Strong Market Continues at Keeneland Wednesday; Sadler's Wells Mare Brings $425,000

The good times continued to roll at the Keeneland January horses of all ages sale Wednesday. Midway through the afternoon, the average price for the third session was $27,850, up 55.9% from a year ago, according to Keeneland director of sales Geoffrey Russell.

Opera Aida, a broodmare prospect by Sadler's Wells, was the session topper at that point, bringing a $425,000 bid from English bloodstock agent Anthony Stroud. He was acting on the behalf of David Dobson, owner of North Cliff Farm in Virginia.

"I didn't think it was going to be as strong as that to be perfectly honest with you," said Stroud of the price. "We were fully extended. The market is extremely strong. She (Opera Aida) has a wonderful pedigree."

Said Stroud of his client: "He's just gotten into the business. He's a wonderful man, and he has a lovely farm."

Opera Aida, 5-year-old who failed to win her only race, was produced from English group III winner State Crystal (by High Estate), a half-sister to English group I winner Crystal Music (by Nureyev). Rick Trontz' Hopewell Farm consigned Opera Aida to Keeneland as agent. The Thoroughbred Corp., owned by the late Prince Ahmed Salman, purchased Opera Aida for 280,000 guineas at the 2000 Tattersalls Houghton yearling sale in England.

Interestingly, Stroud bought Opera Aida's full sister, True Crystal, for 675,000 guineas at the 2000 Tattersalls December sale. True Crystal was three years old at the time.

Results from Keeneland--Session 3, Wednesday, Jan. 14