Giant's Causeway colt, sold for $750,000 during Wednesday sale session at Keeneland.

Giant's Causeway colt, sold for $750,000 during Wednesday sale session at Keeneland.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Giant's Causeway, Monarchos Colts Top Heated Wednesday Session

B. Wayne Hughes went to $750,000 for a bay colt by Giant's Causeway about two-thirds of the way through Wednesday's session to top day three of the Keeneland September yearling sale. The colt, out of the stakes-placed Deputy Minister mare President's Girl, was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent.

That figure lasted for several hours, but at just after 8 p.m., 10 hours deep into the sale, Florida bloodstock agent John Fulton outlasted Jim Tafel for a Monarchos colt for the same price. Out of the Storm Cat stakes-placed mare Catcher, the gray colt was consigned by John Williams, agent.

While there weren't the seven-figure fireworks that sparked the first two sessions, or book one, of the world's largest yearling sale, the bidding throughout the first day of book two was brisk and the final figures prove that out.

For the day, 276 head were sold for $43,930,000, good for an average of $159,130. The median was $130,000. At last year's third session, 265 yearlings grossed $35,164,000 for an average of $132,695. This year's third-day totals marked a 24.9% rise in gross, a 19.9% lift in average, and a 36.8% increase in median over last year's figures. The buy-back rate this year was 23.8%, on line with last year's figure of 23.2%.

For the sale, 625 yearlings have been sold for $194,568,000 with an average of $311,309 and a median of $180,000. At this stage a year ago, 604 horses had been sold for $166,414,000, with an average of $275,520 and a median of $170,000.

On Wednesday, five colts brought final bids of at least $500,000. The top-priced filly went for $375,000.

"This is the part of the market we expected to see increases," said Geoffrey Russell, director of sales for Keeneland. "The median is about the same as last year's average. A lot of the additional credit requests are at this level and the figures reflect that.

"There is still a large Japanese contingent here and the Americans are getting into it. The Japanese participation has surprised me. It's been very positive.

Hughes said the Giant's Causeway colt would be sent to Spendthrift Farm prior to heading to either South Carolina or Florida to be broken. Hughes purchased Spendthrift Farm in July.

Ron Ellis will train the colt later from his base in Southern California.

"He (Hughes) was the underbidder on the $2.85 Kingmambo colt that sold yesterday," Ellis said. The colt was purchased by Shadwell Estate Co. "We had trouble buying on Monday and Tuesday, but we're having better luck today.

"We picked him out because of his pedigree," Ellis said. "B. Wayne has taken to buying colts with nice pedigrees and trying to make graded stakes winners out of them for future stallion prospects. This colt has the right combination of pedigree and looks.

"We'll continue to shop throughout the week," he continued. "Prices are leveling off and now we'll have more opportunity to buy."

Hughes bought three other yearlings Wednesday, spending $320,000 for an Old Trieste--Miss Class Action colt from Eaton Sales, agent, $225,000 for a Grand Slam--Java Star colt from Eaton Sales, agent and $200,000 for a filly by Dynaformer--Petite d'Accord from Gracefield.

Fulton thought the Monarchos colt was "outstanding; he shows class and has good size and scope." He said he purchased the yearling for a group of investors. He was prepared to go that high to procure him. He did his bidding while in back of the sale pavilion. Tafel was seated in the main part of the pavilion.

Carl Nafzger, who trains for Tafel, had had his eye on the colt for some time and hoped the colt would be in the high $400,000 range. "I don't know why we couldn't get him," he said. "We had him targeted for the whole sale. He was just a nice colt and he vetted nice. You don't know about Monarchos (being a first-year sire); you have to go by what his yearlings look like, and they look like they're going to run."

Tafel purchased a Forestry--Manistique filly during Monday's session for $350,000.

The top-priced filly during the session was hammered down for $375,000 to the Siegel family's Jay Em Ess Stable. A daughter of Cape Town, the bay filly is out of the Strike the Gold mare Elusive Gold. Elusive Gold is a half-sister to grade I winner Stop Traffic and the stakes-winning Bionic Soul. Samantha Siegel bought two other yearlings on the day for $530,000.

John Ferguson, agent for Sheikh Mohammed and the leading buyer during the select session Monday and Tuesday, remained active Wednesday, spending $650,000 for an Elusive Quality colt and $450,000 for a son of first-year sire El Corredor.

Ferguson spent an additional $1.93 million on the day for eight colts and one filly.

The Elusive Quality colt, consigned by Woods Edge Farm, agent, was the seventh offering through the ring Wednesday. He is a half-brother to stakes-placed Mother Bear, the dam of Santa Anita stakes winner Mother's Meeting.

The El Corredor colt is from the family of stakes winners Boss Ego and Phoenix Sunshine. He was consigned by Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency, agent.

"There are very few bargains to be had and that is a complement to the individuals," Ferguson said. "Another reason is because of the strong buying teams here. People have a lot of money in their pockets at the moment and the market has been strong all year, so they are waiting and waiting to spend it.

"I think Elusive Quality is a phenomenal sire. Distorted Humor is proving he can get it done. It's necessary and exciting to see those horses develop."

For the session, Taylor Made Sales Agency led consignors, grossing $4,475,000. They were followed by Lane's End ($3,539,000), Denali Stud ($2,780,000), Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency ($2,637,000) and Woods Edge Farm ($2,625,000).

Top Prices for Wednesday, Sept. 15

Price --Hip No. -- Description -- Consignor -- Buyer

$750,000 -- 693 -- Bay colt by Giant's Causeway-President's Girl -- Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent -- B. Wayne Hughes

$750,000 -- 865 -- Gray or roan colt by Monarchos-Catcher -- John Williams, agent -- John Fulton

$650,000 -- 499 -- Bay colt by Elusive Quality-Dazzling Bright -- Woods Edge Farm, agent -- John Ferguson

$550,000 -- 730 -- Chestnut colt by Grand Slam-Sasin -- Denali Stud, agent -- ClassicStar

$500,000 -- 504 -- Chestnut colt by Gulch-Demi Souer -- Lane's End, agent -- Peter Karches

$450,000 -- 611 -- Dark bay or brown colt by El Corredor-Kristi's Sunshine -- Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency, agent -- John Ferguson

$450,000 -- 643 -- Bay colt by Pulpit-Mila -- Claiborne Farm, agent -- Ben Glass, agent

$425,000 -- 585 -- Chestnut colt by Gulch-Hurricane Alert -- Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent -- John Moynihan, agent

$425,000 -- 858 -- Chestnut colt by Gone West-Candleinthedark -- Greenfield Farm -- John P. Fort

$425,000 -- 871 -- Bay colt by Cherokee Run-Clary Sage -- Middlebrook Farm, agent -- Erdenheim Farm

$400,000 -- 572 -- Bay colt by Five Star Day-Grand Betty -- John J. Greeley III (Wintergreen Farm), agent -- John Ferguson

Results, leading buyer, leading consignor, leading sire lists from Keeneland