(l-r) Yukio Shimokobe, Toshiyuki Shimokobe, Takayuki Shimokobe, and agent Nobu Araki at the Keeneland November sale

(l-r) Yukio Shimokobe, Toshiyuki Shimokobe, Takayuki Shimokobe, and agent Nobu Araki at the Keeneland November sale

Anne M. Eberhardt

$800,000 Curlin Mare Heads to Shimokobe Farm of Japan

Curlin Hawk lit up the bid board Nov. 9 at Keeneland.

As the Keeneland November breeding stock sale moved into Book 2 during the Nov. 9 third session, the Shimokobe family showed their affinity for a well-bred young mare who has already produced a foal that is succeeding on the track.

Curlin Hawk, a 7-year-old Curlin  mare offered as Hip 459 by Taylor Made Sales Company, is destined for the historic Shimokobe Farm in Japan after the family, with Nobu Araki's Polo Green Stable as agent, purchased her for $800,000.

Curlin Hawk has an eminently successful female family and is a half sister to dual classic winner and champion Afleet Alex  and to grade 2 winner Unforgettable Max. Afleet Alex, by Northern Afleet, won the 2005 Belmont Stakes (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1), after finishing third in the Kentucky Derby (G1). He also won the 2004 Hopeful Stakes (G1), as well as two grade 2 stakes. He currently stands at Gainesway Farm. Afleet, the sire of Northern Afleet, stood in Japan beginning in 1990 and lived there until his death at age 30 in 2014.

Curlin Hawk's first foal is Seabhac, a Scat Daddy colt who won the Sept. 30 Pilgrim Stakes (G3T) at Belmont Park after the November sale catalog was published.

"She had a lovely face and was strong walking," Yukio Shimokobe said, adding that he was unaware of the significant family update with Seabhac until he was informed by Taylor Made personnel.

Yukio Shimokobe, a graduate of the Kentucky Equine Management Internship, attended the sale with his father, Toshiyuki Shimokobe, and younger brother, Takayuki Shimokobe. While Yukio is the general manager of Shimokobe Farm, Takayuki conditions the horses in their training program. The 80-year-old operation has about 140 horses overall. Their family was among the first to purchase horses from Keeneland for export to Japan.    

According to Taylor Made's Mark Taylor, the update of a graded stakes winner was "huge" for Curlin Hawk.

"Getting that graded stakes winner underneath her was everything," Taylor said, adding the mare's attributes were among the reasons she was placed in Book 2.

"She was one of the only mares we had in here today that was still young and a proven graded stakes producer, so she kind of stuck out," he said. "Our thinking in putting her in there was to back her up into Book 2 and she will be little bit of a standout. She was very good-looking mare and she had a nice Strong Mandate colt at the farm we were showing pictures of.

"Of all the mares left in Book 2, if you wanted a proven producer she is the closest thing to the whole package that I saw. We had her appraised between $500,000-$750,000 so she brought a tick more than we thought. That was fair."

Bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, Curlin Hawk was purchased by Borges Torrealba Holdings for $210,000 from the Hidden Brook consignment to the 2013 Keeneland November sale.