Elusive Diva, hip No. 9, in the ring at Keeneland Jan. 12

Elusive Diva, hip No. 9, in the ring at Keeneland Jan. 12

Anne M. Eberhardt

'Diva' Brings $825,000 at Keeneland

The Elusive Quality mare was a grade III winner on turf and dirt.

Elusive Diva, a grade III winner on turf and dirt, provided a bright spot early in the Keeneland January horses of all ages sale in Lexington, bringing $825,000 as hip No. 9. The Hancock family’s Claiborne Farm, acting on behalf of Ramona Bass, purchased the 8-year-old Elusive Quality mare, who is in foal to Giant's Causeway , from Craig and Holly Bandoroff’s Denali Stud, agent.

“When I looked at her, I just fell in love with her, and she’s such a great race mare; that’s the exciting thing for me,” Bass said. “I’ve been breeding a long time, but I’ve never had such a nice race mare.”

An earner of $484,510, Elusive Diva scored in four added-money events in California–the 2005 Las Cienegas Handicap (gr. IIIT), 2004 Railbird Stakes (gr. III), 2005 Senator Ken Maddy Handicap (gr. IIIT), and 2005 Wishing Well Handicap.

“She is going to Claiborne Farm and live the life of luxury,” Bass said. “I’ll be doing home breeding, but I might sell one (of Elusive Diva’s foals) here or there. I like to race.”

Said Bass of the Elusive Diva’s price: “The good mares are going to go for (good) money, period. But I think it was a great price for her. It was the top of my limit. That was it. I’m thrilled, absolutely thrilled. I can’t wait to go give her a pat.”

Produced from the winning Taj Alriyadh mare Taj Aire, Elusive Diva is a half-sister to stakes winners R. Baggio (by Chimes Band) and Handyman Bill (by Skywalker).