A half-sister to multiple grade I winner Balance brought $550,000 as the opening session of the Keeneland September sale slowly came to a close.
E.A. Cox Jr. purchased the Pulpit filly from the consignment of Don Robinson's Winter Quarter Farm, agent for Eric Kronfeld's Maverick Productions.
A daughter of Thunder Gulch, Balance, who races for Amerman Racing Stable, was purchased for $260,000 at the 2004 Keeneland September yearling sale.
Both fillies were produced from the Kris S. mare Vertigineux, who is also the dam of stakes winner Where's Bailey.
Keeping the family tradition going, a half-sister to multiple grade I winner Hollywood Story (by Wild Rush) brought $1.5 million from Leonard Riggo's My MeadowView Farms. The filly (A.P. Indy-Wife for Life, by Dynaformer) was consigned by Three Chimneys Farm, agent for Spendthrift Farm.
Trainer Nick Zito was bidding alongside Louise Riggio, wife of Leonard Riggio. "She was just a special filly," Zito said.
Louise Riggio said she fell in love with the filly at first sight. "She is going to be special and then she will make a lovely addition to our broodmare band."
For the first time this year, Coolmore and Sheikh Mohammed hooked up in a bidding battle. The two powerful buying operations were competing for a strapping son of Dynaformer out of the grade I winning and producing Mr. Prospector mare Preach.
In the end, Sheikh Mohammed was victorious in the $2.9 million purchase.
"He comes from a proven sire and has a proven pedigree and was raised by one of the top farms (Claiborne) in this area," said John Ferguson, who signed the ticket on behalf of Sheikh Mohammed.
The buying team from Dubai is very familiar with this colt's pedigree. Ferguson went to $3 million to purchase this colt's half-brother by Storm Cat during the 2006 Keeneland September sale. 'We really liked the colt we bought last year and at the end of the day we are really pleased with the family," Ferguson said.
The dark bay or brown colt was bred in Kentucky by the Hancock family's Claiborne Farm and consigned to the sale by his breeders. Preach is the dam of grade I winner and Claiborne stallion Pulpit.
"He was just a really nice colt," said Claiborne's Dell Hancock of the $2.9 million session-topper. "He is a very good mover and he has a great head and he is from a wonderful pedigree."
Hancock said she did not know what price to expect entering the sale. "I really did not know what to think coming in because he is by Dynaformer and historically they do not sell great but (Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands, grade I) Barbaro proved he can get a great horse and he is the right type."
A bay daughter of Giant's Causeway brought $1.5 million from Elizabeth Moran's Brushwood Stable. The filly was consigned by Lane's End, agent.
Produced from the Mr. Prospector mare Onaga, the filly is a full sister to grade I winner Aragorn. She was bred in Kentucky by Summer Wind Farm.
Thus far into the sale, the daughter of Giant's Causeway is the second-highest-priced filly to exit the sale ring.
A half-sister to dual Classic winner Afleet Alex brought $1.4 million from Clarence Scharbauer. The bay daughter of Awesome Again was consigned by Gainesway, agent for Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings.
Scharbauer, who was seated alongside trainer Bret Calhoun and Valor Farm general manager Ken Carson, and who was attending his first Keeneland sale in 11 years, had a simple answer when asked why he went to seven figures to acquire the filly. "I liked her," he said. "I think she is a racehorse and she was my pick of all the fillies in the sale."
A native of Texas, Scharbauer said he was especially interested in the bottom side of the pedigree. "It takes a helluva of a good mare," said Scharbauer, who raced Classic winner Alysheba.
Scharbauer said he came to the sale with the intention of purchasing a future stallion but he also was interested in buying a top-class filly. He noted the $1,4 million purchase price was the highest-price he had ever paid for a filly at public auction.
The filly was produced from the Hawkster mare Maggy Hawk, who also is the dam of Unforgettable Max, a full brother to Afleet Alex.
Alysheba, who raced in the names of Scharbauer's late wife, Dorothy, and the Scharbauers' daughter, Pam, captured the 1987 Kentucky Derby (gr. I). Dorothy Scharbauer's father, Fred Turner, raced 1959 Kentucky Derby winner Tomy Lee.
Scharbauer has seven 2-year-olds with Calhoun and six yearlings that are being broken with Texas horseman Ed Dodwell. He also owns Quarter Horses.
Team Coolmore again hit the seven-figure mark when Demi O'Byrne went to $2 million for a bay son of A.P. Indy from the consignment of Denali Stud, agent for Crystal Springs Farm.
