Tension, a daughter of Tapit in foal to Curlin, sells for $750,000 at the Keeneland November sale

Tension, a daughter of Tapit in foal to Curlin, sells for $750,000 at the Keeneland November sale

Anne M. Eberhardt

Tapit Mare in Foal to Curlin Tops Keeneland Day 4

Tension, consigned by Hill 'n' Dale, sold to Woodford Thoroughbreds.

She was the total package.

Tension, a young daughter of leading sire Tapit  in foal to prominent sire Curlin  lit up the Keeneland November bid board during the late stages of the Nov. 10 fourth session, going for $750,000 to 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 daughter of Tiznow  whose eight wins included the Ruffian Handicap and Lady's Secret Stakes (both grade 1) en route to earnings of $903,792. Tension is a half sister to grade 2 winner and track-record setter Tiz Midnight.

The marbled gray, 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."

Woodford Thoroughbreds led all buyers Friday with four purchases totaling $1.27 million.

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 and 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."

Brisk commerce drove double-digit increases in gross sales and average and median prices during Friday's fourth session of the Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

During the session, the second of the two-day Book 2, Keeneland sold 230 horses for a total of $28,327,000, marking a 33.11% increase in gross sales from the fourth session last year when 220 horses brought $21,280,500. The average of $123,161 rose 27.32% from $96,730 in 2016. The median of $90,000 was up 20% from last year's $75,000.

"The figures were very positive today," Keeneland director of sales operations Geoffrey Russell said. "The most popular horses were young, good-looking mares that were well covered. Obviously the American Pharoah foal was of exceptional quality and was rewarded. The entire day from start to finish had great buzz and good bidding. Book 2 was a success. On to Book 3."

Through the first four days of the sale, Keeneland sold 660 horses for $144,097,000, a 7.53% decrease from $155,833,500 for 695 horses sold during through the corresponding period in 2016. The average of $218,329 was 2.63% below last year's $224,221, while the median of $130,000 was 4% above $125,000 in 2016.

The second high-priced American Pharoah weanling sold for $375,000 to Chestnut Valley. Paramount Sales, agent, consigned the son of the Giant's Causeway  mare Meerkat Miss, a half sister to European champion Hold That Tiger and Belmont (G1) winner Editor's Note.

Two mares sold for $425,000 apiece on Friday. Spendthrift Farm paid the amount for Airs, a daughter of Harlan's Holiday and a full sister to Japanese Group 2 winner Albiano in foal to Union Rags  (SEE PAGE X FOR FULL STORY).

Columbine Stable paid $425,000 for Indian Brava, a 5-year-old stakes-placed daughter of Bernardini  in foal to Runhappy . Burleson Farms, agent, consigned the mare, a half sister to stakes winner Way Striking from the family of grade 1 winner By Land By Sea and grade 3 winners Covey Trace and Ghost Hunter. She is out of stakes winner Indian Way, by Indian Charlie.

Paramount Sales was the session's leading consignor, selling 26 horses for $3,154,000.

The November Sale continues through Nov. 18, with all sessions beginning at 10 a.m. ET. The entire sale is streamed live at Keeneland.com.

2017 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale, Day 4

Top Hips

Hip Sex, Sire–Dam Sale Price
1175   Tension
m, 5, Tapit–Tough Tiz's Sis
Covering Sire: Curlin
Buyer: Woodford Thoroughbreds
Consignor: Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency
$750,000
984 c, wlg, American Pharoah–J Z Warrior
Buyer: Scott & Evan Dilworth
Consignor: Eaton Sales, agent for Grousemont Farm  
$575,000
804 Airs
m, 3, Harlan's Holiday–Antics
Covering Sire: Union Rags
Buyer: Spendthrift Farm
Consignor: Gainesway
$425,000
975 Indian Brava
m, 5, Bernardini–Indian Way
Covering Sire: Runhappy
Buyer: Columbine Stable
Consignor: Burleson Farms
$425,000
943 Full Tap
m, 5, Tapit–Miss Challenge
Covering Sire: Empire Maker
Buyer: Anderson Farms
Consignor: Gainesway
$375,000
1033 c, wlg, American Pharoah–Meerkat Miss
Buyer: Chestnut Valley
Consignor: Paramount Sales
$375,000
853 Carolina Cotton
m, 3, Majesticperfection–Eastern Ruckus
Covering Sire: Curlin
Buyer: Woodford Thoroughbreds
Consignor: Hill 'n' Dale Sales Agency
$370,000
971 If Not For Her
m, 6, Not For Love–Formalities Aside
Covering Sire: Frosted
Buyer: Three Chimneys Farm
Consignor: Four Star Sales
$360,000
991 Kool Kat
m, 6, Scat Daddy–Kona Kat
Covering Sire: More Than Ready
Buyer: Spendthrift Farm
Consignor: Brookdale Sales
$350,000
1105 Red Lodge
f, 3, Midshipman–Star Silver
Buyer: Three Chimneys Farm
Consignor: Ashview Farm
$350,000