Graham Motion stood outside the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion Nov. 6 trying to find the words for what he just witnessed.
As effusive as the trainer was in describing the career of his former charge Miss Temple City and the $2.5 million price tag she had just elicited, it was the moisture at the edge of his eyes that told the entire story.
"It's emotional, no doubt about it. She is the best mare I've ever trained," Motion said, fighting back tears. "To see her go on to a career with someone else, it's like splitting up with a girlfriend. She's been with us a long time, so it's definitely emotional. But at the same time it's very gratifying."
Following a race career that included three grade 1 triumphs, three trips to Royal Ascot, and two victories against males, Miss Temple City took one more star turn when she sold to agent Steve Young for $2.5 million on behalf of an undisclosed U.S.-based client during a gangbusters edition of the Fasig-Tipton November sale.
Bidding for the daughter of Temple City , consigned by Select Sales on behalf of The Club Racing and Partners, started off at a tepid pace, taking several jumps up before the board hit the seven-figure mark. Once she crossed that threshold, however, the battle was contentious, with Young throwing down the winning bid for his client.
"You're always hopeful and you're just thankful to have a mare like that and have the opportunity to sell her," said Andrew Cary of Select Sales.
Miss Temple City became the first female runner to win both the Maker's 46 Mile Stakes (G1T) and Shadwell Turf Mile (G1T) at Keeneland when she accomplished the feat in 2016. She capped off that year's campaign with a victory in the Matriarch Stakes (G1T) in December at Del Mar and was an Eclipse Award finalist for champion turf female.
Though her 5-year-old season was peppered with setbacks, she captured the Sept. 9 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf Stakes (G3T) and retired with seven wins from 20 starts and $1,680,091 in earnings. Out of the Artax mare Glittering Tax, she was bred by Bob Feld's Bobfeld Bloodstock and campaigned as part of Feld's The Club Racing partnership, along with Sagamore Farm and Needle In A Haystack.
"She was good her whole life and I hope she's good in her second career," Young said. "But she's a really super horse and we had to fight hard to get her. She won against colts, she won against older horses, she ran great in Europe. She's a Dynaformer-line horse who won going 5 1/2 furlongs. She's a very rare horse."
Motion agrees with that sentiment. Were it not for the presence of champion Tepin last season, Miss Temple City would have been the clear cut queen of her ranks.
"It's very special, she means a lot to us," Motion said. "I mean... you don't get two Miss Temple Citys in your career—it just doesn't happen. And the longer you're doing it, the more you realize that."