It was the total package:Tension, a young daughter of leading sire Tapit in foal to prominent sire Curlin lit up the Keeneland November breeding stock bid board during the late stages of the Nov. 10 fourth session, going for $750,000 to the account of Woodford Thoroughbreds.
Consigned as Hip 1175 by John Sikura's Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency and sent through the ring during the final 15 minutes of the lengthy session, the 5-year-old mare is out of Tough Tiz's Sis, a Tiznow mare whose eight wins included the Ruffian Handicap and Lady's Secret Stakes (both grade 1) en route to earning $903,792. Tension is a half sister to grade 2 winner and track record-setter Tiz Midnight.
Tension, who topped the second sesson of Book 2, was bred in Kentucky by Karl Watson and Paul Weitman.
"There wasn't much not to like about her," said Woodford's Matt Lyons. "She was a beautiful mare, maybe one of the best-looking mares in the whole sale, in foal to Curlin who has become an important sire. Hopefully she can make babies that look like herself.
"When the pretty ones walk in that look like that and they're in foal to a top sire, you expect to pay that much. We knew there were people sitting around here waiting so we knew it was going to be competitive."
Sikura was euphoric in his description of the mare, who surpassed expectations in the sale ring.
"She was as good looking mare you put together—a magnificent specimen," the horseman said. "It was the perfect recipe: a young foal in foal to Curlin on a first service, by Tapit and absolutely gorgeous. She's a standout mare an exceeded expectations."
Sikura said the mare's price was a reflection of the strong demand at Keeneland for the best offerings.
"Everything that is put forward that is the best, you get extra," he said. "That's the market reality and she was certainly on everyone's lists.
"She was unraced and we had some mares that were up earlier that were group winners and we thought she would stand out in this sale," Sikura said of the mare's placement in Book 2. "There is money here all week—Book 1, Book 2, Book 3. There is an educated and sophisticated group of people that buy horses here and whether they buy on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday doesn't make any difference. They are judging the value of the horse, not what day, and they are here for the duration."