Beckys Shirt, sold for $850,000 at Keeneland on Tuesday.

Beckys Shirt, sold for $850,000 at Keeneland on Tuesday.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Dam of Cajun Beat Brings $850,000 at Keeneland Tuesday

Beckys Shirt brought $850,000 Tuesday to get the second session of the Keeneland January horses of all ages sale off to a fast start. Aisling Duignan and Paul Shanahan of Coolmore Stud outlasted Betty Mabee's agent Rick Trontz in the battle for the 13-year-old mare, who is the dam of 2003 Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) winner Cajun Beat.

The eighth horse to pass through the auction ring Tuesday, Beckys Shirt sold in foal to Woodman. Her price made her the new sale topper, beating the previous high (shared by two horses) by $50,000.

"She's for a public corporation that we're just selling the stock in," Shanahan said. Duignan, who signed the sale ticket, declined to comment. The name on the ticket was BBA (Ireland) Ltd.

A daughter of Cure the Blues, Beckys Shirt was a winner who placed second or third in three graded events. She is a half-sister to added-money winner Adam's Run (by Fairway Phantom). Their dam, Thundertee (by Ye), was an added-money winner who finished second in the Railbird Stakes (gr. III).

"It (the price) was in the higher range of what we expected," said John Sikura of Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency, which consigned Beckys Shirt. "Any time you sell a very nice mare or a very nice, forward yearling you get 25% more than expected. And if you sell the moderate individual that you are light on action on, the horse brings a third less. You have to sell the good ones well in order to have a good sale.

"She is as current and obvious as a mare could be," Sikura continued. "She's an outcross, so you can breed her to whomever you like. She has a probable Eclipse Award-winning champion in Cajun Beat, who came right back and won after the Breeder's Cup. She's as fresh as a mare could be to be in the sale."

Beckys Shirt was owned by Italian bloodstock agent Marco Bozzi and Giuseppe Riccioni. Bozzi purchased her through Alabatroz Bloodstock for only $14,000 at the 2002 Keeneland November breeding stock sale through the Albatroz Bloodstock Agency. Beckys Shirt was in foal to Minardi at the time, and she produced a filly earlier this year.

"I never expected something like this," said Bozzi, whose bloodstock agency is BBS Italia. He also is a partner in an Italian sale company that conducts private auctions of Thoroughbreds and trotters. Riccioni is a hotel owner.

Bozzi said he did not know if he and his partner would sell the Minardi filly or keep her to race, but he was leaning toward selling following the auction success with Beckys Shirt.

Results from Keeneland--Session 2, Tuesday, Jan. 13