O'Byrne said the colt is likely to remain in the United States for his racing career. "He was very good-looking and had a great pedigree," O'Byrne said while signing the sale ticket.
The colt was produced from the grade I winning Blushing Groom mare Fire the Groom and is a half-brother to English group I winner and sire Stravinsky and English group winner and grade I-placed Moscow Ballet.
The first seven-figure horses of the auction came almost back-to-back when the powerful buying teams of Coolmore and Darley went to $1.6 million and $2.4 million, respectively, for a daughter of Seeking the Gold and a son of A.P. Indy.
Demi O'Byrne , representing Coolmore, went to $1.6 million for a daughter of Seeking the Gold out of the Royal Academy mare Crystal Crossing.
The filly, bred in Kentucky by Robert and Ben Sangster, was consigned by Eaton Sales, agent, and is out of the Royal Academy mare Crystal Crossing and is a half-sister to English group I winner Rule of Law.
O'Byrne, who did his bidding from the back of the sale pavilion, said the filly is likely to race in Europe. "She was a lovely looking filly who will have a lot of residual value as a broodmare," he said. "She has a great pedigree and was just outstanding looking."
Standing a few feet away from the Coolmore team in the rear of the pavilion, John Ferguson and Sheikh Mohammed went to $2.4 million for the son of A.P. Indy. Ferguson said the colt is likely to remain in the United States for his racing career.
“He’s a colt who’s been raised by great breeders," Ferguson said. "Quite honestly, a horse like that by A.P. Indy with an outstanding mare in Denebola, who not only was a great mare but the fact that she won the Marcel Boussac (Fr-I) in France on the grass. You know with this advent of Polytrack, I think in the past you were maybe looking at A.P. Indy with an all-dirt pedigree. I think, now an A.P. Indy with turf on the bottom won’t do any harm.”
Lane's End, agent, consigned the colt, who was bred by Flaxman Holdings, to the sale.
Produced from the French group I winning Storm Cat mare Denebola, the colt is the first foal out of his dam and is from the family of French group I winner Coup De Genie, who is a sister to European champion and sire Machiavellian and grade III winner Ocean of Wisdom.
Rick Porter, who campaigns grade I winner Hard Spun, went to $800,000 for a striking son of Unbridled's Song, hip#34. The gray or roan colt was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent.
Bred in Kentucky by Rod and Lorraine Rodriguez, the colt was produced from the grade II winning Meadowlake mare Collect Call.
Rodriguez purchased Collect Call for $250,000 at the 2000 Washington August sale from the consignment of Narvick International, agent for 505 Farms, the estate of Marshall Naify.
$950,000 Distorted Humor colt
Five hips after Beverly Lewis purchased the A.P. Indy filly, John Ferguson, representing Sheikh Mohammed, went to $950,000 for a chestnut son of Distorted Humor . The colt was consigned by Dromoland Farm, agent.
Produced from the Dahar mare Bold Burst, the colt is a half-brother to grade I winner Trust N Luck and stakes winner Grand Veranda.
The colt was bred in Kentucky by Silverleaf Farms and was originally purchased by Red Clover Farm for $270,000 at the 2007 Keeneland January mixed sale.
It was announced last week that Sheikh Mohammed's Darley had purchased a number of shares in Distorted Humor, who stands at Bill Casner and Kenny Troutt's WinStar Farm near Versailles, Ky.
Distorted Humor, who sired the earners of $6.7 million last year, is on his way to an even bigger year. He is represented by the earners of $6.5 million and 17 stakes winners, just three fewer than for all of last year. His 2007 fee was $225,000.
Distorted Humor, out of the Danzig mare Danzig's Beauty, has sired 59 stakes winners, including 2003 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner and champion Funny Cide and additional 2007 grade I winner Hystericalady.
The stallion will continue to stand at WinStar.
A Strong Beginning
A familiar face in the Thoroughbred industry got the 2007 edition of the Keeneland September yearling sale off to a strong start. Beverly Lewis, seated alongside son Jeff, went to $675,000 to secure Hip#7, a daughter of A.P. Indy.
Consigned by Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency, agent, the chestnut filly, named Ineffable, was produced from the Mr. Prospector mare Beaucette.
Ineffable, whose second dam is grade III winner and stakes producer Mackie, was bred in Kentucky by Hill 'n' Dale and Barnes Racing.
Mackie sold for $5 million at the 2000 Keeneland January mixed sale to Britton House Stud while in foal to Mr. Prospector. The mare most recently sold for $3.25 million to John Ferguson, representing Sheikh Mohammed, at the 2006 Tattersalls December sale in England.