Agent Mike Ryan, the current second-leading buyer at the Keeneland September yearling sale, could barely contain his excitement over a Cairo Prince colt he bought for $350,000 during the Sept. 18 first session of Book 4.
"He's a horse that puts a chill up the back of your head," Ryan said of the gray or roan colt consigned by Lane's End as Hip 2196. "He was very, very special. He's an exceptional colt."
Ryan said he told his client, whom he declined to name, that "he's one of these horses that it's a no-brainer. If the price is reasonable, we have to have him."
The agent, who has bought more than 40 horses for a total of more than $11 million at Keeneland so far, put the colt in lofty company by saying he was as good as any yearling offered among the more than 2,200 that have gone through the ring.
"I rated him up with any of the horses I saw this week," Ryan said. "He measures up with anything that was selling in Books 1 or 2 from a physical standpoint. I thought he was a really top horse—a two-turn horse that can go a classic distance. And he actually has a very nice pedigree. If he's a good horse on the racetrack he has stallion potential."
Bred in Kentucky by G. Watts Humphrey Jr. and Sally S. Humphrey, the colt was produced from the stakes-placed Horse Chestnut mare Precious Princess, the dam of grade 3 winner Zipessa.
Ryan said the yearlings from the first crop by Cairo Prince have been well-received and sold well because "they have a lot of leg, have a lot of quality, and are good movers."
Cairo Prince stands at Airdrie Stud near Midway, Ky. His fee was $10,000 in 2015 when the current yearling crop was conceived and it was $15,000 this year.
"They look like sound horses and they are so consistent," Ryan said. "He's an extremely good-looking horse himself. And he's very dominant. Some sires are the other way. But he's dominating his mares."
Lane's End sales director Allaire Ryan said the consignor was not surprised by the colt's price since he had a dozen pre-sale endoscopic exams.
"We're really pleased," said Ryan, who is Mike Ryan's daughter. "He was really popular and had gone over well at the barn. We were realistic with our reserve; we were really pleased with what he brought.
"We've always liked the colt and he was a little immature when we were doing our (sale prospect) inspections, which is part of the reason he's here. And we lucked out with the sire becoming really popular. He seems like gold and everybody is trying to get their hands on one. So all of the stars kind of aligned for us."