When Fasig-Tipton conceived a new sale aimed at yearlings with characteristics likely to predispose them to grass racing, James Keogh was among those horsemen who welcomed the new venue.
Labeled the Turf Showcase, the inaugural sale of selected yearlings takes place at 4 p.m. ET, Sept. 10, in Lexington and precedes the Keeneland September sale that begins Sept. 11.
"When a new concept comes up it behooves us to support it," said the dapper Keogh as he paused from showing horses to potential buyers Friday morning. "Any time we can get new markets and people interested I think it is good for our game."
Keogh is among those who believe the timing is right for a niche sale aimed at horses with breeding suited for grass racing.
"The results of Kentucky-bred horses running in Europe has been phenomenal," Keogh said of success by horses bred in the Bluegrass State competing over the mostly grass courses overseas.
Selective in what he brought to the Turf Showcase, Keogh will be represented by two well-bred fillies Sunday.
"Both of the horses I have here are standout horses, as they would be in any sale," Keogh said. "Fasig (personnel) had given some assurances they were going to attract a lot of overseas clients here and it seems like they have come through with that."
Hip 101 is the only yearling in the sale by prominent sire War Front and the filly foaled Jan. 29, 2016 has a female family steeped with top-class runners. Produced from the grade 3-placed Storm Cat mare On Parade, the filly is a half sister to grade 2 winner Parading and grade 2-placed Protesting.
The filly's second dam, My Flag, won four grade 1 races including the 1995 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, and is the dam of champion filly Storm Flag Flying and stakes winner With Flying Colors. The third dam of Hip 101 is the undefeated champion Personal Ensign, the 1996 Broodmare of the Year and dam of grade 1 winners and sires Miner's Mark and Traditionally.
"Obviously the War Front filly could have gone to any sale in the country," he said. "She's pure War Front. She looks like a Royal Ascot filly."
Bred in Kentucky by the On Parade Syndicate, the filly was bought by SF Bloodstock for $400,000 at last year's Keeneland November breeding stock sale.
Keogh's other Turf Showcase yearling is Hip 66, a filly from the first crop of Verrazano with a major pedigree update. The March 4, 2016, bay miss bred by SF Bloodstock is out of the winning Danehill mare Josette, whose six winners include stakes winner Woodwin W. One of those six winners, the Johannesburg mare Helena Bay, produced Collected, whose eight wins in 11 starts to date includes this year's $1 million TVG Pacific Classic Stakes (G1).
Despite the sale's orientation toward grass horses, Keogh is among those who believe the horses cataloged at Fasig-Tipton have overall ability regardless of surface.
"A good horse is a good horse is a good horse," he said. "I have been impressed with the horses I have seen here so far. Having flipped through the catalog I wouldn't be surprised if there aren't some good dirt horses coming out of here."