The first crop of Claiborne Farm's Lea made a splash going through the ring for the first time at the Keeneland November sale, with a filly bringing the top price for a weanling during the Nov. 11 session.
"The Leas are selling really well. We've gotten a lot of positive comments on them, and the good ones are really selling well here," said Claiborne Farm president Walker Hancock. "He's doing really well for a sire who stands for $7,500.
"He's really stamping them. We have a poster in the barn of pictures of all the weanlings in the sale and matched them up with his conformation, and you can really see a lot of him coming through in the foals. If he continues to do that, I think they'll be pretty successful on the track like he was."
During the first session of Book 3, agent Mike Ryan went to $230,000 to secure Hip 1460, a Lea filly out of the unraced Pulpit mare Nippy. The filly's second dam, Queen of America, produced grade 2 winner Well Monied and grade 1-placed Economic Model. Bred by Dell Ridge Farm in Kentucky, the filly was consigned by St George Sales.
"She was very special. Beautiful, beautiful filly—style, size, quality, presence, intelligence. Just a lovely, lovely filly," Ryan said of the purchase, which he said was for an end user.
"I've seen four or five today by Lea and I was very impressed with them. But this was the standout," he added. "She's got a proper page, the second dam was a great mare—(she produced) Economic Model and Well Monied—just a very nice Claiborne pedigree. ... After today and the last few days, Lea is not going to be a secret."
Lea had five sold from six offered Saturday. Four of those sold for at least $100,000.
Bloodstock Investments went to $180,000 to purchase Hip 1546, a colt out of the Pulpit mare Sister Superior, consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency.
Hip 1422, a colt offered by Bluewater Sales, brought $155,000 from Nelson Eddy Bloodstock. The colt is out of multiple stakes winner Madame Pele, who is a half sister to multiple graded stakes winner Stryker Phd.
Consigned by Legacy Bloodstock as Hip 1239, a filly who is a half sister to grade 3 winner Coalport brought $140,000 from Glencrest Farm.
In Book 2, Hip 748, a Lea filly, brought $110,000 from Glencrest Farm.
Lea, a grade 1-winning son of First Samurai , entered stud in 2016 for a fee of $12,500 but had his fee decreased to $7,500 for 2018.
"He didn't have a full book last year, so we just dropped it to ensure that he'd have a full book this year and maybe entice some breeders," Hancock said. "And after they've sold so well—and we're hoping that (the rest are) going to sell well, so that people will think that's a good value. We've gotten a lot of positive responses about (the fee), so I think he'll have a full book this year."
Although he's up against some tough competition, Hancock thinks the earner of more than $2.3 million will hold his own in the stallion ranks.
"He's doing well," he said. "He's in a tough class—American Pharoah , Honor Code , and a lot of other sires with a higher stud fee. But I think he's going to hold his own and offer some value for sure."