan bought the winning 8-year-old Best of Luck mare, who is carrying a foal by Pollard's Vision that is a full sibling to Blind Luck.
The immediate underbidder was a buying team from Northern Farm led by Shunsuke Yoshida. His father, Katsumi, owns Japan-based Northern Farm and is one of Teruya Yoshida's brothers.
“Blind Luck is a very, very good racehorse and the mare also had good conformation; she is a very good mare it looks like,” said Dr. Mitsuru Ikeda, who works for Shadai.
Dr. Bill Baker’s Central Kentucky-based Fairlawn Farm, the breeder of Blind Luck, consigned Lucky One, who is a half sister to 2002 Swale Stakes (gr. III) winner Ethan Man (by Glitterman).
“It was emotional and overwhelming; words just can’t express it,” said Baker’s wife, Terry, of selling Lucky One. “We’re just so overwhelmed by everything. We love the filly Blind Luck and she’s put us in this position. It’s been very nice.”
An earner of $2,388,712, Blind Luck has won seven added-money events. In addition to the Oaks, they include the 2010 editions of the Betfair TVG Alabama (gr. I) and Las Virgenes (gr. I) Stakes and the 2009 editions of the Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) and Oak Leaf (gr. I) Stakes. The 3-year-old filly has captured nine of her 15 career races. She finished second in the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic (gr. I) Nov. 5.
“We’re breeders and we’ve got to make a profit occasionally,” said Bill Baker, who is a well-known equine veterinarian, of the decision to sell Lucky One. “A mare like this needs a lot of money for insurance and is a lot of pressure. It feels like the weight of the world is off our shoulders. We’ve still got her weanling filly (by Successful Appeal ) and she’s just like Blind Luck. She looks just like her (Blind Luck), so we’re looking for great things out of her. We’re going to keep her and race her, and then we’ll have her for breeding purposes.”
Blind Luck’s weanling half sister was entered in the Keeneland November sale, but Baker scratched her.
The veterinarian was pleased with Lucky One’s price.
“We thought she would bring seven figures, but we weren’t expecting that much,” he said. “We’re very happy. We had gotten several offers (privately) on her, but we never could get the deal done.”
Following is information about the other horses that sold for seven-figure prices during the second session:
* Irish champion Heart Shaped, who is in foal to A.P. Indy, brought $1.55 million from England-based Blandford Bloodstock’s Tom Goff, who purchased her from Eaton Sales, agent. He said he bought the 4-year-old daughter of Storm Cat for one of Blandford’s long-standing American clients, whom he declined to identify. Heart Shaped finished second in the 2008 Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
* Stakes winner Elusive Sparkle, who is a half-sister to champion and 2007 Kentucky Derby Presented By Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Street Sense , brought $1.2 million from Waratah Thoroughbreds of Australia. In foal to Street Sense’s sire, Street Cry, the 5-year-old Elusive Quality mare was consigned by Mill Ridge Sales, agent.
* Fit Right In (by Out of Place), the 8-year-old unraced dam of grade I winner Rightly So (by Read the Footnotes), brought $1,050,000 from Northern Farm, which purchased her from Burleson Farms, agent. The mare is in foal to Curlin .