Palais Versailles, a 4-year-old unraced daughter of Pulpit, commanded $625,000 as a broodmare prospect Tuesday early during the second session of the Keeneland January horses of all ages auction in Lexington. Doug Cauthen, the president and chief executive officer of Bill Casner and Kenny Troutt's WinStar Farm signed the sale ticket. Cauthen was sitting in the sale pavilion with WinStar vice president Elliott Walden.
Consigned by the Hancock family's Claiborne Farm for the dispersal of the estate of Cynthia Phipps, Palais Versailles is out of grade I winner Versailles Treaty and is a half-sister to stallion and grade II winner Saarland (by Unbridled).
"This mare is a great physical, and she has a great family," Cauthen said. "I hope we can follow up and get some more black type out of that family. Ms. Phipps did a wonderful job developing that family, and we just want to move forward with it. We haven't really figured out who exactly we're going to mate her to, but there's a good shot that she might go to Storm Cator another horse that we’ve got seasons in. We’re excited to have her because she is a real nice physical.
"We really liked her," Cauthen continued. "Everybody lined up and liked her. You'd rather have a mare in foal, but when you get a maiden like that, you've got to take your chance. Obviously, there were a lot of people who thought a lot of her because there was plenty of money for her. Hopefully, she'll prove to be worth it. I thought she stood out on physical and pedigree, so that's about what we expected (to pay). We would have loved to have bought her for $400,000, but we didn't expect that."
Discussing the market, so far, at the January auction, Cauthen said: "I think it's been fairly healthy. Anything with quality, there's tons of people lined up. Like any January sale, it's just sort of a function of what's in here, and I think for the most part, it’s been pretty solid. The mares in foal to Bluegrass Cat(a WinStar stallion) have sold exceptionally well. We were only able to buy one mare yesterday , and we followed up about six or seven, so I think, so far, it’s been very healthy. It's tough for the ones that everybody doesn't want, but that's free enterprise."
Versailles Treaty, also consigned in the Phipps dispersal, sold later in the day for $475,000 to Olin Gentry, who was acting on the behalf of Gaines-Gentry Thoroughbreds. The 20-year-old daughter of Danzig is in foal to Unbridled's Song.
Versailles Treaty scored in the 1991 Alabama Stakes (gr. I), Gazelle Handicap (gr. I), and Test Stakes (gr. I). She also won the 1992 Ruffian Handicap (gr. I).
"She's in great shape, and she's a beautiful mare," Gentry said. "She's a bit special, too. There aren't many like her around that you can get your hands on. It looks like she would have several more babies in her. A good foal out of her would be worth more than that (Versailles Treaty's price), I would think."
Oregon lumberman Aaron Jones and his wife, Marie, purchased 5-year-old stakes winner Stolen Prayer (by Songandaprayer ) for $525,000. Consigned by Francis and Barbara Vanlangendonck's Summerield Sales Agency, agent, Stolen Prayer was offered as a broodmare prospect. She is out of the winning Overskate mare Stolen Skates and is a half-sister to added-money winner Miz United States (by Valid Appeal). Frank Taylor of Taylor Made Sales Agency and Taylor Made Farm signed the sale ticket.